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Passport - Infinity Machine CD (album) cover

INFINITY MACHINE

Passport

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not as good as "Looking Thru" but still a worthy item for your fusion collection. The songs are more funkier here than on "Looking Thru" (notably on "Ju-Ju-Man") but still jazzy and cool. Ok, a couple of weaker songs here but the rest is great. Too bad that Passport is a rather unknown band than it's fusion colleagues (Brand X, Weather Report, Gong etc.) cause they are a great band with highly skilled musicians.

Recommended. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#34662)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I agree with BJ on this. While not up to par with the previous 2 studio albums, Klaus still manages to come up with some great riffs. This was the swan-song of the classic lineup. Keeping up with the times, Klaus went borderline disco with "Ju-Ju man", but it's the title track that's a real blowout. It's like ELP meets Weather Report with Klaus's intense sax work and Kristian's distorted Hammond organ along with Curt's maniacal drumming and Wolgang's thunderous bass lines. Still recommended.

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Send comments to marktheshark (BETA) | Report this review (#34663)
Posted Friday, April 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars PASSPORT was at the height of their popularity in 1976, playing a blend of cosmopolitan fusion that owed little to the traditional Jazz-Rock style pioneered by MILES DAVIS or JOHN McLAUGHLIN. The music leaned more in an easy listening Prog-Jazz direction, with a silver lining of Space Rock and a healthy dose of boilerplate mid '70s Funk. It sounds like an awkward combination, but with this quartet of talent, led by the indefatigable saxophonist Klaus Doldinger, their music has stood the test of time surprisingly well.

The funkiness is front and center on the signature track here, the album opener "Ju-Ju-Man": one of those definitive 1970s dance hits, and likely familiar to even the most casual listener (although I doubt very many people recognized it at the time as coming from a German band). The brass fanfares, mock disco beat, and that crunchy clavinet sound, along with lively virtuoso solos on sax and synth, are almost guaranteed to make you twitch your sequined butt and tap your platform shoes.

But the song is something of a novelty, and doesn't really give a full account of the band's true range. Listen to the nervous, optimistic energy of "Morning Sun", or the romantic delicacy of "Blue Aurora", an all-too brief idyll before the unexpected electronic double-whammy of the two standout selections on the album: the title track and the aptly titled "Ostinato". The former is a balls-to-the-walls space jazz blowout with energy to spare; the latter is a lush, galloping synthesizer and sequencer-driven jam, ending in a spacey coda highlighting the world-class drumming of Curt Cress, who ranks up there with Bill Bruford at the top of the percussion pyramid.

The album ends with "Contemplation", an almost symphonic sounding chill-out with a name that speaks for itself.

Klaus Doldinger would continue to record as PASSPORT for decades to come, with a revolving door roster of backup musicians and in a variety of jazz-rock styles (including a vocalist at one point in the late '70s). But this album represented the end of a particularly fertile era for the band, marked by the last appearance of that striking Wandrey's Studio cover art. It's a strong album, still worth a listen after all these years; just don't judge them by "Ju-Ju-Man" alone.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#34664)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A nice album for this Germany band. Quite good arranjements, with a harmony sax and a very pretty guitar. All musics are very balanced and made a good audience in a fusion vein. Not much improvisations but the global context is very harmonic. I think that this band is quite unique. Not a spectacular jazz prog band like American fusion bands, but very good music in this stile, made in Europe. In Germany I think that is not usual fusion jazz bands. I like Passport because this band have quite good musicians, and they made a very good work in this style. If you like jazz fusion you like this work. Not spectacular but quite good and a good addiction in jazz progressive collection.

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Send comments to Joo Paulo (BETA) | Report this review (#213070)
Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars One year after the defining Cross-Collateral album, Passport lost their momentum again. Even with the same line-up, the dedicated songwriting of the predecessor is not repeated. Instead we get a couple of nice tracks mixed with forgettable light-fusion.

With Juju Man, Passport are back where they were two albums ago, creating pleasant but forgettable easy-listening fusion fit for air-play in bars and clubs. it's a funky Carribean tune that wouldn't be out of place on a 70s Bacardi rum commercial. Mourning Sun offers more wallpaper music for sound-tracks, but Blue Aura is a bit different, an attempt to re-create the moody Weather Report ambience of old. Not bad but rather dj entendu.

The title track is closer to what we want to hear. The splendid bass guitar dominates this heavily syncopated funk track. Doldinger's sax and Wolfgang Schmid's organ spin some improvisations around the intense rhythms. Ostinato returns to a more laid-back dub rhythms, with a catchy main bass loop and a mellow spacey arrangement that builds up nicely towards the end. Did I already mention Ozric Tentacles in this review? Contemplation is a clich soft-jazz tune for 70s porn-flicks.

With Infinity Machine Passport gets very close to falling apart entirely, but there's still some traces of their potential. The final collapse would follow on the next and following albums, which all rate about 1 stars at best.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#311368)
Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

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