Ne Zhdali

Rhinoceroses and Other Forms of Life

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Ne Zhdali's first album, Rhinoceroses and Other Forms of Life, came out on ADM as an LP in 1990 (with subsequent reissues on AYAA and No Man's Land). It introduced the music of this wild avant-punk-comedy-rock outfit from Estonia, serving up a challenging first course. The album alternates between movements from two suites, "Rhino" and "Bossa," although each track works well on its own. In general, the "Rhino" sections consist of hard-knocking tunes with complex rhythm changes embedded in punk attitude and a propensity to have fun. The "Bossa" tunes feature guest pianist Avi Nedzvetsky, and all have that bossa nova feel one would expect (although interpreted loosely and in different forms from one track to the next). This album sees Leonid Soybelman and friends leaning more on the far left side of progressive rock than the avant punk of the Ex. They also favor complex instrumental numbers in place of the more song-oriented material found in Hey, Driver, Cool Down the Horses!!! and Whatever Happens, Twist! If these two latter albums are superior to Rhinoceroses and Other Forms of Life, it still remains a strong effort highlighted by precise technique and compelling writing. All the guys needed was to loosen up a bit and indulge their wacky side. A couple of movements from the "Rhino" suite, especially "Rhino IV," became live favorites.

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