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Brainstorm - Smile A While  CD (album) cover

SMILE A WHILE

Brainstorm

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.42 | 31 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I consider BRAINSTORM and EIDER STELLAIRE as my two biggest discoveries of 2011. I must admit that I wasn't expecting much when I purchased BRAINSTORM's two studio albums mainly because of the low ratings on this site, which by the way leave me somewhat baffled. They were a German Jazz / Fusion band who began as FASHION PINK before changing their name to BRAINSTORM. It was a fairly new concept back then this idea of businessmen brainstorming ideas and they liked the meaning of that name in relation to their music. These guys were all virtuosos, playing the most complex passages with ease. It was when they were called FASHION PINK that the guys discovered the music of SOFT MACHINE, Frank Zappa, CARAVAN and the like and so they started to make more complex music. The keyboardist especially liked the sound of Mike Ratledge and Dave Stewart's distorted keyboards and promptly did the same with his.They also used echo effects and decided that what little vocals they did use would be in English. Now the album cover is controversial no doubt about it. It's one thing to dress-up like women ala Frank Zappa and MAX WEBSTER album covers both of which are hilarious, but to dress-up in women's undergarments ? I should mention that Roland the sax player would go on to play with both GURU GURU and EMBRYO.

"Das Schwein Trugt" hits the ground running and you gotta love the distortion. It settles before 1 1/2 minutes as the sax solos tastefully. It kicks back in at 3 1/2 minutes as we get some nasty organ that comes and goes. "Zwick Zwick" opens with the drums, flute and sax standing out. It's just a pleasure listening to each one of these guys play. The distorted organ after 3 minutes brings SOFT MACHINE to mind. "Watch Time Flow By" is a vocal track and he really sounds like his singing has been influenced by Robert Wyatt and Richard Sinclair. A beat with flute helps out. "Bosco Biati Weiss Alles" is Jazzy with prominant bass, sax, drums and more. A drum show 3 1/2 minutes in then some distorted organ 5 minutes in followed by a calm with vocal melodies. Nice. It kicks back in again as contrasts continue. We get an intense finish.

"Snakeship Tango" has some crazy sax then vocal expressions as a catchy soundscape takes over. "Smile A While" has these deep bass sounds with atmosphere to start. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes in and builds with the sax leading then flute. This is great ! Vocals 2 1/2 minutes in are brief then the flute leads again. More fuzz after 6 minutes. Nice. A calm before 8 1/2 minutes then the sax starts to lead. It settles with flute after 10 minutes and we get reserved vocals before 12 1/2 minutes in this laid back section. It kicks in again as he sings "Smile a while" and we get more fuzz late. Killer stuff. "You Are What's Gonna Make It Last" is catchy with vocals and some guitar too. I like it ! "Don't Forget" is the very short closing instrumental. I have to mention the first bonus track called "Thesen & Antithesen" because it sounds amazing and it goes on for 14 minutes.

A very solid 4 stars and one that SOFT MACHINE and MOVING GELATINE PLATES fans might want to check out. Enjoy the cover boys !

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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