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X-LEGGED SALLY

RIO/Avant-Prog • Belgium


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X-Legged Sally biography
This group is yet another typically Belgian chamber prog - a term I created, but by listening closely to all of those groups I encompass under this name, it will be so clear to see where I am getting at - although it is up in the higher energy level. Sometimes referred as Cross-Legged Sally (I never got confirmation that it was a wink to Tull's Cross-Eyed Mary, even if I encountered sarcastic smiles)

The leader is guitarist Pierre Vervloesem (who has lead a solo career also) and Peter Vermeersh (winds) and Vandenberghe (keyboards) etc. Somehow, these guys have an indescribable sound (Zappa is obviously their inspiration) that I can only define by naming some similar groups such as Miriodor, Alamailman Vasarat, Present, Hoyry Koyne, and the like, but also (albeit more subtly) King Crimson and Magma. Their debut Slow Up was produced by Bill Laswell and is a superb start (there was an earlier record that was a collaboration with Brazilian Charo Calvo) and was released on the NY's Knitting Factory label. The two leaders also produced Belgium's best export act dEUS (see their entry in out beloved Archives)

In their relatively long discography, their best albums are Killed By Charity and the Land Of The Giant Dwarves, but almost all of their albums are a fitting intro to this bunch of musical loonies. Their last album (they seem to have broken up by 97) was a collaboration with a string quartet, but it was only partly convincing and a fair departure of their usual style. "Style" is a big word as these guys broad-brushed through every single style of music and still managed to sound like themselves, but this was ranging from funk to ballet music to choreographed dance music. So the least we can say is that X-L S's discography is confusing, but never boring or dull.

In 98, the group broke up out of exhaustion (they released as a testament the live Fired album), and half the members went on to form A Group (poppier but similar-sounding) and later The Flat Earth Society (an energetic big band of 16). All of these groups shared that typical Belgian specialty (although Zappa and Beefheart were their godfathers): humour in music.


:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
One of the greatest Belgian group of the 90's


Discography:
X-Legged Sally & Charo Calvo - Immer Das Selbe Gelogen - 1991
Slow-Up - 1992
Killed By Charity...
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Buy X-LEGGED SALLY Music


Land of the Giant DwarvesLand of the Giant Dwarves
Knitting Factory 1996
Audio CD$188.10
$62.99 (used)
Killed By CharityKilled By Charity
Sub Rosa 1993
Audio CD$109.99 (used)
Slow UpSlow Up
Sub Rosa 1995
Audio CD$936.99
$79.99 (used)
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X-LEGGED SALLY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

X-LEGGED SALLY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 7 ratings
Slow-Up
1991
3.22 | 8 ratings
Killed By Charity
1993
4.00 | 10 ratings
Eggs And Ashes
1994
4.09 | 14 ratings
The Land Of The Giant Dwarfs
1996
4.00 | 6 ratings
Bereft Of A Blissful Union
1997

X-LEGGED SALLY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 6 ratings
Fired
1996

X-LEGGED SALLY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

X-LEGGED SALLY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

X-LEGGED SALLY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

X-LEGGED SALLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bereft Of A Blissful Union  by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Bereft Of A Blissful Union
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars If Fired was an album marked by a Frank Zappa stamp, Bereft of a Blissful Union could be one testifying of the musical depth and ambition of the band. Conceived for choreography and worked in collaboration with The British Smith string quartet, it clearly shows that there is no musical place where Sally can't cross its legs; contemporary classical (many tracks knit on measure for the Smith Quartet, deploying all their ability, a piece written by Schubert), jazz in various forms (here, the 24 minutes long track two is a killer; several stylistic bits are taken out of their time context and mixed together, like for example dixieland clarinets wailing on top of syncopated jazz-rock rhythmic lines, half tribal drumming giving place to 19th century classical dance hall music, cabaret jazz meets free, Latin percussions dance with strings, sampled New Orleans banjo pave the way to a howling sax in an orgy of rhythms, Broadway against Afro, etc... a true and genial melting pot!), music for thrillers (appearing quickly somewhere like a survolted ghost) and more yet! Changes happen at lightning speed and your brain comes to stock tons of brief information, until some classical pieces are brought in as release to the tensions. Nothing's left to hazard, everything is tightly conceived and programmed, despites the feeling of chaos and panic. Vermeersch in a nutshell!

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 Fired by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Live, 1996
3.77 | 6 ratings

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Fired
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars So this is the swan song of X-Legged Sally! The last time we can realize how good the Vermeersch-Vervloesem association was. Sally would later be sent to a Flat Earth Society without Pierre and both men would each in their corner keep writing great music! Fired is a live recording and on several points a reminder of how close to Zappa's universe the music was; first, the radio program broadcasting the concert was called Cucamonga; secondly, the orchestral mass smells like many instrumental Zappa recordings, same thinking about dynamics and harmonies; third, there is even time for a tribute with the integration of the tune "City of Tiny Lites". But where Zappa's music favours a groovy flow (even complex ones), X-Legged Sallly really shines out in digging in depth intricate broken cross- rhythms, angular melodic lines and subtle humoristic twists (where Zappa's musical humour is more a cream pie straight on your face, like in silent movies). X-Legged Sally is full of resources and not all albums are that much Zappaesque; Fired is maybe THE album closest to Zappa's music; it is also an incredible energetic album played at full speed and giving you all for your money! So bye and long live X-Legged Sally!

