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The Wrong Object - 2009 - "Live at Zappanale"

(55:19, Fazzul Music)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Overture 1:07
2.  Saturn 7:11
3.  Big Swifty 4:08
4.  Blessed Relief 5:22
5.  Drum Solo 1:34
6.  Five-Five-Five 4:23
7.  Wet Weather Wet 5:27
8.  Sheepwrecked 9:11
9.  Strangler Fig 5:37
10. The Unbelieveable Truth-I 6:00
11. The Unbelieveable Truth-II 5:19


Michel Delville  guitars; electronics
Fred Delplancq  saxophone 
Jean-Paul Estievenart  trumpet 
Damien Polard  bass; electronics
Laurent Delchambre  drums; samples
Stanley Jason Zappa  sax (8-11)
Nick Skrowaczewski  percussion (8-11)

Prolusion. The Belgian band THE WRONG OBJECT was formed in 2002 by Michel Delville, and can to someextent be described as his creative vehicle. They released their first albums in 2005, a studio collaboration featuring Elton Dean, as well as a live production featuring various guest musicians, and have since then issued two more studio efforts and one more live recording, namely "Live at Zappanale". As with most other excursions by this act, it features guest appearances, the most notable one in this case one Stanley Jason Zappa, nephew of the late and great Frank Zappa.

Analysis. "Live at Zappanale" is a curious effort in my opinion. Made up partially of Frank Zappa compositions, which is natural when considering the event where this concert was recorded, and partially by original material. But by and large the stylistic expression is rather distinctly jazz and more liberally spiced with free-form wanderings than rock influences. And while this CD as such most likely will be sorted under fusion, it belongs in the jazzier parts of this realm. The musicianship, as is most often the case on such ventures, is of the highest caliber. Drummer Delchambre serves up rhythms of a complexity that can make listeners more familiar than me with music of this sort dizzy; Delville provides some stunning fretwork as well as sonic tapestries of a more ambient nature; Polard is a bassist that is just as capable of delivering complex wandering motifs as he is at underscoring the sticks and supplying circulating basic themes. But the sax and trumpet are the instruments given the spotlight roles on this occasion. Laid-back, jazz-oriented soloing, harmonic excursions and disharmonic improvisational duels come and go on top of the ever-wandering and -evolving foundation crafted by the rest of the band, but often more technically impressive than musically so, as far as my tastes go. While I frequently was left impressed by the performance, the themes, motifs and arrangements only rarely managed to intrigue me. The Unbelievable Truth-I is the main exception to that description. The blend of psychedelic leanings in the first half of the composition and the somewhat more free-form-oriented landscapes that unfold at the halfway point make for a stunning audio experience. And in general, from the track Five-Five-Five and onwards this live recording gets more intriguing; as I understand the disc, this is also the least jazz-oriented part of it, the only exception to this represented in the shape of Strangler Fig. A bit of a bumpy ride in other words, where the second half comes across as superior to the first for someone with my musical taste.

Conclusion. Those who like their fusion to be jazz-oriented, complex and challenging should find "Live at Zappanalle 2008" to be a production catering to their tastes in a most excellent fashion. In particular if individual instrumental prowess and free-form-oriented wanderings are perceived as intriguing in themselves. Personally I'm not that thrilled, and my appreciation of this effort will most likely be one shared by those who generally enjoy music with more of an emphasis on mood and melody.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 16, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Fazzul Music
The Wrong Object


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