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Brand X (UK/USA) - 2001 - "The X-Files"
(2CD: 127 min, "Musea" / "Buckyball")


******

Disc 1 (58 min):



1. The X-Files 1-56 (Jones, Goodsall)

2. Nuclear Burn / Cambodia 6-46 (Jones, Goodsall, Katz)

3. True To the Click 5:30 (Goodsall, F. Pusch)

4. Healing Dream 3-49 (Goodsall)

5. Thaildomide Squid 5-13 (Jones, Goodsall)

6. Born Pretty In a Disco 8-06 (=)

7. Noddy Goes To Sweden 7-13 (Jones)

8. Kugelblitz 10-57 (Jones, Goodsall)

9. Don't Make Waves 5-31 (Goodsall)

10. John "No" Doe 2-49 (Goodsall, Jones)



Disc 2 (69 min):



1. Dance of Life 5-48 (R. Ciago, Goodsall)

2. Saladin 5-26 (Goodsall)

3. Inseminator 6-07 (Jones)

4. G-Storm 3-11 (D. Wilding with Brand X)

5. Measure the Sky 9-00 (Goodsall)

6. Here I am Now 4-25 (Goodsall, B. Cochran)

7. Animal 4-08 (Goodsall, M. McClinden)

8. Love Notes 4-19 (Goodsall)

9. The Ocean (M. Bruce)

10. Last Of the Mohicans (Jones)

11. 510.000 Bookshelf 5-17 (=)

12. Finger Power 6-48 (=)

13. From a Mountain Top 4-42 (Goodsall)



Line-up (latest / current):



John Goodsall - electric & acoustic guitars, midi-guitars;

                lead vocals (on Disc 2, track 13)

Percy Jones - bass guitars; programming

Frank Katz - drums & percussion

Marc Wagnon - vibraphones & midi-vibes



The band's previous members that feature on this album:



Robin Lumley - keyboards

Phil Collins - drums 

Morris Pert - percussion

Preston Heyman - percussion



The band tours' members that feature on this album:



Pierre Moerlen - drums & percussion

Mike Clark - drums

John Giblin - bass

Franz Pusch - synthsizers

Kris Sjobring - keyboards



Other participants (on Disc 2 only):



Van Manakas - guitars 

Shankar - violin

Bill Bruford - drums & percussion

Chester Thompson - drums 

Mike Barsimanto - drums

Mick McClinden - bass

Doug Lunn - bass

Donny Harvey - bass

Ronnie Ciago - various African percussive instruments;

               keyboards

Malcolm Bruce - vocals (on 9), guitars, keyboards

Bayotte - vocals (on 6); keyboards

Krash - vocals (on 7, 8); backing vocals (on 13)

Danny Wilding - flute

Jeff Llewelyn - guitars



Produced by Percy Jones & John Goodsall.

Recorded by the various engineers

(incl. long-time Genesis's producer/engineer

David Hentschel, who also produced Brand X's

latest album "Manifest Destiny" of 1997),

at various studios, in various countries,

and in different years (1976 to 2000).

Mastered by Judson Leach, Hollywood, CA.

"Musea" online: http://www.musearecords.com/

Prologue. Along with Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever, Brand X is one of my favourite Jazz-Fusion bands (Titans for all times). As for the top five favourite bands, then the other two bands have to be Tunnels (which features three of four members of the latest / current line-up of Brand X) and Pierre Moerlen's Gong (beginning with "Shamal", 1975). I am familiar with all Brand X's official releases (I mean all studio albums and "Livestock", featuring mostly new compositions), but I didn't expect that "The X-Files", an album which also consists mostly of unreleased songs either by Brand X or the band's side-projects (most of which have been formed by the majority of the band members), would become another masterpiece in the Legend's discography.

The Album. While, as I said, I've heard all Brand X albums, there are four pieces on Disc 1 I'm acquainted with, though the first of them is really just a piece of the only medley on the album Nuclear Burn/Cambodia, and another one is from the actually (not officially) first album of Brand X "Missing Period", consisting of the band's earliest works (that all sound great!), which had been recorded before the first official album "Unorthodox Behaviour", but released merely a few years ago. So to begin with, the "Missing Period" album's official status is the same that the albums consisting of all the previously unreleased tracks have. And second, I doubt that most of you Jazz-Fusion (i.e. Prog-Fusion) lovers have listened to it. In other words, there are only two tracks that feature both the "The X-Files" and two of the band's official albums ("Xcommunication" of 1992 and "Manifest Destiny" of 1997) on Disc 1, with a playing time exceeding any of the band's nine albums from the Brand X Mk I period (1975 to 1982). But while you have more than 45 minutes of totally unknown songs on Disc 1, even if you've heard Tunnels' debut album you have at least about 65 minutes of stunning new music on Disc 2. (If you don't know how great Tunnels' first album is (I still haven't heard their second album, but apparently it is even better), you need to read the review on it via clicking here. Now I'll let you know that "The X-Files" is not only among Brand X's five best albums, but also their most unique one. A general musical "formula" of Disc 1 should sound as precise as (just brilliant) the music Brand X present it: "An extremely intriguing, outstanding, complex, powerful Prog-Fusion, filled with truly mind-blowing arrangements that are full of the most fantastic solo acrobatics you have ever heard for many years" (because Brand X & Co remain now the only Prog-Fusion Titans, as the Others split a long time ago). Actually, the majority of compositions, that feature Disc 1, are not only extremely complex, - they, with all unpredictable, very volatile structures and sudden changes of musical directions, which often go in line with just unbelievable changes of highly complex time signatures (that you won't find in the creation of the bands of Classic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal, by the way), and fantastic high-speed virtuosic solos, are too complex to describe each of them here. You must listen to them several times to understand them and discover the very prog beauty in this Jazz-Fusion masterpiece. Disc 2 contains two Brand X founders' side-works that sound for the most part highly different from anything created by them in Brand X. This time you'll make sure that two Brand X leaders John Goodsall and Percy Jones are as incredibly inventive (which is really logical with regard to them creating new music outside the precincts of Brand X) as they were in their heyday. Hard'n'heavy Prog-Fusion that these guys played as John Goodsall and Jones-Katz Projects, apart from others, in the 1980s, had their own, distinctly original and at the same time very tasteful sounds, unlike most of the other bands' side-projects. There is also a long marvelous, by all means the best acoustic guitar instrumental I ever heard, really: all well known Majors of this style are now dethroned by John Goodsall, - check "The X-Files" out and listen to it, - only then can you 'bomb' me if in your (just personal) view I am wrong now).

Summary. Is there really a need to summarize all the particularities of this album since each of them is of the same premier six stars quality? All in all, summing them up in a usual manner or in a reverse mode, after we divide the sum of all the album's particularities into a number that is equal to them taken together, we'll always have the same six stars, standing for the status of a masterpiece, in a general denominator of the "The X-Files" album as a whole. I can with pleasure repeat, though, that Brand X, along with a few their current side-projects (see PS*), are the only Prog-Fusion Titans in the contemporary Progressive Rock movement. Or, in other words, thank God that the only Prog-Fusion Hallmark Brand X (obviously, as this is the only 'Titanic' band of the genre (don't confuse the band's truly royal title with the self-titled cinema mediocrity), which have found the strength to hit the road again and still fascinate us fans with their wonderful music).

P.S. Actually, these are just pseudo side projects since all the four current Brand X members perform on Sarah Pillow's "Nuove Musiche" album, and Sarah sings on Marc Wagnon's solo album, whose line-up, as well as that of Tunnels, consists by two third of Brand X's latest/current line-up.

VM. September 14, 2001


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