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SPEED LIMIT

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Speed Limit biography
A jazz-rock quintet formed around MAGMA alumni Sheffer, Dugrenot and Top, Speed Limit recorded two albums in the middle of the 70's, the first being closer to Bitches Brew, Body Electric (Weather Report) and Elastic Rock (Nucleus) than Upon The Wings Of Music (Ponty), Elegant Gypsy (DiMeola) and Metheny's Offramp. The second is much more adventurous, mixing early XXth Century classical composers to their proggier sound and adding up a string quartet Their music was never far away from experimental or dissonant music, obviously veered a bit on Zeuhl grounds as well. While Speed Limit wouldn't break new grounds, they had some ambitious tracks, like the sidelong Pastoral Idyl on their second album, which is clearly the group's most outstanding achievement. By the end of the 70's Speed Limit was already forgotten by most of the public and the musicians had turned to other projects.

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



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Magma-linked



Discography:
Speed Limit (75)
II (76)

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Unchained / ProphecyUnchained / Prophecy
Import
Pure Steel Records 2011
Audio CD$10.55
$32.96 (used)
Going Nowhere FastGoing Nowhere Fast
J T Records 1999
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$2.94 (used)
MoneyshotMoneyshot
Import
Pure Steel Records 2010
Audio CD$9.00
$4.97 (used)
Loud Fast FunLoud Fast Fun
CD Baby 2010
Audio CD$11.43
$32.96 (used)
Speed Limit SecondSpeed Limit Second
Import
Imports 2008
Audio CD$35.99
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SPEED LIMIT discography


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

SPEED LIMIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 8 ratings
Speed Limit
1975
3.48 | 6 ratings
Speed Limit II
1976

SPEED LIMIT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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SPEED LIMIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Speed Limit by SPEED LIMIT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Speed Limit
Speed Limit Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Speed Limit were a short-lived French Jazz-Rock band, based in Paris and led by Hungarian drummer George Jinda and featuring an all star-line-up,including Magma fellows Joel Dugrenot (bass) and Yochk'o Seffer (wind instruments) along with Gerard Curbillon on guitars and Jean-Louis Bucchi (electric piano).This quintet recorded and released the band's eponymous debut in 1975 on Le Chant du Monde.

''Speed limit'' is the definition of improvisational Jazz-Rock with no other particular aim than the abstract interplays and the long solos by the band members.And while the album contains some nice grooves and big breaks with dominant instrumentation,they all fall soon into a soloing labyrinth with endless minutes of free virtuosity.The individual performances are expected to be good,regarding the musicians participating and so it is: Melodic sax lines by Seffer,deep bass work by Dugrenot and atmospheric electric piano parts by Bucchi.But when it all comes to a compositional term,the album is really muddy with very long solos,which get the listener tired along the way, and a work far from being coherent and tight.

''Speed limit'' ends up to be a rather boring effort and definitely not represantative at all of these musicians' talent.I can only recommend this album to die-hard fans of Free Jazz music,who dont mind the countless minutes of improvisation in an album.

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 Speed Limit II by SPEED LIMIT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Speed Limit II
Speed Limit Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On their first album Seffer composed side one and Bucchi side two. Here it's the other way around (just to be fair I suppose) although the final song on side one was composed by Janick Top. Janick Top replaces Joe Dugrenot on bass from the first album as the major change, although the lead guitarist from the debut is gone and not replaced unfortunately, as his playing was a highlight for me from that record. There is a string section as well on this one and another big change from the debut are the prominant vocal melodies. I swear that it's a female singing but as Hugues mentions the only vocals credited are to 4 of the 5 male players.

"Breeze Borealis" opens with flute as vocal melodies come in. Bass, drums and piano create the melody as sax arrives 2 1/2 minutes in. Great sound,especially Top's deep bass lines. The vocal melodies get theatrical (crazy) before 5 minutes. "A Run Around The Block" renminds me of the debut as it is more jazzy and uptempo with Seffer leading the way. "Jettatura" really has it's focus on the vocal melodies and flute early. Nice bass 1 1/2 minutes in as sax comes in. This is a cool relaxing tune with a groove. Vocal melodies with flute end it. "Good Night Little Bear" is a short song with piano melodies throughout.

"African Dance No.3" is the Janick Top song and my least favourite. It sounds like an ethnic tune of some sort with chanting. "Pastoral Idyl Part I" opens with strings that sound like background music from an old TV show.Thankfully it changes 1 1/2 minutes in as the strings stop and the bass takes over. "Lemon Tree" has a jazzy bass / drum intro as sax comes in. Piano after 2 minutes. Nice sax work after 4 minutes. I like this one a lot and it reminds me of their debut. "Reaching The Stars" features more strings with vocal melodies before 2 1/2 minutes. "To The Girl Of The Moon" has more strings as vocal melodies again join in, but this time they are more theatrical. "Pastoral Idyl Part II" opens with strings but changes to a Zeuhlish melody as deep bass and vocal melodies take over. Sax and piano come in. This sounds much better than the strings, although the strings are back to end the song.

I'm in the minority but I do prefer the debut.The jazzy melodies dominate on that one plus I love the guitar. This one is much more adventerous with more variety though. I'm just not big on the orchestration and operatic vocals. The passages I usually really like remind me of the debut. A matter of taste I suppose.