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 Fired by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Live, 1996
3.77 | 6 ratings

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Fired
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by fungusucantkill

5 stars This is an excellent album. I own this and Killed by Charity. This is the better of the two by far IMO. The whole album has a live feel (no pun). From the first track i knew this was a band i wanted to see live. Their presence was felt, and their music was great. They have their horn melodies that are pretty much flawless. Unison parts played with ease. This album was an excellent one. From Zippo Raid to F%&# and Coffee, Xls is sure to please any avant garde fan. a must have.

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 Killed By Charity  by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.22 | 8 ratings

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Killed By Charity
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars As the title of this record, this might just be the album of excess, both artistically and in term of virtuosity. This unit always made a point of good musicianship and usually make a point of putting humour in their records, but here, outside the album title, I must say that this is not quite as enjoyable as the rest of their discography.

Vermeersch compositions are definitely a tad too obtuse for the average fan even if the habitual lunacy is still there it is more of a demented nature rather than fun. There are times (during the Break Too track most notably) when Monderlaer's singing is not too far from Crimson's Adrian Belew circa the Discipline album, and Vervloesem's guitar resembles the one in the same album's Elephant Talk. The second last track It's A Baby is the highlight of the album mostly because it is more accessible.

Not that this album, is not a typical X-L S album, far from it, but it is simply a bit off balance compared to previous Slow-Up or the following Land Of The Giant Dwarfs. Still highly impressive, but one gets the feeling that impressing you was their main idea on this album. They should've worried a bit more of the musical enjoyment a tad more. Maybe they just tried too hard to make a good record. They will be more successful by being more natural.

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 Eggs And Ashes  by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Eggs And Ashes
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars This album is mostly music accumulated from different projects (three apparently) that X-L S participated in. As most of the Belgian chamber prog groups have, they often were linked to multi-phase artistic projects and this made them fairly widely known in Belgium, even if this did not really helped them making a breakthrough. In this case, we deal with tracks that were written for short films of friend Wim Vandekeybus dating from 91 (Immer Das Selbe Gelogen), 93 (Her Body Doesn't fit her Soul) and 94(mountains made Of Barking). Needless to say that hardly none ever saw these movies outside of the opening screening events.

This mixing of the tracks outside their sequences and sometimes away from other tracks of the movies they belong to is somewhat a strange manner, but I programmed my deck to play the tracks as they were chronologically were recorded, there was not much difference. One thing for sure is that none of those tracks sticks out like a sore thumb, as could be feared with a such perilous gamble, and actually the whole ensemble of them make a very good album, maybe their better after Giant Dwarfs. If you heard the other X-L S albums, you will be categorically enthused by this one as it is right up their normal usual style, completely nuts, insanely crazy and absolutely impressive both in inventivity and virtuosity. Again, many parallels can be found in Quebecois groups like Miriodor, Interference Sardines and Rouge Ciel but also Swedish groups like a weird cross of Qoph, Von Zamla and Ensemble Nimbus, Finns such as Hoyry Koyne , Uzva and Alamaailman Vasarat or fellow Belgians Cro-Magnon,

Opening track sung in German (as are a lot of the tracks here) and close to German Cabaret music mixed insanely with almost acoustic hardcore punk is quite a stunner, while its follow-up is a cross of Talking Heads meeting Miriodor. Midwave is the first real highlight (but what is a highlight in such a bright album anyway) and its superb groove enthralling you to oblivion until the track fades out in total chaos, awaiting for its slow death until the bass is re-awakening from stupor and bringing right back into hell. Bigots beware, these guys are musically evil!!!! Vade Retro Deus!! In the dark ages these guys would've been purified on a bonfire for using so many crazy scales, notes and dissonance. Turkish Bath has evident eastern influences, Sparadrap being maybe the low point on the album for being a little too demonstrative and I am afraid it is at the track's expense. The closer Mask with its 17 min+ is a bellyful of peppers but much worth the successful digestion for future musical orgasms. Sounds intriguing? I certainly hope so!!!!

Even though this is maybe not an album per se since it is a compilation of three different sessions, the resulting object is pretty successful as an entity and is an excellent if not a textbook case of the typical album you might find in the RIO/Avant-prog section of the Archives.

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 The Land Of The Giant Dwarfs  by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.09 | 14 ratings

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The Land Of The Giant Dwarfs
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!!

