Exposé Online banner

Squonk Opera — Howandever
((Not on label) no#, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-11-01

Howandever Cover art

Ready for something different and very original? First off, forget the Squonk, it's not a reference – these guys sound nothing like Genesis! In fact they are a totally new six-piece from the Pittsburgh area, and if you're lucky they might be playing in your town soon. Fronting the lineup is vocalist Kate Aronson, who has a distinct and unique style, maybe vaguely reminiscent of Suzanne Lewis of Thinking Plague and Hail. The remaining five play piano, keyboards, saxes (there's the squonk!), bass, wind-synth, Celtic flute, drums, tabla, and other percussion. Influences come from all over the place; elements of jazz, rock, Celtic, Broadway, classical, flamenco, funk and avant-garde blend together into a very fertile stew of mind-opening ideas. Since every track is quite different from all others, it's difficult to sum their sound up in a few sentences. They do cover a lot of ground here, from the folky abstractions of "Dance of the Seven Vowels," the dreamy introspection of "Parts," the funky-rapping style of "Whistle and Spit," to the Broadway styled "The Unusual Mrs.Spitz." I hear those occasional echoes of Dead Can Dance, the second edition of However, Third Ear Band, and several other equally vague comparisons. In all, this is a band with their own unique vision, one certainly worth checking out. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 8, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Squonk Opera

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cro Magnon - Zapp! – An interesting newcomer in the 'Chamber Music Rock' subgenre, this is a Belgian five piece featuring a lineup of dual violins, keyboards, alto and baritone saxes, and bass. Naturally, as might be...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues