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(70:00, Fazzul Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Uberfall 3:44 2. Total 6:54 3. In Alle Ewigkeit 1:24 4. Strahlen 4:29 5. So Froh 4:21 6. Kuckuck 7:25 7. Kulturbetrieb 3:53 8. Pit's Tune 3:00 9. Uberall 6:15 10. Irgendwo 4:09 11. Wie Einst im Mai 6:22 12. November 7:39 13. Uberraschungsfrisur 4:43 14. Endzeit 6:00 LINEUP: Markus Stauss – saxophones; extras Pit Kayser – keyboards; vocals Andy Muckenhirn – drums With: Alex Schaub – bass Jean Chaine – bass Caroline Fahrni – violin Andre Muller – saxophone
Prolusion. The Swiss trio UBERFALL was active from 1984 and until the early ‘90s, and released four studio albums before they called it a day, with a compilation album from 1994 closing the chapter of the band's history as an active band unit. "Treasures" is a collection of material pulled from the band's archives, and was released by the Swiss label Fazzul Music in 2010.
Analysis. While I don't know all that much about this band, I see that they are generally regarded as belonging inside the jazz-rock part of the progressive rock universe, and I frequently see them referenced as being something of an avant-garde ensemble at their most challenging. Personally I wouldn't vouch for that specification due to the material present on this particular CD, and I rather do suspect that purists might have some difficulties with the first half of this production to boot, as this is very much an album of two different halves. The opening seven compositions all have their fair share of jazz and jazz rock-oriented escapades, although the actual content and orientation of the compositions as a whole are very much what I'd describe as a variable entity. In between the mainly instrumental sequences incorporating those traits we're dealing with music where the vocal and some instrumental passages have a stronger association with pop music and synthy pop music at the onset, with traces of new wave and then electronica following. For the latter aspect Kraftwerk is an association that comes on strong, but the final cut of this half, Kulturbetrieb, adds in some escapades what, to my mind, comes across as closer to ‘80s Tangerine Dream as well. This is both interesting and fascinating material I should add, and it is interesting to note just how well jazz and jazz rock-oriented details and passages are incorporated into these compositions. Still, purists might feel somewhat alienated by these blends. The second half of the album is an all instrumental one, and more purebred in its particular take on jazz-rock. Saxophone and keyboard combinations are central throughout, and especially the saxophone and organ combinations struck me as at times eerily similar to the kind of music explored by Taylor's Universe for the last few decades. If this is a case on direct inspiration on the part of the latter or of two bands being inspired by the same or similar source material I can't tell or know, but I'd suspect the latter. Be that as it may be, the instrument combinations used, and arrangements and themes formed, all stay within the compelling and frequently the interesting as well, with variations in pace, intensity and mood, smoothly and effectively used to maintain tension and interest. As with the album as a whole, I experience its second half as a solid one, with quality material performed by quality musicians, and an album that most likely deserves a lot more acclaim than it has been given to date.
Conclusion. Based on the contents of this CD, Uberfall is a band that merits a closer check by those with an interest in jazz-rock and a liberal point of view as to what constitutes music in this genre. Their blend of various more or less mainstream pop-oriented escapades with jazz and jazz-rock tendencies strikes me as just as interesting as the more purebred and occasionally rather experimental fare in this album's second half, with captivating saxophone and keyboard arrangements as a distinct and strong point there. Those aware of and enjoying a project like Taylor's Universe should be a good fit for the contents of the second half of this CD, and those with a taste and affection for jazz-rock blended with other and arguably mainstream-oriented styles should find the first half of this CD to be a treat.
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