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Fromuz: Audio Diplomacy

While Fromuz are a relatively new and somewhat unknown band to the progressive scene, the release of their debut CD Audio Diplomacy, which is a brilliant blend of varied musical styles, is going to blow the doors open worldwide for these guys. The band is from Uzbekistan and was formally introduced to the international community at large in 2005 with a live concert recorded at the Youth Theater in Uzbekistan, which is presented here on Audio Diplomacy in all its glory in both CD and DVD versions of said show. Fromuz features four extremely skilled musicians who seemingly have no creative limitations or musical boundaries. They sure as hell don't hesitate to incorporate these many different influences and styles into the structures of their songs.

The disc kicks off with a song appropriately entitled "Intro", which begins with some fine Kraftwerk style electronic percussion alongside a bizarre mix of sound effects which include a bit of turntable scratching, the recorded voice of a telephone operator and both a ringing cuckoo and alarm clock, before the song settles into it's main groove. A brief drum flurry from Vladimir Badirov sets the stage for some early guitar fireworks courtesy of Vitaly Popeloff on the second track "From Fromuz". Popeloff gets in his fair share of tasty and melodic, jazz tinged solos as the song reaches it's crescendo about half the way through before shifting gears thanks to the sampling shenegians and precise keyboard playing of Albert Khalmurzayev. In fact it's Khalmurzayev along with bassist Andrew Mara-Novik and drummer Badirov who take the later third of this track into some very funky, jazz influenced territory. The band takes things down a notch for the lengthy third track "Wax Inhabitants Town" and the early stages of the next song "Gameplay Imitation" before the listener is subjected to another full on assault of Popeloff's midi laced guitar pyrotechnics. This track is a perfect example of just how brilliantly Fromuz are at effortlessly integrating the electronic element into their music without it sounding out of place or forced, it just gels perfectly. "Spare Wheel" and "Familiarization Results" continues along the same lines as both tracks feature more of Popeloff's searing leads combined with numerous tempo changes and more electronic instrumentation. The epic "Harry Heller Theater" and closing track "Babylon Dreams" wraps things up in a glorious fashion and by the time it's all over it's hard to believe almost 74 minutes have sailed by. It's really difficult to pin down or really categorize Fromuz as they mix progressive rock with metal, jazz and elements of electronica so effortlessly that Audio Diplomacy comes off as nothing less than brilliant. Not to mention the sound and production is so crisp and crystal clear, it's a joy to listen to and just completes the whole listening experience.

The disc comes as mentioned earlier with a DVD live performance of the show from the Youth Theater and includes 2 tracks not featured on the audio portion, "Remark #12" and "Dual Ad Libitum". There is no jumpy camera work or quick edits to ruin the experience, as a lot of live shows captured for posterity these days tend to be more about the MTV style edits rather than focusing on the performance itself. Fortunately you get none of that here, just the band hunkering down and cranking out some of the finest music you're ever going to see or hear. Audio Diplomacy is quite an adventurous debut from such a new band; however it's a leap that pays off big time and yields absolutely splendid results. Brillianty executed musical performances that feel completely natural in their ability to blend different musical styles make this one a definite keeper.

Track Listing
1) Intro
2) From Fromuz
3) Wax Inhabitants Town
4) Gameplay Imitation
5) Spare Wheel
6) Familiarization Results
7) Harry Heller Theater
8) Babylon Dreams

Added: April 2nd 2007
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: 10t Records
Hits: 7054
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Fromuz: Audio Diplomacy
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-02 11:40:51
My Score:

Not many new bands, especially unknown instrumental outfits from a country located in the nether regions on the progressive-music map, would make their debut release a live album. But the four stellar musicians in Fromuz establish themselves immediately as a progressive-metal/fusion force to be reckoned with on Audio Diplomacy. While my esteemed SoT colleagues have already expounded on the joys of this all-instrumental CD, I'll quickly argue that the DVD version of the performance trumps the CD allowing viewers to witness both the urgency and eclecticism with which Fromuz plays. The sheer curtain separating the band from the audience remains closed for much of the set, for example, but it is figuratively shredded by the intensity of the band's dense and arresting music. At one point, madman drummer Vladimir Badirov partially submerges various pieces of percussion in water to create oddball sounds, and guitarist Vitaly Popeloff (when not invoking John Petrucci or David Gilmour) makes brilliant use of a midi-guitar to accent keyboardist Albert Khalmurzayev's sampling and symphonic excursions. The DVD is elegantly shot and pristinely produced, and it makes Audio Diplomacy already a damn near essential purchase for fusion fans one of the year's ultimate finds for any listener of breathtaking and heavy progressive music.

