Wednesday, 3 May 2017

RIO Random in Nothin' Tricky, 1977 USA

This band, god bless their crazy souls, released a one-off private pressed LP in 1977 that is absolutely what I want and crave in progressive rock: ingenious and inventive, totally original composition with textures and sounds that never seem to end in creativity.  First of all I'll post Tom's review from rateyourmusic:

Very interesting avant progressive band from Illinois. Starts off with a disco(?!) track, but you know it's a head fake from the beginning. Mostly the group Random go for a chamber music sound, with all sorts of other styles mixed in, most notably jazz. Highly inventive for 1977, and one has to presume Henry Cow were an influence here. Album is available for free on the band's website.

The other (higher) review from siriuspooka;

The title "Nothin' Tricky" is an understatement. This band from Champaign-Urbana, formerly named "Random Rhythm and His Miscellaneous Meter Review", have to offer an interesting mixture. As Tom mentioned, in some smaller parts Henry Cow comes to mind. I hear as main influence Oregon, but making a balancing act between chamber rock avantgarde things and merge american folk in rock in opposition. It clearly can be sorted under the category unusual and entertaining. That's why 4 stars.

I would like first to correct these two gentlemen, first of all, the starter (Not Yet) has a disco beat but we are not talking about the ridiculous joke song in Orchestra Njervudarov, as you can hear here:

For me the charm of this track is that appears to be a satire of library and other easy listening songs, with the schmaltzy strings playing over surprising chord changes, and yes, its point is clearly to trick the listener regarding the subsequent content.  The second misprision is that the band's name is not an understatement but rather tongue in cheek, like almost all the music here.  Humor in music: RIO showed it can be done in a sophisticated and intelligent way (unlike Njervudarov's attempt as mentioned above).

Overall the record is very similar to my old favourite Feigenbaum and Scott which appeared here, without vocals.  The intelligence of the chamber arrangements, recalling Quebeckers Conventum, shines through like a laser in track 6, Procyon Lotar: (!)

On the one hand it saddens me that musicians that put so much thought and effort into a totally unknown piece of work should be so neglected, especially in today's world of artistic simplicity, on the other hand it never ceases to amaze me how creative the human mind can be at its best...



  2. Thanks for this great discovery!

  3. again thanks to my friend...

  4. Agradeço a postagem do LP, desculpe não enviar a mensagem em inglês. Realmente é um bom disco, criativo e futurista.. lembre-se que em 1977 o Yes gravava o Tormato, escrevo sem crítica... Hà influencia do Henry Cow e Oregon, claro de forma sutil, mas vejo como um preludio do estilo R.I.O.