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Thread: Frogg Café

  1. #1
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Frogg Café

    Been really enjoying the Frogg Café album Fortunate Observer Of Time lately... it had been a while since I last played this disc and it really is excellent from beginning to end. I also have the self-titled debut CD but it doesn't click with me the same way. I don't have the other three, and while I'm in the mood for them, I thought I'd ask which of the remaining three you guys think I should get next? I love their brand of jazzy, Zappa-inspired compositions. Which of the remaining three albums is more like Fortunate Observer Of Time than Frogg Café?
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  2. #2
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I'm actually not too familiar with anything before Fortunate Observer, but I think you should go with The Safenzee Diaries anyway. It's a great, live 2CD set. Probably the next most essential FC album.

  3. #3
    Member sergio's Avatar
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    Fortunate Observer and Bateless Edge are the best as far as I'm concerned (not the greatest fan of live CDs re Diaries, got it in mp3). Creatures and Frogg Cafe are great too, but with some extended soundscape experimentation. Cant wait for the next one which according to to 10t is in the pipeline.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot about Bateless Edge - because, believe it or not, it's not included on the band's own website! I knew it seemed like something was missing. Yeah, go for Bateless Edge.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    Been really enjoying the Frogg Café album Fortunate Observer Of Time lately... it had been a while since I last played this disc and it really is excellent from beginning to end. I also have the self-titled debut CD but it doesn't click with me the same way. I don't have the other three, and while I'm in the mood for them, I thought I'd ask which of the remaining three you guys think I should get next? I love their brand of jazzy, Zappa-inspired compositions. Which of the remaining three albums is more like Fortunate Observer Of Time than Frogg Café?
    I have all the Frogg Cafe studio albums. I like them all, but Fortunate Observer of Time is definitely my favorite. As far as what is closest to that one, that's a tough call. Bateless Edge is quite different in many ways, and seems to downplay Nick Lieto a bit, giving the band a different focus to their sound. It's still Frogg Cafe, but they explore different territory here. Creatures is probably closer to FOoT overall, though there are some very "experimental" moments on that album as well. Personally, I think FOoT took the best aspects of Creatures and really built on that. So you might be best off starting with that one, but I think it would be worth picking up Bateless Edge at some point as well.

    Bill

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    Member bill g's Avatar
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    I have them all too, and Fortunate Observer is my favorite as well. 'No Regrets' is just killer. 'Bateless Edge' is very different, but very good in its own right. I especially like the two Nick Lieto compositions, he's a very good writer, but the entire album is interesing, and quite unique, even among Frogg Cafe releases. Not as melodic however, and some have been put off my this, while others adore it. And then, I would rate 'Creatures' over the debut. I think you'd like Creatures, which is probably more Zappa-esque than the others.

  7. #7
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    FWIW, this is my least favorite Frogg Café album.

    You should definitely pick up Bateless Edge. While I don't find it comparable to FOOT, I do think it's their best overall. Their first two (S/t and Creatures) are their most Zappa like to my ears, so perhaps Creatures would be worth a listen.
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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you for your thoughts!

    I'm leaning towards Creatures, but depending on when I get it I might grab Bateless Edge as well.
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    Member mellotron storm's Avatar
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    I feel that Bateless Edge is their best followed by Creatures. I really do think that if you like Fortunate Observer Of Time you'd love the live one.
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  10. #10
    It's been ages since I listened to it, but Creatures has some great tracks. Great guitar solos plus some really cool violin and electric violin parts.

    From Bateless Edge, the 3 part epic Under Wuhu Son is probably my favorite overall Frogg Café song.

    It's been a while since we've heard new music from Frogg Café. I wonder what they have been up to?

  11. #11
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    Creatures is worth getting for the 20+ minute track "Waterfall Carnival" alone. This song is more classic Yes and Genesis (with a dash of Kansas?) than Zappa. An absolutely beautiful piece of symphonic prog.

  12. #12
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Perhaps some of the band members will join the thread with comments...
    Regards,

    Duncan

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    Member PotatoSolution's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    Creatures is worth getting for the 20+ minute track "Waterfall Carnival" alone.
    Waterfall Carnival is the first Frogg Cafe song I ever heard, and was the impetus to make me check out the band. It's still my favorite FC song.

  14. #14
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    My faves are FOoT, Safenzie (very nicely recorded live stuff), and Bateless.

    Bateless Edge is more dense than the others. It's still revealing itself to me with repeated listens.
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    Member rickawakeman's Avatar
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    "Creatures" was my first FC disc and while I dug it, "FOoT" is a step up (and enjoyed seeing the band at NF that year); I'm actually still digesting Bateless Edge, which is usually a good thing (not as immediately accessible as the previous two releases). Had the privilege of seeing the band again this past Fall at the NJ ProgHouse Weekend and they still rocked despite not having played together for a long while!

  16. #16
    Bateless Edge really grew on me: a fantastic album.