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 Speed Limit by SPEED LIMIT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Speed Limit
Speed Limit Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I certainly am biased towards this style of music. These guys are pros though and having Seffer involved is a bonus for me. He actually composed the first 3 tracks while piano player extraordinaire Jean-Louis Bucchi composed the final 3 songs. What I love about this music is listening to the different sounds all mesh together so perfectly. And while the sax and piano play stand out the most, my favourite parts are when the angular guitar comes in on the two longer songs.This is an all instrumental album by the way.

"Sleep Walker" is the longest track at over 11 minutes.The drums and percussion lead the way early. Sax and piano join in the fray to create an excellent melody. The guitar and bass then arrive to make this a joy. All these intricate sounds are such a pleasure to listen to. The angular guitar starts to become prominant, making some beautiful noise after 3 minutes. "Pava" opens with cymbals before sax, drums and piano come in quickly.The piano leads the way early. It gets a little sombre before 3 minutes as Seffer plays his alto sax slowly. Actually there's not much of a melody at this point.

"Abra" opens with some nice drumming followed by some dissonant sax. The tempo starts to pick up and the drumming is great. It changes 2 minutes in to a more jazzy sound as the bass comes in. "Spanish Dream" features sax, piano and bass with not much in the way of a melody until before 3 minutes.That's when the drums and angular guitar come in with percussion, making the rest of this song my favourite on the album. I could listen to him play his guitar all day long. Sax takes over for the guitar before 7 minutes. "Ballad To Laura Antonelli" is 6 1/2 minutes of laid back sax and piano play that drifts along pleasantly. "Ducky" is more uptempo with piano, bass, percussion and drums leading the way early. Sax a minute in as Seffer takes the lead the rest of the way.

It's easy to recommend this amazing Jazz music from France.

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 Speed Limit II by SPEED LIMIT album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.48 | 6 ratings

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Speed Limit II
Speed Limit Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars SL's second album came roughly a year later than the debut, by which time the band found a major label (RCA) and changed bassist, enrolling Magma alumni Janik Top, but lost their guitarist as well (not replaced). With a stunning artwork from Sheffer himself, the group is more ambitious, even using a string section on and some intriguing vocals.

The opening track Time's Tune (a 15 minutes 4-part epic) has a real superb crescendoing start where Sheffer's winds and Bucchi's electric piano plunge into a torrid fusion of molten rock, disaggregating jazz, wild female howlings for its opening movement Breese. The band gets even hotter and quicker with run around The Block, where Coltrane's more transcendental (past 65) music is obviously the influence. The third movement heads back to the Breese mainly through the aerial vocalizing (they seem female, but none other than the core male musicians are credited with vocals), while the track goes out on a Bucchi (he wrote the whole track) piano piece. As for the JT-penned African Dance, the music is more of the Saharan kind than tropical Black Africa, and honestly I'd prefer hearing the real stuff than having SL wasting 4 minutes of precious vinyl time.

The flipside is occupied by an ambitious 20 minutes Sheffer-penned Pastoral Idyl, separated into 5 movements and using a string section, which happens to introduce the track. While the use of the string quintet is in itself adventurous, I find that Sheffer put the strings at use that well. When they intervene, they seem to weigh tons, drag their feet screechingly and often border the dissonant. The second movement Lemon Tree is a fast piano-driven improve where Sheffer and Bucchi clash forces and end up with a strong pressed lemon juice. As for the vocal section it is a weird almost opera voice. The track goes on a bit bizarrely, the whole thing remaining rather dry, borrowed and (dare I say it?) academic.

While their second album is somewhat superior to the debut, both are extremely valid jazz-rock, but not bringing much new (even counting the Pastoral Idyl) by the time of their releases. BTW, I hear the Belle label incremented the tracks with the movements rather than the tracks on their Cd mini-Lp reissue, so don't be surprised to find 10 increments where even the special Japanese insert announces only the three original ones. Despite such a strange screw-up, SL 2 is a more an accomplished album, so if interested, start with that second album.

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 Speed Limit by SPEED LIMIT album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Speed Limit
Speed Limit Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 starts really!!!

Speed Limit's debut album is a very interesting collaboration between ex-Magma and ex-Zao Seffer and Bucchi (the other pillar of this group along with bassist Dugrenot), and musically it sounds like a cross between good early 70's jazz-rock (Soft Machine and Nucleus style) and Zeuhl music (more Zao than Magma). Graced with a double-headed parakeet paper collage for artwork, the album takes us into deep early jazz-rock ala Miles or Nucleus, where Bucchi's electric piano gets its share of exposition.

Starting on the 11-mins torrid fusion of Sleep Walker, SL is certainly not going faster than the speed of light, but Seffer's sax intervention drives the group red hot into the groove they chose, while Curbillon's guitar remains mainly rhythmic. The much shorter Pava is a slower builder but manages the same red-hot intensity. The even shorter Abra is more or less full on weird noises that simulates a newborn giggles and groans coming from Seffer's sax squeals and percussions, providing a bit of humour.

A squealy sax opens the flipside and the first few times, you'll check your stylus for dirt and clean the vinyl uselessly, but it's all part of the track's deliria and drama of Spanish Dream. Fundamentally, there aren't many differences between Seffer's material and Bucchi's, they're both fairly similar, stuck somewhere between Bitches Brew, Nucleus and mid-Soft Machine. The following Ballad is a bit of a bore, never getting past the late night or pre-dawn jazz noodlings. Fortunately the closing Ducky recuperates the same superb intensity present throughout most of the album.

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Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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