Fromuz: Audio Diplomacy
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-21 17:51:17
My Score:

Talk about intense...Audio Diplomacy, the brand new release from Uzbekistan's Fromuz, is bound to be one of the most exciting progressive fusion releases you will hear all year. As powerful and talented as Planet X, Karcius, Liquid Tension Experiment, or Spaced Out, with the compositional flair of bands like The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, Fromuz lay waste to the audio landscape throughout Audio Diplomacy, taking no prisoners and leaving no stone unearthed. At times quite metallic and heavy, at others spacey and atmospheric, but consistently progressive, this one reeks of class, melody, and fire, from start to finish. Wonderful, tasty guitar lines mesh with sophisticated keyboard passages and tricky rhythms on such tunes as "Wax Inhabitants Town", "Spare Wheel", and the killer "Babylon Dreams". When this band wants to rock out, they certainly can and do, so if you are into a heavier brand of progressive fusion, you have come to the right place.

As much as the CD itself is a must hear, the bonus DVD that comes with Audio Diplomacy really confirms the talent of this band. At nearly 90 minutes, this live concert lets you watch and listen to the power and all the little nuances that these four exciting musicians create. Word is they have added a fifth member, a second keyboard player actually, so it's a safe bet that their music will take on a even more dense and textured style on their next release.

In short, Fromuz have arrived, and the world WILL take notice...I'm betting on it!

Fromuz: Audio Diplomacy
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-20 23:20:42
My Score:

Solid, dense, all-instrumental, free-form progressive rock with a firm nod in the direction of fusion.

Solid as a freakin' rock.

Oh - and how often do you find a father and son playing in the same rock band? The second keyboardist is the son of guitarist Vitaly Popeloff.

Audio Diplomacy leaves you wanting for nothing - it is melodic, the musicianship is excellent, and the song structures are fluid and imaginative. There are a few inserts of found-sounds, some electronica and even some vocal silliness; but it's sparse enough that it does not spoil the listening experience. There are plenty of tempo changes, it's energetic and intense, and one of the few criticisms is that they might have provided a few quieter moments to provide more contrast and to give the listeners time to catch their breath.

Spread over 75 minutes, four of the 8 songs are over 9 minutes long, allowing plenty of opportunity for the structures to morph and develop through each song. "Harry Heller Theater" has a nice orchestral intro, then it breaks into hard rock, there's a backdrop of chaotic background sounds, and it moves into one of the long, slow guitar solos that are one of the characteristics of the record. Also listen for the blazing guitar work in several areas, notably in "Familiarization Results". Vitaly Popeloff's guitar contributions are - generally - the most notable aspect of the music. Track 2 is a 10-minute song called "From Fromuz", and dives into pure jazz half way through - with a high-register bass popping restlessly along and with piano, guitar and other instruments hooking in and releasing from time to time.

The Fromuz is From UZbekistan, but they are almost unknown in their home market. The band members cite their main influences as Frank Zappa, Peter Hammill, Jethro Tull, Yes, King Crimson, UK, ELP, Asia, Dream Theater, LTE, Tony Levin, Genesis, Rush, and Pink Floyd. But they've also inhaled influences from a lot of jazz and jazz-rock practitioners including Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, and Miles Davis. And when asked for a modern-day comparison, they cite Liquid Tension Experiment.

With the purchase of Audio Diplomacy you get not only the music, but also a DVD of the band's debut at the Youth Theater of Uzbekistan, in Tashkent in April 2005.

That word 'solid' just keeps coming to mind - this stuff is rock-solid ... and strongly recommended. Hard to believe it's a debut - and with the right marketing, they won't need that home market. They'll be playing to the world stage.

» Reader Comments:

Fromuz: Audio Diplomacy
Posted by Chuck Davenport on 2007-03-05 16:25:23
My Score:

Wow!! What a totally intense and rewarding set of prog flavored fusion!! Or is it fusion flavored prog?

Who cares - this is one hell of a debut that holds its own right alongside Liquid Tension Experiment and Planet X in terms of sheer musical virtuosity and in your face ferocity. But when judged additionally on the merits of its material and arrangements this stuff exceeds those bands and stands next to the true greats of prog fusion like Mahavishnu Orhcestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever. It's honestly that amazing!

And to make it even more impressive - it's all 100% live (well, with the exception of some tasty sampling on the keyboard player's part). However, that also serves to give it a very contemporary and modern feel. The addition of a DVD of the same performance just cements the deal and makes for an overall package of the highest quality.

Highest recommmendations on all fronts!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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