How to talk fittingly of the craziest album X-L S ever made? With their fourth album (fifth if you count the shared album of 91), X-L S reached their pinnacle (and IMHO, this is one of the top ten records to have come out of Belgium) and they will never find out how to top this album. Already, the bar was set rather high with the previous Eggs And Ashes, but here another level was easily reached. Can you imagine Miriodor and Interference Sardines with twice as many musos and allowed to sing whenever they wish (which is not often, but always dutifully chosen at appropriate moments) and constantly aim towards Zappa humour and songwriting? If yes, you must be completely insane and might just be ready for such a flabbergasting album.

Whether the concept of this album is a concept or not, you will be confronted by the main character's, Yesbody, adventures and some rather hilarious sexual education bits (such as inciting women to take up ownership of their clitoris ;-)o) along with fabulous musical landscapes that pushes back Capt Beefheart to his crib and sees eye-to-eye Monsieur Zappa. From the very first burping sounds leading into some familiar national anthem, to the very last notes of the jazzy outro - which is actually the intro of Yesbody's exploits-, we are facing an incredible journey that knows no bound in sanity or any other artistic/musical means. Can you think of someone crazy enough to write a track called Mono Dolby? X-L S does it!!! Although we are clearly in the rock domain and although you can feel these guys are jazz musos that have been classically trained, the whole album is clearly a GAS from start to finish.

Need I say more as a mean of closing remarks???

I think not!!!!!!!!!!!

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 Bereft Of A Blissful Union  by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Bereft Of A Blissful Union
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars This album is the music developed for a ballet or choreographed modern dance, written for the most part by leader Vermeersch but recorded with the help of British String Smith Quartet. Again, if you know this crazy Sally, you will know you are in for a gigantic roller-coaster ride, and in this case I believe the live shows must've been worth the price of the entrance to the hall, since it appears that part of the dancing happened under water and without breathing apparatus.

The album is book-ended by two classical pieces (the closing one being particularly interesting), but clearly the show's centrepiece is the 24 min Brungle, that comes complete with complete madness, a superb horn arrangements, exciting strings and wild drumming: stupendous. The other major track is the 10 min+ Birdcage starting out as a wild but controlled modern classical music. Another climax is the only sung track Out Of The Pit. Der doppelganger is a rearrangement of a Schubert piece.

This album is the last one to have come out under the X-L S name, but this is a fantastic exit for an extraordinary group. Very worthy and yet another superb chamber prog album.

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 Fired by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Live, 1996
3.77 | 6 ratings

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Fired
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Released as a musical testament, this recording dates from April 20th, 96 (the Cactusclub in Bruges) and is an incredible witness of the live power of the group. This was recorded for a live Radio Een Programme Cucamonga broadcast, which explains the excellent sound quality and the seriously faded out public applauses.

Still with an absurd humour (look at the sleeve upside down, it makes much more sense), the group goes through their whole career with an amazing five tracks from their debut album (if you count the Charo Calvo collab) and even have time for a fitting Zappa tribute with the superb City Of Tiny Lites sung out by Mondelaers (his voice although not that memorable is sometimes all too rare). The other highlight being the Nullo problemo, a slow blues-up improv with an infectious groove. However the original eponymous track XLS I feel was much more interesting in its studio version, even if completely different on this record.

A fitting farewell from one of the craziest band around, even if the tracks selection is a bit odd, IMHO.

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 Slow-Up by X-LEGGED SALLY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.96 | 7 ratings

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Slow-Up
X-Legged Sally RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars This debut album was recorded in October 91 by Bill Laswell and the Knitting Factory in NY, but was only released for the opening of festivities of 93's Antwerp, European Cultural Capital that lasted a whole year. Apparently the Flemish regional government funded the project. Being mostly Peter Vermeersch and Pierre Vervloesem's group, the septet has an incredible sound, being mostly inspired by Zappa (and Beefheart), but clearly these guys listened to a wide array of music and the prog groups also. The inside group photo does show a girl named sally sitting cross-legged, you will never know if it was a spoof or not.

With its slow-beat but eccentric jazz opener the uninitiated proghead might just take the advice from the track title and push the FFWD, but this would be a serious mistake. Zippo Raid is a much more energetic track while the aptly-titled XLS - their eponymous track supposed to define them - raised the standards to such heights that Miriodor or Alamaailman Vasarat better be holding on to their seats, if they do not want to be taken by a storm. Among the other highlights are Blackhead BB with its sax orgies (were VDGG's Jackson was obviously an influence) underlined by Vervloesem's Zappa-esque guitars, Bacon & Eggs and Turkish Bath. In a much harder and funky way (in a Red Hot Chilly Peppers sense) Little hearts and Lacto B rock your heart out with a real virtuosity but staying away from the demonstration.

A stunning debut album (well the group members were no rookies, Plouvier hammering the keys since the early 80's), and the first of series of impressive records. X-L S is one of the seminal bands of Belgium's 90's scenes, and a must-hear-to-believe-it.

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Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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