Von Zamla - No Make Up. 1983 Sweden
1983 JA&RO (Germany)
LP reissue: 1984 Krax
Second album from international version of the zany S/Zamla Mammas Manna bunch with ties to Albert Marcoeur’s group. Featuring an expanded lineup of six, including Univers Zero reeds man Michel Berckmans, No Make Up! is undeniably an avant progressive tour de force. The album opens, interestingly enough, with ‘Forge Etude’, a rework from Zamla’s (then) final album Familjesprickor. A rarely mentioned fact, possibly due its obscurity, is the relationship of Von Zamla with the German fusion band Munju during this period. Both recorded for the German based JA&RO label (aka Exil). And not only do they share a full time member, bassist Wolfgang Saloman, but Berckmans also played extensively on Munju’s Le Perfectionniste album. This collaboration is reflected on the third track ‘Für Munju / Indojazz’, one of the livelier pieces on No Make Up!. Throughout the album, it’s once again Lars Hollmer’s familiar accordion, that drives most of the Nordic European style folk melodies. The ensemble work is tight, in typical chamber music fashion, with the aggressive rock edge provided by guitarist Eino Haapala, the same role he played for the Zamla clan prior. It’s fair to say that most of the groups in the Rock in Opposition camp find it hard to avoid some crazy improvisation, sort of their bitch-slap to the establishment. Here Von Zamla only utilize one piece for that, the unbelievably irritating (and mercifully short) ‘Voice Improvisation’. Fortunately the remainder of the tracks remain composed, energetic and satisfying. No Make Up! was slotted to be reissued on CD in 1998, but for reasons unknown, did not happen. Highly recommended to fans of the original RIO movement, the collective avant progressive sound, and those who have recently arrived through the Nordic front door via the Northside label.