Saturday, March 22, 2008

Combo FH-Veci(Things),LP,1977, Czechoslovakia

Combo FH are a Czechoslovakian group playing decidedly RIO-influenced music. The album Veci consists of 14 short pieces of composed music, much of which sounds like updated Henry Cow, with a lot of winds backed up by a rock rhythm section. The complex ensemble work, as in Tipographica for example, occasionally opens up a vamp for a jam to let the group open up a bit, but, alas, this happens too infrequently. Mostly, this is highly structured work created by an extended ensemble, the lead melodies often led by combinations of sax, clarinets, bassoons etc. Many of these parts are heavily reminiscent of Legend-period Henry Cow or similarly avant-inclined chamber rock. But despite their penchant for complex and layered orchestration, Combo FH usually stay away from disonnance keeping the music to close to a distinctly melodic framework. The overall impression is an album of "shorts," compositions that are tight, structured and mostly interesting without any pyrotechnic displays or dynamic extremes. Mike McLatchey 20-April-2001 for Gnosis2000
Fascinating all-instrumental 6-piece (keyboards, reeds/violin, bassoon, guitars, bass, drums/percussion) from Hungary. None of the members of this group were full-time musicians, but they run through 14 brief (1':35" to 4':26"), but very intricate compositions (mostly by keyboardist Daniel Fikejz), as if they were conservatory-trained. Wonderful stuff which, although strongly influenced by Czech folk and classical (i.e., Bartok) musics, seems very Zappa-inspired (circa Burnt Weeny Sandwich). The basson is prominent, so the music is superficially reminiscent of Gryphon, at times. I highly recommend this to fans of Zappa, Canterbury sounds, RIO (esp. those of us who enjoy Nimal, Zamla, etc.), and people who like the sound of the bassoon. The music of Combo FH is weird, but not in a pernicious/atonal/chaotic way, so even those of you with more mainstream tastes may like this. --
Dave Wayne for New Gibraltar Enc.Of Progressive Rock

Great and unique Czech ensemble,playing a complex and very unique chaotic Jazzish Canterburian styled RIO music much influenced by Henry Cow,Zappa along with folk and baroque music.

get it here

5 comments:

avant-guardist said...

Thanx so much for sharing this infinte gem! It's good that the world finds out.

(Just happened to download same from a friendly blogsoul recently, after some nagging. Of course also got this one, you just can't have too many of these!).

IMO Combo FH was the band that, together with mexican Decibel, took on the RIO tradition most excellently and carefully. In a sense these two bands very well embodied what RIO stood for, musically speaking.

I recall having this album in the early 80's together with a 7" EP, labeled something like Pantón "Mini Jazz Klub".

As far as I recall there was also some other recording available from the fabolous combo...I hope all can surface here!

Anonymous said...

I love Mutant Sounds. Consistently the best blog!

Ps - What does RIO-influenced mean?

Spring Day said...

Oh, thanks, that sounds verrry juicy. But this Dave Wayne who wrote the review is strange. Makes Hungarians out of the FH Combo and a Czech out of Bartók... Pah...

vdoandsound said...

anonymous-R.I.O.=Rock In Opposition. Rock In Opposition connotes the genre of progressive music as manifested by the likes of Henry Cow, Art Bears, Samla Mammas Manna, Etron Fou Leloublan,
Univers Zero, Art Zoyd and the manifold bands that came in their wake.

Lou Kash said...

If you'd like to learn more about Combo FH:
Combo FH @ Funky Czech-In