    Henry
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    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    Bateless Edge really grew on me: a fantastic album.

    Henry
    I agree, and the great thing about it is the stylistic breadth in the writing: Nick is pretty inside, Frank is fairly outside, and Drew falls nicely between them. It's all the same band but not all the same sound - and to me, that's always been one of the attractions of prog as a whole genre.

    Although that raises an interesting question: Is breadth like that a good thing artistically? I enjoy it, but some might see it as stylistically incoherent. You could almost see Bateless as three solo EPs mixed together, or maybe see Frogg Cafe as three different bands with three different leaders that just happen to consist of the same half-dozen-or-so musicians.

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    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I agree, and the great thing about it is the stylistic breadth in the writing: Nick is pretty inside, Frank is fairly outside, and Drew falls nicely between them. It's all the same band but not all the same sound - and to me, that's always been one of the attractions of prog as a whole genre.

    Although that raises an interesting question: Is breadth like that a good thing artistically? I enjoy it, but some might see it as stylistically incoherent. You could almost see Bateless as three solo EPs mixed together, or maybe see Frogg Cafe as three different bands with three different leaders that just happen to consist of the same half-dozen-or-so musicians.
    Might want to make that four different bands, John, since Under Wuhu Son, written by Andy, is my favorite FC song. It's about a subject close to my heart, being an adoptive parent, as Suss achingly documents the bureaucracy and pitfalls of international adoption.
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  19. #19
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    Might want to make that four different bands, John, since Under Wuhu Son, written by Andy, is my favorite FC song. It's about a subject close to my heart, being an adoptive parent, as Suss achingly documents the bureaucracy and pitfalls of international adoption.
    That is a great piece of music, and a subject I don't think I've seen touched on by anyone else.

    About Nick being 'inside', I have to say that he touches on some pretty unique and complex chordings for being 'inside'. 'Emotional' is a word I'd use to describe much of his music. As to Frank's writing, pretty impressive to write both 'Waterfall Carnival' and 'Belgian Boogie Board', two completely different pieces of music.

  20. #20
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I agree, and the great thing about it is the stylistic breadth in the writing: Nick is pretty inside, Frank is fairly outside, and Drew falls nicely between them. It's all the same band but not all the same sound - and to me, that's always been one of the attractions of prog as a whole genre.

    Although that raises an interesting question: Is breadth like that a good thing artistically? I enjoy it, but some might see it as stylistically incoherent. You could almost see Bateless as three solo EPs mixed together, or maybe see Frogg Cafe as three different bands with three different leaders that just happen to consist of the same half-dozen-or-so musicians.
    For me yes. I much rather have incoherent over samey or predictable.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    I agree, and the great thing about it is the stylistic breadth in the writing: Nick is pretty inside, Frank is fairly outside, and Drew falls nicely between them. It's all the same band but not all the same sound - and to me, that's always been one of the attractions of prog as a whole genre.

    Although that raises an interesting question: Is breadth like that a good thing artistically? I enjoy it, but some might see it as stylistically incoherent. You could almost see Bateless as three solo EPs mixed together, or maybe see Frogg Cafe as three different bands with three different leaders that just happen to consist of the same half-dozen-or-so musicians.
    Interesting question. The answer is ultimately subjective.

    I like FOoT best, and that is predominately Nick's album writing-wise. That corresponds to my general preference for a certain "unity" in compositional style, though the bands I like best have this unity while avoiding being "samey and predictable" at the same time. At least to me.

    Pardon me for saying so, but I've never been knocked out by Frank's contributions in Frogg Cafe. I think he upped his game on Bateless Edge, but I still don't enjoy that album as much as FOoT, which has that "unity" I appreciate. Plus it jut has compositions that resonate better with me. So I'd land in the "more coherent but still not samey and predictable with compositions I like" camp, if that is an option. For me, Frogg Cafe nailed it with FOoT, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate and respect their other albums.

    I'm glad to hear they are still active an look forward to new stuff from them. Really a super nice bunch of guys that I've had the pleasure of meeting several times.

    Bill

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I'm actually not too familiar with anything before Fortunate Observer, but I think you should go with The Safenzee Diaries anyway. It's a great, live 2CD set. Probably the next most essential FC album.
    Cracked out the live album this weekend. Love the solo/improv sections, and the trombone solos. Gagutz!

  23. #23
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Creatures arrived today. Spinning it now for the first time and I already love the opening track "All This Time"! Thanks for the recommendations guys.
    Two boys have been found rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.

  24. #24
    chalkpie
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    Those guys are a bunch of losers. Especially the bald guy - stay away - he is nothing but trouble.

    Thanks for the kind words guys. Were just a bunch of lifelong pals having some fun when we get the opportunity to escape from the sometimes monotonous daily grind of life. I will speak on behalf of the band and say that improvising is our favorite aspect of our merry music-making. Whether it's good or not is a different story, but it certainly is fun.


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