FLAT EARTH SOCIETY ORCHESTRA (FES)
(2021 - Igloo Records - Belgium)
[for a few needle drops of this huge display]
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Oh how can they outdo themselves with the trail of tears and brain freeze from the first and second installment of Boggamasta? Oh they do it with ease, and expand even further, as FES are a group of rebels with intentions to deflect, half destroy, rebuild, and concoct musical pieces that have no boundaries, no comfortable home, or any safety zone to lay down and sleep. They are the hive, who create the bees, that make the honey, and you are the silly bear who is too hungry to care if you get a hide full of stingers in the quest for something delicious. And how sweet this is!
If you are unfamiliar with the band (now adding the word Orchestra to their banner to keep confusion down from 2 other bands under same name (one a metal band, the other long time trip band from America) , then just start anywhere in the long discography. This is 2/3 plus of the masterful Belgian outfit X-Legged Sally (Peter Vermeersch and Peter Vandenberghe) along with many others who also played in the band, and new ones that have joined. Then main man David Bovée (an early member of FES and a front-runner with Vermeersch) , who have put together a huge mountain of projects, usually surpassing anything anyone else has done, and always giving the listener a schizo of ear to ear smiles, and brain cell expanding experience. Using Frank Zappa complex outrage, traditional jazz plateau, all sorts of world influences (no limits) and sometimes collective fusions not yet put down on record, FES do it all with what appears to be with ease. I saw them live at Seattle Earshot Jazz (2019), spoke with much of the band, had great conversations, and memories for the rest of my life. Such nice people, with a undeniable talent of producing new music, year after year, and no end in sight. For all recordings, just make sure it is the band from Belgium and you will be greatly rewarded.
'Boggamasta III' just drips with a cross section of smart insanity, abandonment of peer pressures (from labels, fans, or agents), fierce skill sets, and the proper mentality to put forth these sort of high altitude scores, albeit partly improv or completely composed. You might not guess which is what, and it never matters as the tunes just take on a life much larger than life. Be sure of one thing, the albums will make a dent on your skull, even the most thick ones. First cut speaks for itself, as the Sun Ra infused space cadet big band with female multi vocals (akin to Arrigo Barnabe & Orquestra) that leaves no room for any chance that this will be safe, sane, or anywhere close to commercial. But fans already know all this, at least they should. Musicians are: David 9½ Bovée - electric guitar, vocals & electronix/ Peter Vermeersch - bass(clarinet), vocals & electronix/ Mirko Banovic - electric bass/ Kristof Roseeuw - double bass/ Peter Vandenberghe - keyboards & piano/ Teun Verbruggen - drums/ Wim Segers - percussion & vocals/ Benjamin Boutreur - alto sax/ Michel Mast - tenor sax/ Martí Melià - tenor sax/ Bruno Vansina - baritone sax & flute/ Berlinde Deman - tuba & vocals/ Bart Maris - trumpet/ Pauline Leblond - trumpet & vocals/ Peter Delannoye - trombone/ Marc Meeuwissen - trombone. Further credits: Recorded at Werkplaats Walter, Brussels and Johnny Green Giant Studio, Ghent, October-November 2020 by Laurens Ingels. Editing & premix by Peter Vermeersch. Mixing & mastering by Oz Fritz, Prairie Sun Studios, California, USA. Special effects edited in Albaicin, São Paulo, Brazil. Photography at STAM Ghent by Phile Deprez and artwork by Marc Meeuwissen. Each artist gives their all, and one can witness it with the simple purchase and audition of this sparkling double album gem.
A more vocal oriented affair, with the aforementioned Arrigo Barnabe influence, and pieces of Flying Monkey Orchestra (Rob Mounsey's cool funky world fusion outfit), liberal dollops of demented Canterbury (check out 'Cryptoman'), and spits of venom from those wayward bees, that further spin your head. Some of the songs toss a slap in the face of satire, and might wake your passive side up, or remind you how we once spoke up in the 1970's, but got turned into jello molds as age beat us down. Humor has always been a vehicle FES uses, same as Zappa and R. J. Stips (Supersister/Transister/solo) in all their own glory. In short, the ten tracks of 'Boggamasta III' bring a more accessible (but not even near common) listen to the audience. With all the best directions one could hope for (even a narcotic nightmarish 'My Skinny Wonderland' soaked masterpiece, which morphs into a old classic Gong jam area, that could also be a session of buttered parsnips for the subhuman). The third installment of Boggamasta is a locomotive in full throttle. No stones left unturned, no regions passed over, even goth, film noir soundtrack (listen to 'Carbon Based'), astral soul, and spaced out territory where only androids exist, are only some of the tastes FES dip into. A 100% killer release/performance, that cannot be bragged about enough, nor can it be measured in the human language. SPECTACULARLY RECOMMENDED!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 10 - 10 -2021