Friday, 28 January 2022
Friday, 21 January 2022
Cover art by A.L.
OPV017 : Pierre Vervloesem Group / 30 Years of Success
Dave Lynch about the album:
"It’s fairly safe to assume that the Order of Leopold II medal displayed on the album cover of the Pierre Vervloesem Group’s January 2022 release 30 Years of Success is intended to make an ironic statement. After 30 years creating a massive discography of audaciously outside-the-box music, Belgian electric guitarist Vervloesem probably does deserve some sort of medal pinned to his lapel as a signifier of “success.” In today’s music-consumption world however, he’s unlikely to have amassed the necessary hundred billion streams or downloads, and he’d also likely need to fit into a commercially recognized stylistic category rather than putting his own unique spin on nearly every style imaginable.
So never mind a narrow little “Best Fusion Guitarist” medal for Pierre: he's too all-over-the-map, thankfully in a good, Vervloesem way and not a horrific, Leopold way. During these Covid times, the guitarist’s engineering and multi-track arranging and mixing skills in home studio isolation, not to mention his mastery of MIDI technology, have enabled him to release (once per month during 2021!) digital albums influenced by everything and everyone from Indian tala music to TV soundtracks to world folkloric dance to vintage electronica to “fourth world” trumpeter Jon Hassell.
But, maybe now in particular, it might be fun to slam out some blistering jazz-rock-prog-metal-improv-whatever with a real live band — always an important thread in Vervloesem’s career anyway — and put said band through its paces in the studio and on tour (as safely possible as the pandemic drags on). Hence 30 Years of Success: both a career-retrospective album and a potential core live set for the Pierre Vervloesem Group.
The 14 instrumental tracks (including two bonuses for the digital version) revisited on 30 Years of Success reveal that the album is actually a ten-plus-year retrospective more than anything, with Vervloesem’s hard-edged quartet — featuring the guitarist joined by saxophonist Bruno Vansina, bassist Nicolas Dechêne, and drummer Renaud Van Hooland — mainly tackling tracks from 2019’s Artiste International and two “band” offerings (both of which also featured Vansina): 2014’s Undeletable by the Simple quartet and 2010’s Sketches of Pain by the Caca octet. (Pierre subsequently re-released the latter two albums in remixed editions.)
For one choice track, “Nullo Problemo,” the album does leap all the way back to 1994. That’s when, with Pierre already kicking up dust as guitarist for Peter Vermeersch’s manic avant jazz-rock outfit X-Legged Sally (beginning with 1991’s Slow-Up), he pulled a few XLS members into his personal orbit and stepped out with Home Made, an energetic, tuneful, yet diversely exploratory solo debut that charted some of the directions he would build upon in the years and decades to follow. Home Made’s original version of “Nullo Problemo” was a multi-sectioned and ultra-tight mini-epic, and it’s brought into even sharper focus here, beginning with Pierre’s sprightly, hand-muted melody before careening through abrupt tempo shifts, blasts of dissonance, guitar-sax tandem themes and inspired solos, all executed with the skill of seasoned musicians joining together as a single-minded unit on the same precise wavelength.
Undeletable was one of Pierre’s most amiable outings, and featured him on bass rather than guitar. The album’s four tracks heard here, starting with opening salvo “Belgian Triumphalism,” provide the guitarist an opportunity to cut loose with spiraling, noisy, spacy, and sometimes fearsomely incendiary fretwork absent from the 2014 originals, pushed along by the more hard-rocking rhythm section of Dechêne and Van Hooland, whose contributions to Vervloesem’s world date back to the mid-aughts when the twosome dug a sharp and solid foundation for 2005’s Rude.
The five tracks from 2010’s Sketches of Pain shift the emphasis from that album’s XLS-flavored horn section accents and punctuations (which included Vansina on blurty baritone sax) to the current quartet’s more compact sonic footprint, while sacrificing neither the Caca lineup’s multi-saxophone power nor “Schizoid Man” tightness on the herky-jerky insanity of a track like “Zgrol.” But the medal for sheer heaviosity goes to “Exposé,” with its insistent slow rhythmic pound, Zappa-esque guitar-sax unison theme, and screaming signal-split crescendos. Vansina is a lesser presence on the three tracks from Artiste International, the 2019 Vervloesem solo outing that also featured Swedish drummer Morgan Ågren (Mats/Morgan Band). The tunes hint at the studio tweakage of the originals, but not to the detriment of their live-wire immediacy fitting comfortably amongst the other tracks of 30 Years of Success — in fact, Pierre’s burning, soaring solo on “Chapatta” is a highlight of the entire collection.
At the time of this writing, it’s impossible to foretell whether some doomsday variant will send music fans back into their hermetically sealed life pods to enjoy their favorite pastime via tiny speakers stuffed into their ears. Hoping for the best, though, fans of no-holds-barred medal-worthy guitar heroism are advised to scan their local arts & entertainment calendars for possible appearances by the Pierre Vervloesem Group. A live-music opportunity not to be missed! And whenever we might find ourselves locked down in claustrophobic interior spaces, at least we might hope that Pierre Vervloesem will keep churning out a globe-trotting array of boundary-ignoring musical adventures, so that we can embark on journeys into previously unexplored regions…if only in our minds."
Dave Lynch - August 2021.
Pierre Vervloesem :Guitar
Bruno Vansina : Sax, Synth
Nicolas Dechêne : Bass
Renaud Van Hooland : Drums
Physical and digital release on the 21st of January 2022.
1: Belgian Triumphalism
2: 2 Degrees
5: Mental Mento
6: Hop Hop Hop
9: Nullo Problemo
10: One Of These Doris Day
13: Chapatta - Bonus track
14: Deliver us from the Aliments - Bonus track
Friday, 14 January 2022
The new album from Les Boucles Absurdes is based on the terrible events that occurred during the 2021 summer in Belgium. Rain, cold, floods, mud, storms and the rest of the titles depict what was the worst time ever in the country.
No words to add, just listen!
all tracks by Jean-Pierre Jonckheere & Pierre Vervloesem
Recorded at Zottecrolle Studio & Studio Fiasco
Mixed at Studio Fiasco
Friday, 7 January 2022
OJP064 : Wataru Iwata / 0 to 9
From Wataru San words:
"「0 to 9」is not the album for the concept. It is rather daily practices of daily thoughts that consisted with 16 tracks, scattered visions of short stories lay. They are composed in between 2015-2020 at Yatsugatake mountain chain. Enjoy. "
Digital release on the 7th of January 2022.