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Thread: Featured album: Frogg Café - Creatures

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured album: Frogg Café - Creatures

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...1162482009.jpg

    Frogg Café - Creatures

    frogg.jpg

    Tracks Listing:
    1. All This Time (6:26)
    2. Creatures (7:40)
    3. The Celestial Metal Can (In memory Of Charles Ives) (8:18)
    4. Gagutz (7:56)
    5. Waterfall Carnival (21:13)


    Line-up:
    - Nick Lieto / lead & back vocals, keyboards, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Grand piano, trumpet, percussion, Hot Water
    - Frank Camiola / electric guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, classical guitar, tenor banjo, string bass, additional keyboards, percussion
    - Bill Ayasse / electric violin, acoustic violin, viola, mandolin, Octave mandolin, backing vocals, percussion
    - Andrew Sussman / electric bass
    - James Guarnieri / drums, percussion

    Guests:
    - Sharon Ayasse / flute (3-5)
    - Steve Campanella / marimba (2,4-5)
    - Christopher Tunney / clarinet (3-4)
    - Dee Harris / sarod (3)
    - Time Roache / Toro electric weedwacker flogged upon a celestial metal can, various blocks of wood, voices (3)
    - Marjorie Ayasse / backing vocals (2), voice



    Here's what Dieter Fischer (AKA hdfisch) had to say about it on ProgArchives
    Although the individual compositions (including the very odd third one) are ranging from good to excellent "Creatures" seen as an album overall appears a bit too incoherent, unaccomplished and immature in some way. Either this is signalling that the band is still searching their own style or it's a sign for some "post-modern" tendencies to mix all sorts of music styles relentlessly shown by some other bands as well nowadays. Anyway they're offering here a quite enjoyable mixture of funky jazz-rock, retro prog in the vein of ECHOLYN, mainstream prog aka KANSAS,humouristic odd Avant prog sounds and some reminiscence to ZAPPA (which is not that much surprising since they started as a Zappa-cover-band).

    "All This Time" is opening with strange odd samples but then developing to a rather driving and catchy prog song dominated by guitar and bass. Although being a bit "pop- ish" (meant in a more positive way like accessible) it's really a very good song. The title track is a very versatile composition having multiple parts starting from grooving jazz- rock, one reminding to GENTLE GIANT and a more balladesque one. In its middle part we get Mellotron, Marimba and violin, sometimes a bit odd but played very fluently and wonderful. "The Celestial Metal Can" might seduce to press the skip button on first spin, really a strange piece and hard to be enjoyed. The first three to four minutes actually consist of some cacophonic electronic sound samples mixed with distorted guitar, before something like a melody is starting to develop slowly, some sort of odd and bumpy latin rhythm using dissonant sax solos, strange voice samples, bits of sitar and banjo on top of a repeated Marimba loop. The final part sounds like classical chamber music for strings. Overall I wouldn't call it necessarily bad, but even after a couple of listenings I'm still not able to really enjoy it. But the remaining two tracks are really compensating for this loss of enjoyment. "Gagutz" is an all instrumental jam-alike jazz- fusion piece with some amazing solos by guitar, violin and trumpet. Really an excellent track, but highlight of the whole album is IMO the last one "Waterfall Carnival" with more than 21 minutes full of awesome prog music. Consisting of several instrumental parts which are quite different from each other and despite it's in a more gentle vein it never becomes boring at any point. The beginning is rather unspectacular with soft flute sound but in the following they included every now and then some excellent odd ideas. At around 16:00 there is a wonderful part with acoustic guitar. Really an awesome closure for a very interesting and versatile album.

    SUMMARY

    "Creatures" is not my favourite album by them but nevertheless it's an excellent one and certainly worth for 4 stars. Highly recommended for any prog fan who doesn't mind some more incoherent and highly versatile albums.


    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    Haven't played this one in ages, but I just read my review I wrote in 2003. Compared to the somewhat more jazz-rock like debut, this sounded very progressive, symphonic in my ears, partly due to the heavy use of the Mellotron. But there are also tracks like The Celestial Metal Can, a tribute to Charles Ives, and Gagutz, which is somewhat in the vein of the neo-classical work Isildurs Bane sometimes made.

