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Association P.C. - Earwax CD (album) cover


Association P.C.

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Mellotron Storm
4 stars It doesn't happen a lot these days but it's a pleasure to be the first to write a review for this album as it was last week to do the same with that classic Michael Mantler album "The Hapless Child And Other Inscrutable Stories". ASSOCIATION PC was formed in 1969 by Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois and was originally known as simply ASSOCIATION. Just look at the album cover provided here and you'll see that that was the case with this the debut album released in 1970, while Pierre Courbois' name is in smaller print on the lower left side of the album cover. The band was a multi-national group with Germans and Dutch making up the lineups over the years. This is an all-instrumental affair with the music being in the Jazz/Rock and Free Jazz sub-genres. Some of you may have heard of the guitarist named Toto Blanke who puts on a show in his unique style but then I have to say that each member blows me away with their performances on here.

"Spider" is up first and it's an energetic, uptempo track with intricate guitar sounds and lots of cymbals, bass and keyboards. We get a brief drum solo(hey it's his band and there will be more solos to come) after 2 minutes then the keyboards lead the way a minute later but not for long. A complex opening number. "Hit The P. Tit" is the longest song at 11 minutes. The guitar sounds different here as he rips it up while we get some jazzy drum patterns and bass to fill out the sound. The guitar is almost experimental sounding here. The sparse electric piano reminds me of early seventies Miles Davis. Some insanity follows that makes me believe these guys were influenced by Free Jazz. We get a calm and the bass solos after 4 minutes and this continues until around 5 1/2 minutes in. A full sound returns after 6 minutes sounding much less experimental than before and quite jazzy. Another calm arrives as we get an interesting drum solo then back to the full sound before 9 1/2 minutes. Some fuzz here as well.

"Elsen" is one I really like. Just a feel good, melodic beauty but it's so short at just over 1 1/2 minutes. "Earwax" is a top three song for me and what a pleasure to focus on the instrumental work of all these guys. So intricate and sophisticated. A drum solo before 6 minutes that lasts just under a minute. "Round A'bout Nine" and the next and final track fill out my top three songs. This one starts with a bass solo and it continues for some time. Some drum work then the guitar joins in around 4 minutes along with more of that early seventies Miles Davis sounding electric piano. So good. "Jazzper" is another beauty as keys, bass, drums and guitar impress with their intricate and melodic sounds. The title of this song is a play on words i'm sure on the keyboardists first name(Jasper).

Easily four stars and this sounds so much better than the flute dominated live album of theirs called "Mama Kuku" that I reviewed some time ago.

Report this review (#1308480)
Posted Saturday, November 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Now five months into my deep-dive into the history and world-wide effect of Jazz-Rock Fusion I am quite familiar with (and enamored of) drummer Pierre Courbois, guitarist Toto Blanke, and keyboard player Jasper Van't Hof. Thus, this was an album that I was greatly looking forward to.

1. "Spider" (4:20) a delightfully melodic, smooth, and impressive display of musical skills from all four musicians, all based in solid jazz fundamentals yet definitely crossing well-over. (9.75/10)

2. "Hit The P. Tit" (11:00) opens up with the rhythm section running at top speed while guitarist Toto Blanke's fuzz- guitar screams frenetically over the top and Jasper Van't Hof's sporadic electric piano chord hits peppering the field with the predictability of a severe thunderstorm. Drummer Pierre Courbois is also in Tornado Alley storm mode as he beats and smashes his drum kit every which way imaginable right up to the fourth minute double bass solo from Siggi Busch. I gotta hand it to Siggi: he puts together quite an unusual solo, complete with hammering and crazed bowing-- for over 90 seconds. The rest of the band rejoins at the six-minute mark with some spy-music-like chord hits and brief music before backing off to allow Pierre a chance to show his mettle--also for about a minute-and-a-half. The band comes back together in the tenth minute, this time backing Jasper's electric piano with a little bit of electric Toto mixed in there for good measure. Normally, I'm not a fan of isolated instrumental solos, but I have to say that the solos on this song are interesting enough to have earned my attention and respect. (18/20)

3. "Elsen" (1:35) a gentle, almost pastoral weave that feels as if it was a piece of a jam that could or would never amount to anything. Nice work between Jasper and Toto. (4.25/5)

4. "Earwax" (7:19) more electrified 1960s jazz with some very nice, smooth-yet-virtuosic drum play beneath Toto's melodic George Benson-like guitar play. Jasper's electric piano play sounds like stuff from the 1960s "in" crowd or Ramsey Lewis. Electric bass player Peter Krijnen certainly has a different, more top-line melodic playing style than the Siggi of the first three songs. The drum solo in the middle of this one is less Tony Williams than more standard Buddy Rich. (13.5/15)

5. "Round A'bout Nine" (6:36) opens with some effected solo electric bass play from Peter Krijnen that reminds me of a cross between The Velvet Underground and Michael Hedges. The other band members proceed to add their incidental inputs as if they were throwing objects (and jets of water) at a tethered dog from outside the circle of its reach with the intention of provoking some kind of response. Interesting with some actually nice bass play from Peter, but the rest is a little too loose and, when not, Emergency!-like. (8.66667/10)

6. "Jazzper" (3:56) rhythmically this feels as if the band is trying for some kind of Latin-rhythm base but there is something not hitting. Toto's melodic play coupled with Jasper's Herbie Hancock-like electric piano play over some nice and creative Ron Carter-like jazz bass play is rather impressive--and enjoyable. Heck! They're all impressive! They're all very loose and creative feeling: as if they have a well-rehearsed and broad band of skills and chops to choose from as they improvise their way through their songs. (9.5/10)

Total time: 34:46

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of very skillful and (mostly) pleasantly melodic jazz-rock fusion. Highly recommended for any J-RF fans.

Report this review (#3052372)
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2024 | Review Permalink

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