Featuring Morgan Agren
(2019 - Off Records - Belgium)
From a conversation with Pierre, telling me that his next solo release was with the one of a kind Morgan Agren on drums, I expected nothing less than far past the ceiling music. The listener gets this very thing, a high level of work, in which the two musicians are simply listed in credits as Pierre Vervloesem - non drumming/ Morgan Agren - drumming. If you know much about these two earth shakers in the inventive/progressive music world, over the last decades, the credits are plenty sufficient.
To give a bit more information, Pierre played all instruments except drums , and he recorded (except the drums, which Morgan did at his studio in Sweden, Studio Annanstans), mixed, edited, and mastered the project. The album features some of Vervloesem's finest lead guitar work ever. 'Artiste International' (his previous solo was titled 'Artiste Beige' - also 2019) is all instrumental and the majority of the pieces have a fast pace, head on attack, and added changes for a roller-coaster ride experience. The once drummer for a Frank Zappa cover band in Sweden, who has done countless guest spots and laid down some stunning drum work in his Mats/Morgan band, stays in his hyper mode much of the time. With his trademark turn on a dime, tight as a blood filled tick, and creative four limbs, he dresses up Vervloesem's guitar, bass, keys, and all effects, in each composition, like perfectly adorned Christmas Trees. The listeners will enjoy a slew of odd time signatures, a carnival of thrills, and then some.
This may be the most hybrid album of former member of X-Legged Sally and Pierre's solo life. With his more recent adventures in electronica laced pieces, and love for aggressive wake up call passages, 'Artiste International' has it all and more. If you love the Mats/Morgan releases, you will find much to imbibe on here. After all, you have two of the top tier musicians on the planet working together. Twelve pieces (43:02 mins) that are put together like precision Swiss watches of yesteryear. Perfectly fit, arranged, performed, and concluded.
With such a masterpiece here, there is little more that need be said. The status of both musicians say it in volumes. And we all know Vervloesem is a wizard of many trades. So the workmanship is premium. A final word is to instruct the reader to go buy this release at all costs, sit back, listen, absorb, and give your musical mojo a fix. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 8 - 31 - 2019