  3. #3
    I just spun this not too long ago as I was making my way back through the Frogg Cafe discography. It's an interesting record. I agree with the review, it's a little in-cohesive. I think All This Time, Creatures, and Gagutz are as good as anything they've ever done. Celestial Metal Can is really not my thing, so I don't personally like it that much and I think it breaks the flow of the record. But it's not a deal breaker.

    My big issue is that I've just never connected with the closing suite. It's pleasant enough, perhaps a bit too pleasant if you ask me. Could have used a bit more muscle in some spots. But I don't get a strong sense of form or resolution from the piece. It just kind of adds up to nothing for me. It's listenable, surely, but for me doesn't justify its 21+ minute girth. So, this becomes a record I can spin and enjoy at some level, but it has never really captured me. I like the debut, and my personal favorite, Fortunate Observer of Time, far better.

    Bill

  4. #4
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    This really sucks!

















    I own it and like it quite a bit. Haven't spun in a year though - will remedy.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  5. #5
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    How is "retro-prog in the vein of Echolyn" even a possibility???

  6. #6
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Great stuff. I don't think it's their best, that would be Fortunate Observer or Bateless Edge... but I do like it a lot!
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

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    Fantastic album but I still consider fortunate observer as their best.

  8. #8
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Frogg Café where praised very highly in the German prog communities back in the day.

    I'm sure I bought at least two of their Albums (one is Bateless Edge not sure About the other(s)),
    haven't listen to them for ages. Will have to check those again (if I can find them).

  9. #9
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    We hardly knew what we were doing on the s/t LP, and we knew just a bit more than that on this one, but those were fun days. Pre-kids, etc. I remember tracking guitar parts until 12:30 or 1 AM on many nights, then had to pack my gear up, and then have a 40-minute drive back home, hauling it all back up my apartment stairs, and then get up at 6:30 AM to get ready to go teach at school. A labor of love. But we had a blast making this one. Bill always had so much more work than us though since he ran the PC, mics, etc....but he didn't have a 40 minute drive home though
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    That makes you what you are" - Ian Anderson

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    We hardly knew what we were doing on the s/t LP, and we knew just a bit more than that on this one, but those were fun days. Pre-kids, etc. I remember tracking guitar parts until 12:30 or 1 AM on many nights, then had to pack my gear up, and then have a 40-minute drive back home, hauling it all back up my apartment stairs, and then get up at 6:30 AM to get ready to go teach at school. A labor of love. But we had a blast making this one. Bill always had so much more work than us though since he ran the PC, mics, etc....but he didn't have a 40 minute drive home though
    I think I met you while you were putting this together. I still remember Cat's stories about the Celestial Metal Can sessions. I love the album still, for some reason Waterfall Carnival just pushes the right buttons for me, even now. The rest is great as well, of course, but that one just gets me for some reason. I remember you saying something a few years later about not being fond of the lyrics, but I honestly couldn't recite a single line for you, I just like the the music and singing, but never really paid attention to the actual words, for some reason. I love your guitar playing on all the FC albums though, excellent stuff.

    So yeah, very happy to have been friends with some of you Frogg's and party with you guys over the years. Good times and great music!

    EDIT: I've got to add that, " incoherent and highly versatile " (from Trane's review) really describes you gamblers quite well

  11. #11
    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    Featured album: Frogg Café - Creatures

    I remember really enjoying Creatures when I purchased it. I like it so much I wrote a review at PA.

    The debut album was good, really good, the second, "Creatures" really smokes. The band returns with a highly polished and stunning effort. The vocals are much better then the first release, the guitar is featured more prominently and the overall song writing is much stronger. More FROGG CAFE then FRANK ZAPPA cover band. More influences shine through with the higher intensity. I would imagine that live, this band would be an Earth shaker.
    Lead off track, All This Time, is powerful, dazzling and such a heady mixture of styles as to leave you preplexed as to what you just heard. I got quite a headful of Chicago for some reason? Creatures is beautiful marimba driven tune, reminds me of a cross between 70's Zappa and Gong. The Celestial Metal Can is a tribute to composer Charles Ives, an avant garde collage of music and noise. I find this track very entertaining and unusual. An aural surreal painting. It provokes numerous bizarre images and thoughts. Following the progress of the song is a mind game. Gagutz is an instrumental, quirky and fun. The band cuts loose with powerhouse fusion solos featuring guitar and violin. A funky 70's throwback. It's one of my favorite FC tracks!

