PIERRE VERVLOESEM & ALINOVSKY
(2018 - Off Records - Belgium)
It could startle some with the initial track 'Disque Oh', being quite a dancy 80's electro, albeit distorted version (a true Vervloesem mind frame) of the disco genre. Never fear, as even that takes on a complex romp through lots of rhythmic spins and splurges. When track two plays ('En Trois Temps'), you get the somewhat electronica world that Pierre and Alinovsky are exploring, on most of 'Invisible Quality', their collaboration. Credits include Alinovsky (Alain Lefebvre) on beats, keys, percussion, and as grand-Oumpah-Pah (noted as contributing 19% to the album), and Caroline Lumia, tracks 1/3/4/5/7/9: field recordings, house noises and as grand-brouhaha, on 5%, and then Pierre Vervloesem: guitars, basses, keys, editing, mixing and mastering, as grand-manitou (he also recorded and produced the whole affair, giving himself 76% participation.
I could fill up this entire page with the backgrounds of these musicians but to save space, I will list the most prominent and important roles they have filled. Alain Lefebvre played drums from 1977 thru 1985, with notable bands/artists Thrills, Digital Dance, X-Pulsion, Marine, Snowy Red, Polyphonic Size, Benjamin Lew, Antena, Anna Domino, Tuxedomoon, and The Durutti Column. He then founded the STILL label in Belgium, in 2004 with Jérôme Deuson, which released various acts including Blaine L. Reininger and William Lee Self. Later in 2007, the STILL label morphed into the OFF label. That label represents a much more broad and experimental group of artists. Then he was back performing as musician, with Rob(U)Rang, Baby Fire, and Tetsuroh Konishi (to name a few). He has the creative role of running the OFF label now. With his involvement in 'Invisible Quality', he created some beats and rhythmic ideas, sent them to Pierre to add to and edit as desired. Pierre created some ideas in kind, and it all became a nice collaboration of an improvised sort.
Caroline Lumia studied photography and fashion design, and in 2009, had a music project named "Muschi muschi Magic Circus". She then studied 'acousmatic music'/composition (electroacoustic) at university with Annette Vande Gorne. This is the world of sound landscape, and creating music with sound recordings she used to participate with Pierre and Alain. Since 2016, she has been a creative floral designer, having her own business. So we come to Pierre Vervloesem, a key member of X-Legged Sally, Flat Earth Society, many solos, and a resume too large to even try and list. Let it be known he has been a producer and/or mastering tech for numerous bands through the years, as well as contributing various instrument parts, and even compositions, to these projects.
I mentioned the electronica influences on much of the recording, but unlimited genres are still strong, including dub, blues, rock, avant-garde (of course), fusion, anglo funk, and allsorts. Some moments are a slanted techno groove fit for tripping. All in an inventive package from a brilliant thinker/creator/musician, who never does anything standard or normal (yikes, what is the meaning of that word?). Even an ambient oriented piece ('Le Premier' - track 5) contains dart thrown flutters and celestial bubbles, with oddities all around. 'Loupe' (track 7) will remind you of King Crimson's 'Thrak' and ambient era. 'Blouse Longue' (track 8) is in that same style. The fact is, with this release, when the listener thinks Vervloesem has pulled into one station, he clearly is there for only a short visit. And who can guess what will go on in the mind of this one of a kind artist? Anything he has been involved with over the decades has been stellar and cherished.
Yes this recording is a bit of a change for Pierre and friends, however it swims in impressive oceans, surfing odd waves, floating to the shore in a feel good achievement kind of way. No vocals, just interlocked rhythms, big groove, exploration all over the place, and a set of 9 compositions (pieces edited together for a whole) at 52 minutes, for a thinking person's pleasure. In case you feel like skipping through the songs (doing what we used to call needle dropping, with vinyl albums), you will miss far more than you will hear. And do not miss the last tune called 'Eddy Merckx', for a more classic Vervloesem creation. SUPREME DELIGHT!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 28 - 2018