X-Legged Sally / The Smith Quartet - Bereft Of A Blissful Union (SHM-CD / mini-lp sleeve)

SKU Belle Antique 152344
Led by composer/reed player Peter Vermeersch, X-Legged Sally was a part of the fairly amazing Belgium avant-progressive scene all through the 90s. It was Verloesem's first ensemble to really gain attention and it also can be looked at as the precursor to his current (very large) band, the also amazing Flat Earth Society.

All of X-Legged Sally's albums have been unavailable for many years, and these Japanese issues will be greatly appreciated by the many folks who have been looking for them. If you don't know them, you need at least one of them (at least one!)

"If Fired was an album marked by a Frank Zappa stamp, Bereft of a Blissful Union could be one testifying of the musical depth and ambition of the band. Conceived for choreography and worked in collaboration with The British Smith string quartet, it clearly shows that there is no musical place where Sally can't cross its legs; contemporary classical (many tracks knit on measure for the Smith Quartet, deploying all their ability, a piece written by Schubert), jazz in various forms (here, the 24 minutes long track two is a killer; several stylistic bits are taken out of their time context and mixed together, like for example dixieland clarinets wailing on top of syncopated jazz-rock rhythmic lines, half tribal drumming giving place to 19th century classical dance hall music, cabaret jazz meets free, Latin percussions dance with strings, sampled New Orleans banjo pave the way to a howling sax in an orgy of rhythms, Broadway against Afro, etc... a true and genial melting pot!), music for thrillers (appearing quickly somewhere like a survolted ghost) and more yet! Changes happen at lightning speed and your brain comes to stock tons of brief information, until some classical pieces are brought in as release to the tensions. Nothing's left to hazard, everything is tightly conceived and programmed, despites the feeling of chaos and panic. Vermeersch in a nutshell!!

This release sees them augmented by a string quartet, which is frequently not that well integrated with the main band, and several tracks feature the string quartet alone, which is not bad but sometimes comes across as the equivalent of the filler pieces on Egg's Civil Surface LP. Also like that LP, there is one obvious standout track in particular. Fortunately enough, it is the longest piece on the record, the 20+ minute instrumental "Brungle" (back in the old days we would've called it a "side-long track", though given the absence of a vinyl release for this record such usage is anachronistic), where everything really comes together and the band actually sounds integrated with the string quartet. I wouldn't be surprised if this piece was the main reason for the commisioning of the work, and everything else was gravy. If I had to represent X-Legged Sally by an album, it would be "Land of the Giant Dwarfs", but if I had to represent them with one track it would certainly be "Brungle". Worth seeking out for that reason alone."-rateyourmusic
  • LabelBelle Antique
  • UPC4527516601775
Your Price $32.00
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