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The Wrong Object - Stories From The Shed CD (album) cover

STORIES FROM THE SHED

The Wrong Object

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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3 stars The Soft Machine's heirs ?

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Elton Dean & The Wrong Object's collaboration album some weeks ago and I pointed out how similar The Soft Machine and The Wrong Object is in style back then. Elton Dean sadly passed away and The Wrong Object is on their own on this album. But still, the Soft Machine influences are there.....

This album is a Jazz/Fusion album. I would also add Canterbury Scene to the description of both the sound and the music here. This album is by no means smooth jazz or jazz as most knows it. This is jazz straight up your face. It is like being roared at by a wild boar from the distance of two inches. The music is very, very intense at times. That goes for both the woodwinds solos and the guitars solos. But the band also knows how to slow the music down at times to give the listener time to both relax and reflect.

My main gripe is the lack of any really great melodies and hooks on this album. The album is superb on technical details, but not that good on melodies and hooks. But technically, this album is very impressive and that is all there is to it. That and the raw intensity.

This is a very good album, but the band can do better and will do better next time around.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#339744)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Stories From The Shed is the first studio album of the Belgian The Wrong Object. The band started in 2002, playing Zappa covers. They issued 2 live CD's: one with Elton Dean (ex Soft Machine, alt sax) and one with Annie Whitehead (ex Penguin Cafe Orchestra, trombone). That being said, one can already guess what kind of music we've got here.

5 years after the start they found the time is ripe to play their own music. None too soon. The sound is rich, the compositions are strong and sometimes even dramatic; the whole record is consistent, well arranged and doesn't have any weak parts. This, while the album is recorded live in studio, without overdubs. Or so it is said on the back cover. I must say however, there is not very much Zappa left here. Well, I have no problem with that. The music is still reasonable avant-garde, but leans more on the European examples of Henry Cow en Soft Machine, sometimes King Crimson from the Red period as well. This is the style that Chris Cutler of Henry Cow named RIO. Rock In Opposition. In that kind of rock, one will find lots of experimental jazz and quite a little rock. You will also hear in their music some influences of Brand X and the late Gong. May be it looks the most like one of the latest sprouts of the Gong family ? Gongzilla. So, this is the recipe: take Gongzilla, lessen the guitar, add sax en trumpet and you'll get The Wrong Object. An alternative: take the late Soft Machine, limit the improvisations to a justified level and make the bass-guitar a little more prominent. You've got the picture now I hope.

There is here lots of saxophone and trumpet, both leading and improvising. The electric guitar and electronics are actually more supporting, creating the framework, not dominating. However, at the end of the record, on The Unbeleivable Truth (inspired by the film by Hal Hartley of the same name?) the guitar is set loose, fantastic solo, may be a little too long. The drums playing is strong, but missing a necessary innovation, if you'd want to compare it with the work of Chris Cutler (Henry Cow) or Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine).

I hope that the reader excuses me, but I can not resist the urge to philosophize a little.There really exists such a thing as a "music-geographical spread". Let me give you just a few "music-politically" irresponsible prejudices: The best prog comes the last 10 years from Sweden. The best gothic comes as always from the Netherlands. The best jazz comes from America. The best RIO comes from Belgium. Think of Univers Zero, Humble Grumble, etc. Well, of course, this kind of non-commercial music is not really frequently made. Therefore a few individuals that play a loose and fun kind of jazz-rock can actually influence this musical geography. Another thing that influences it is the local politics. Think of free music lessons for the children in Sweden. Each second Swede plays in a (prog) rock band nowadays. Add a traditional penchant towards an alternative music (well, forget ABBA for a moment), and hence the result: lots of progressive rock in Sweden. The Wrong Object is also financially supported. There is a statement on the back cover: "This release was made possible by the support of the Communaut Fransaise de Belgique". Further on, the record is released by the Moonjune records, a label that supports alternative music (often Soft Machine related). Moonjune is actually a good alternative to the Recommended Records of Chris Cutler, which also is a unique concept of a record company for alternative music, started by the founding father of RIO himself.

Let's say, you are on the right path, guys. Thank you very much, I enjoyed it, and hope for more!

Report this review (#510645)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Third or fourth album (depending whether you consider the Elton Dean session as a TWO album) from this Liège group, still with the same line-up as before, but this time the album was released on the great Moonjune label. Once again guitarist Michel Delville is the main songwriter, though all four other members have at least two credits or co-credits. There is no real explanation for this very forest- infested album title and artwork, and to be honest, the dominance of green on the digipak doesn't match the music, which tends to red hot, even more so than the woman's red hairs ion the artwork.

Opening on a few bars of a Klezmer-Manouche tune (like we've all hear a thousand times before), Sonic Riot veers a tad Gong-esque with an excellent closing passage with spacey electronics and trons. 15/05 is building on that feeling and the electronic gizmos are gaining in importance. As the album progresses with every new rack, one can only be captivated with the typical British jazz and JR/F scene of the 70's. Indeed, the shadows of Elton Dean, then Harry Beckett and Annie Whitehead (all participants to the band's previous efforts) seem to hover all over the album, much to our delight. There is a real tension that gradually builds up through tracks like Sheepwrecked (Crimson circa Lizard meets Wyatt) and following blistering Acquiring The Taste and Lifting Belly, where a Canterburian feel seep through via fuzzed-out instruments. The adventurous explorations continue, from the trashy Matching Mole-ish Malign Siesta to the lava-boiling Waves and the out-of-this-world Saturn. The album ends with a rework of Delville's Unbelievable Truth from the Elton Dean session album of the same name.

If you must own only one album from TWO, it would be a die-hard choice between the Dean collab and this one, but if you're into a more classical progressive, their latest album After The Exhibition, which is some kind of rebirth (given the important line-up changes, we can almost guess the band came close to a term) is also quite an awesome realisation. Personally, Shed is my personal fave from these guys.

Report this review (#1214715)
Posted Friday, July 18, 2014 | Review Permalink

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