Exposé Online banner

Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese? — More Light
(Fazul fm 0824, 2008, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01

More Light Cover art

TZGIV is a band led by Swiss saxophonist Markus Strauss; the band’s name stands for “Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese?” so one might take a wild guess at who one of their chief influences is, although that connection is not readily obvious from their sound, which fuses free-jazz elements to a heavy rock groove with guitar shredding galore. Also on board are guitarist Michel Delville and drummer Laurent Delchambre, both members of The Wrong Object, and Damien Campion on electric and double bass. For the most part this is bristling with energy, driving hard, rocking up the jazz grooves and vice versa, occasionally breaking down for some intelligent improvisation that burns brightly but rarely approaches chaos. Perhaps with more cooks in the kitchen it indeed might, but with only two players at the top end, the ensemble seems to be right-sized for the best fit. Sometimes they take it down a few notches and get a bit introspective, occasionally employing electronic guitar-synth gimmicks; at these times the entire ensemble tends to go into free improv mode, but even at their most free moments they still don’t reach the Excedrin threshold. There are plenty of exciting moments herein, and most fans of the freewheeling side of jazz-rock should find plenty here of interest.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Trank Zappa Grappa in Varese? (TZGIV), Michel Delville

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Source - All Along This Land – The Source is a Los Angeles based four-piece of g/k/b/d with keyboardist and primary composer Aaron Goldich assuming the vocal duties. They are a prog rock band with ambitious aims, as evidenced by...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover

Premier of New Echo Us Video

From the press release:

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.

“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.

“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)

As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.



Print issues