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The Wrong Object: After the Exhibition

These days, avant-garde jazz fusion seems to be more prominent than ever, and for good reason. After all, there have been numerous artists who've paved the way thus far, with Frank Zappa likely ranking as the most well-known and influential. On its newest release, After the Exhibition, Belgian sextet The Wrong Object crafts a dizzying display of boisterous technicality and playful timbres. Despite its tendency to showcase the same tricks over and over again, it's invigorating from beginning to end.

Formed a decade ago, The Wrong Object cites a varied collection of influences, including Soft Machine, Gong, Béla Bartok, and Charlie Mingus. Of course, the instrumental spirit of Frank Zappa dominates After the Exhibition (which isn't to say that it's unoriginal). In fact, the record is packed so full of ideas that you'll wonder how the group was ever able to definitively organize and decide on the final arrangements.

"Detox Gruel" bursts with purposeful agility; its horn riffs are precise and demanding, and the rhythm section is remarkably controlled and confident. It feels apocalyptic without being overly noisy or aggressive (well, that is until the guitars recall the fiercer moments of King Crimson). It's an exceptional way to start, and "Spanish Fly" is an intriguing way to follow. More sporadic and frenzied than its predecessor, it's arguably more brilliant yet inaccessible (which is a common paradox in this genre). It feels more like a puzzle of juxtaposed pieces than a linear progression.

There's an exceptional interplay between sax and synths on "Yantra"; it's among the most schizophrenic and colorful tracks here. There's also the three part "Jungle Cow" suite, which basically starts off atmospherically and slowly, builds to more chaos, and dissolves back into its original form. Also, "Glass Cubes," besides its lovely piano opening, is refreshing simply for featuring vocals.

After the Exhibition is as lively, intricate, vivid as anything else you've likely ever heard. There is an issue of meandering repetition (which seems to be inherent in the style), but if you're into this kind of music, you'll no doubt find The Wrong Object to be one of the most engaging acts still keeping avant-garde jazz alive.

Track listing

1. Detox Gruel (4:13)
. Spanish Fly (5:19)
3. Yantra (8:04)
4. Frank Nuts (3:38)
5. Jungle Cow Part I (5:50)
6. Jungle Cow Part II (4:40)
7. Jungle Cow Part III (6:07)
8. Glass Cubes (8:30)
9. Wrong But Not False (5:28)
10. Flashlight Into Black Hole (3:05)
11. Stammtisch (5:59)

Added: August 21st 2013
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Official Site
Hits: 2587
Language: english

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The Wrong Object: After the Exhibition
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-08-21 10:52:30
My Score:

The Wrong Object have been around for about ten years now and have toured extensively during that time and have a couple of live albums under their belts. Their debut Stories From The Shed was released five years ago and their follow up After The Exhibition has just come out. This is the first I have heard of the band and I have to say after listening a couple of times this was quite a treat.

The band is Michel Delville (guitar, Roland GR-09), Antoine Guenet (keyboards, vocals), Marti Melia (bass, tenor sax, clarinet), Francoise Lourtie (tenor, alto and soprano sax, voice), Pierre Mottet (bass) and Laurent Delchambre (drums, percussion, objects, samples). Guests include Susan Clynes (vocals on track 8) and Benoȋt Moerlen (marimba and electronic vibraphone on tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 11).

The musicianship is excellent throughout these eleven tracks led by Delville's inventive guitar and the superb sax work of Melia and Lourtie. That said, all these musicians are given the spotlight as this is clearly not a one or two musician show. This is jazz/rock fusion played at a very high level and is a nice mixture of composition and improvisation, ensuring some good melodies and inventive playing with an added complexity thrown into the mix. Lots of changing tempos and out of the box instrumentation makes this music quite diverse. One of my favourites is "Frank Nuts" with its layered sax intro, organ flourishes and melodic sax work. It is a fine balance between melodic sensibility and more complicated structures. The album opening "Detox Gruel" is another cool track featuring an upbeat groove, more musical changes and impressive drumming from Delchambre. Another highlight is the intriguing "Yantra" with its ambient intro and trippy guitar and effects. Moerlen's vibraphone provides a nice touch. The three part "Jungle Cow" is another winner featuring the ambient spaciness of part one, the frenetic Middle Eastern guitar attack of part 2 and the Floydy sax playing of part 3.

If you appreciate the likes of Frank Zappa and Soft Machine you will find After The Exhibition a deeply rewarding listen.

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