    It all comes down to the epic, Waterfall Carnival. One must say that FC opens the bag of tricks wide and pulls out Genesis, the Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Yes and every other band you've heard and creates a nearly perfect progressive rock classic. This is the real deal, ya'll. Hammond organ strips the soul bare, scrapes the bone and drives home the beauty of the Frogg. It ain't easy being green, but this frog is one to aspire to.

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    Last edited by Boceephus; 1 Week Ago at 01:50 PM.

  12. #12
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    I think I met you while you were putting this together. I still remember Cat's stories about the Celestial Metal Can sessions. I love the album still, for some reason Waterfall Carnival just pushes the right buttons for me, even now. The rest is great as well, of course, but that one just gets me for some reason. I remember you saying something a few years later about not being fond of the lyrics, but I honestly couldn't recite a single line for you, I just like the the music and singing, but never really paid attention to the actual words, for some reason. I love your guitar playing on all the FC albums though, excellent stuff.

    So yeah, very happy to have been friends with some of you Frogg's and party with you guys over the years. Good times and great music!

    EDIT: I've got to add that, " incoherent and highly versatile " (from Trane's review) really describes you gamblers quite well
    Thx Mike. Always great times with you, Cat, Steve Gross, Bony, etc etc We always looked forward to NF every summer, gigs on LI and NYC...all great times and memories. Can't believe this is almost 20 years ago now - holy crap. Yes - please ignore the lyrics on that one - thanks. We were crying tears of laughter when Roache was recording the weedwacker - I wish we had that on video. I left right after this as my tinnitus was getting pretty bad and was freaking me out.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

    "And it's only the giving
    That makes you what you are" - Ian Anderson

  13. #13
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Danbo,

    I almost chose your review, but the one you posted (in your post above) is not about Creatures or it even seem to be about Frogg Café.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  14. #14
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    Still a big fan of this album.

  15. #15
    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    I'll have to revisit this. I grabbed it after falling in love with FOoT.

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    "Waterfall Carnival" is one of my all time favorite songs.

  17. #17
    Thanks for drawing my attention to this album and band. It sounds interesting.

  18. #18
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Danbo,

    I almost chose your review, but the one you posted (in your post above) is not about Creatures or it even seem to be about Frogg Café.
    It's Discipline - Unfold like Staircase

  19. #19
    I like it. It is a bit incoherent as said, but this is not necessarily bad. Nice vocals, the s/t track is my favourite.

    Some of the ideas are really top shelf material, and with some tighter musicianship and production they reveal some true elite potential. I don't know if this materialised in the next albums, but I intend to find out by listening to them.

  20. #20
    Member Boceephus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Danbo,

    I almost chose your review, but the one you posted (in your post above) is not about Creatures or it even seem to be about Frogg Café.
    I fixed it. I was multitasking with Facebook about the Discipline remaster, making dinner & reading PE...getting old sucks!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #21
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    This was my favorite by them until Bateless Edge. Love all of it, even if the epic is my least favorite thing on the record. I should spin it again, it's been much too long. (Really for any FC at my pad...pun fully intended)
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

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    I think "Side 1" of Creatures is great with Celestial Metal Can being the totally unique and standout track. It keeps up the momentum in a way that a third, more typical prog track would not. "Side 2" a/k/a Waterfall Carnival fizzles IMHO. Even then there are nice parts, the acoustic guitar, the Kansas-like violin. But it never catches fire with me. I see above that for some of you it is the best part. As always on PE!

    Even better things were to come for this band with Fortunate Observer. I was fortunate observer of the Froggs live twice around this time and thoroughly enjoyed both shows. I admit my attentions wandered elsewhere during their subsequent inactivity and I never picked up Bateless Edge; I will have to rectify that in the near future!

  23. #23
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Great album and loved their NEARfest performance.

    HoG shared the stage with them a few times also, good times!
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  24. #24
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    ^^^ I was thinking back to the Frogg shows I saw and one of them was with HoG. "Prog on the 90" IIRC, in an old converted church in Rochester. The Froggs, HoG, Red Sand and Nathan Mahl, and a few others I can't remember. All the bands put on great shows.

  25. #25
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    ^^^ I was thinking back to the Frogg shows I saw and one of them was with HoG. "Prog on the 90" IIRC, in an old converted church in Rochester. The Froggs, HoG, Red Sand and Nathan Mahl, and a few others I can't remember. All the bands put on great shows.
    Prog in the Park in Rochester NY 2005/2006
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

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