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Conveniens by Conveniens

This is the re-release of Conveniens first album, originally recorded in 1984. The synthetic sound duo released 2 other albums in the 80s, both of which are still only available on LP, and are considered collector’s vinyl today. This album, entirely instrumental and original, sets the tone for Conveniens unclassifiable sound.

While part prog rock and part electronica, there are a lot of jazz influences. The first track, "Rain Kite" is an alternative approach to blues changes. "Morning Lobotomy" uses a funk bass and drum line while the synthesizer wails on top. Sometimes the improvisation gets pretty out, and structure is thrown away in favor of synthetic noodling.

For most of the album, however, there’s a high degree of textural layering. John Maz uses the drums less often for rhythm and more for creating a bass layer of sound for Sterling Smith to paint over with a variety of synthetic sound. The drums vary the style too, using everything from reggae to straight-ahead rock to punk-style beats. "Druhm Rum" is a Maz’s moment of glory, as he uses double bass drums, toms, and cymbals to mix and match rhythms. Smith utilizes the different sounds available to him at every instance, creating multiple lines that mesh into a very surreal sound. There’s a hidden track at the end of the album of an "artistic" interview with Conveniens, which was not included on the original LP.

While this album is rather unusual, it shows some very interesting experimental and innovative ideas. With some more time, Conveniens might be a more memorable name from the 80s era, and may have even begun a new wave of jazz or prog rock. As it is, this underground group deserves to be brought back and listened to. Hopefully the other two albums will be released on CD in the near future.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Conveniens
  • CD Title: Conveniens
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Conveniens
  • Rating: Four Stars
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