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(51:24; Bonobo's Ark Records - 2018 Edition)
TRACK LIST: 1. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 1) 3:58 2. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 2) 5:37 3. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 3) 8:02 4. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 4) 5:25 5. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 5) 5:57 6. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 6) 6:55 7. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 7) 3:57 8. Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11 (Part 8) 4:10 9. Platform 7:23 LINEUP: Geoff Leigh - flute, saxophone, voice, electronics, synthesizer Yumi Hara - piano, voice Chris Cutler - drums, percussion John Greaves - bass, voice
Prolusion. UK band THE ARTAUD BEATS has a history that go back to 2009, formed at a music festival in Germany more or less by accident, and has been a going venture ever since. To date they have three full length albums to their name, live and studio recordings included. "Nodutgang. Bodo 28.10.11" is their very first one, initially released on CD-R, and then reissued on CD in 2018 with an additional track included.
Analysis. Due to members of Henry Cow being a substantial part of this band, fans of that rather influential band will most likely take an interest in this band by default. And while I am not overly familiar with that band myself, descriptions I have seen of them indicates that The Artaud Beats does explore somewhat similar musical grounds, albeit perhaps with a stronger emphasis on jazz and experimental music as far as this current band is concerned. In other words, this is a band that are rather more challenging than the norm in terms of style and expression. Rock In Opposition and Avant Progressive Rock are most likely the main parts of the progressive rock universe this album fits into, although for my sake I find that both of these are of secondary importance as far as this album is concerned. Besides having deep roots in improvisation, there aren't too many direct or indirect rock music details to uncover here, while references to experimental and jazz in general and free form jazz in particular are rather more bountiful. Hence we have chaotic passages with few if any harmony-oriented details, non-conventional and unconventional instrument motifs and a general theme of instruments and vocals being of an expressive nature. This goes for both regular vocals, recitals, non-verbal backing vocals and vocal effects, as well as both tight and energetic instrument arrangements as well as those more loose in shape and form alongside the sparse movements that focus on individual notes and delicate effects. That being said, this album isn't as alienating in shape and form as many such ventures have a tendency to become. The instrumentalists and vocalists will assemble to create strong and distinct flowing movements at times, instruments or vocals will be used to tie some of the looser and more expressive passages into a more complete whole, and the musicians will apply some finer details here and there to make the experience less demanding to listen to. A few subtle touches here and there, or a wild dramatic effect for that matter, will go a long way in transforming chaos into something more fathomable. This is an expressive, challenging and demanding album nonetheless of course, but one made with a bit more consideration for a somewhat broader listener base than a few others I have encountered over the years. As far as the additional bonus track on this reissue is concerned, it doesn't add all that much to the album as far as I'm concerned. The recording quality isn't as good by far, and the material itself represents the more challenging aspects of this band's sound, which is just a notch too challenging for my personal taste in music. Other than that, I do note that the main part of this is is a live recording from my own country Norway. The town the recordings are form is situated in the Northern parts of Norway, and those who aren't overly familiar with this nation may be surprised to know that it would take me 17 hours to drive from where I live to this town. Without any breaks, and on the fastest route possible. An unimportant fact as far as music is concerned, but one that may possibly rewrite certain perceptions about Norway being a small country.
Conclusion. The Artaud Beats is a band that will have it's main appeal among fans of the most challenging aspects of progressive rock. The involvement of members of Henry Cow is something of a giveaway of course, and while this is a different band it will appeal to much of the same core audience I believe. From my perspective with more of an orientation towards experimental and free form jazz as far as The Artaud Beats goes, but with tie ins towards Rock In Opposition and Avantgarde progressive rock as undercurrents. As the major parts of this album does contain passages not overly steep in the challenging department, this should also be a fairly good place to start for those curious about these more challenging aspects of progressive rock.
Progmessor: July 15th 2019
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