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PANOPTICON

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Belgium


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PaNoPTiCoN biography
PaNoPTiCoN is an on stage only collective of musicians (from 5 up to 11 musicians playing all together) with a unique concept. Managed by Domenico Solazzo since April 2007, the heart of the project rests on complete improvisation with strong leanings towards some of the most famous electric jazz experiences like Weather Report's early recordings, Herbie Hancock's Crossings or Miles Davis's Bitches Brew. These assumed influences are ideal goals to be reached but the formula stays open to whatever anyone can bring, so you won't be surprised to hear touches of electronica, ambient, progressive, experimental, RIO, free jazz or even world music influences thrown in the mix.

In fact, every PaNoPTiCoN's performance is unique: the line-up changes from one date to another and there are no rehearsals planned whatsoever! The music emerges on stage and is to be discovered by the audience and the musicians themselves. This guarantees the freshness of the experience, always bringing new perspectives to light. From April 2007 to November 2008, PaNoPTiCoN made about twenty dates in many concert halls and cafés of Brussels. Each year is divided in two seasons: from January to June, from September to December.

The way it works: every recorded performance can be experienced IN FULL and FOR FREE on their official website! For people who aren?t able to download music or don't want to, every performance are also available on Cd, presented on a handmade papersleeve jacket. Also, a double Cd compilation has been released by end of 2008: it features fifteen of the most representative improvisations made by the band throughout their first three seasons, from 2007 to 2008.

Though the project was never intended to be a band so to speak, the opportunity came to record some stuff at famous Studio Molière (that's right, the one where Black Sabbath recorded their best album, Sabotage). So, Domenico Solazzo took the bet to bring his project in the studio in spring 2009. Three hours of improvised session were recorded.

As he does with their recorded performances, he worked on the material recorded in the studio by editing, mixing, cutting, pasting, overdubbing, mastering and finally producing what became Cycle. Released on August 2009, Cycle is PaNoPTiCoN's first studio recording on two distinct Cds. It displays two hours or so of wild improvisations from soothing atmosphere to trembling chaos.

It was the starting point to another series of live performa...
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PaNoPTiCoN official website

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PANOPTICON shows & tickets


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PANOPTICON discography


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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Cycle phase one : Dusk of the old world
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Cycle phase two : Dawn of the new world
2009

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

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Live @ DNA
2007
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Live @ Atelier 210
2007
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Live @ Zebra bar
2007
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Live @ Biberium
2007
3.95 | 2 ratings
Live @ Windows
2007
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Live @ Biouel Barge
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live @ De Kriekelaar
2008
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Live @ DNA ... Again !!!
2008
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Live @ L'Os A Moelle
2008
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Live @ La Cigogne
2008
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Live @ Garcia Lorca
2008
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Live @ L'Evasion Du 133A
2008
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Live @ L'An Vert
2008
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Live @ Nocturnes ULB
2008
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Live Solstice #01
2008
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Live Solstice #02
2008
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Live @ Roskam Cafe
2008
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Live @ Sazz N'Jazz
2008
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Revenge - Live @ Cafe Central
2009
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PaNoP3io + 1 - Live @ Atellier210
2009
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Night Sparkle - Live @ PP Cafe
2009
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PaNoP2uo + 2 - Live @ L'An Vert
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Backbone - Live @ L'Os a Moelle
2010
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Sound Palette - Live @ Coiffure Liliane
2010
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The Big Mess - Live @ Belvedere
2010
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Dots & Deeds - Live @ Point Jazz
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Summer Madness - Live @ Jazz Marathon
2010
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At The Four Corners of The World Volume 1 - Live @ Jazz Jette June
2010
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At The Four Corners of The World Volume 2 - Live @ Jazz Jette June
2010
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Live @ Bonnefooi
2010
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Live @ Passé Simple
2010
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On Air Live Radio Broadcast
2010
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Live with Strings
2010
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Live with Strings II
2010
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Live @ Magasin 4
2011
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Live @ Factory Studio
2011
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Live @ Théâtre Royal de Namur
2011
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Live @ Brass
2011
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Live @ El Negocito
2011
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Live @ LR
2011
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Live @ Le Périscope
2011
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Live @ La Tète d'Or
2011
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Still Alive @ L'An Vert
2011
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Live @ Le Fonograf
2011
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Live @ Chat-Pitre
2011
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Live @ Home
2012

PANOPTICON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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2007/2008
2008
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Catwalks
2010
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2009/2010
2011

PANOPTICON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

PANOPTICON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Backbone - Live @ L'Os a Moelle by PANOPTICON album cover Live, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Backbone - Live @ L'Os a Moelle
PaNoPTiCoN Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

If there ever a place that would typify the word "underground" in Brussels, L'Os à Moëlle (marrow bone) would be it; and not only because it is indeed underground, but you'd also never guess there is a club there as you have to drive between buildings in a narrow alley, go into what looks like a tool shed and take the stairs down to what looks like hell, since the major colour is red. This club does theatre, jazz concerts, experimental projects and visual arts exhibition in their premises, but tonight they feature Domenico's boys in PaNoPTiCoN for yet another concert, but this time, the first in a new decade, but not the first in this joint. Not many people that night, but that never discourage them, as they know the ones who are there didn't come by luck, but because they were mega interested in flying and soaring musically, despite never knowing in advance what will be coming to them.

A great semi-acoustic guitar (Wang's) starts over persistent whisperings (care of Dom's prepared soundscapes, but it soon went electric and soared with Vindesa's sax, before cooling down and cruising slowly In The arms of Sleep's first part. The female whispers give way a male litany of semi-rap sentences, but Dom's ballaphon intervenes in a motif that soon gets looped and strange frog calls give a tropical dawn feeling on Distant Shores. Sound of waves signal the end of that track, but we get some George Bush samples of stupidity opening the Promises And Lies track, where Catherine Smet's electric piano leads the pack especially Wang's wailing guitar and also the sax duo of Ourtie and Vindesa; Gates Of Beijing feature Chinese bamboo flutes and eastern percussions (most likely done on the ballaphon), with Catala's Pastorius-ian bass improvising. Sleepwalking part of Arms Of Sleep goes wildly improvised and veers very dissonant and free-jazz.

Domestic Violence starts on African rhythms and Catala's funky bass, but animals and human noises are sprinkled throughout the improv as well as electronic bending of W's ramblings (sounding like Daffy/Donald Duck) and violent female rants, which carry on in Catwalk where the two saxes solo away alternatively. Dom chose the gig's most sombre moment to dedicate it to his Guinea Pig that died that very night, and the funeral oration is very depressive, indeed. The long title track is the best part of the second set, lighting up a bit the mood. The gig finishes with the slow, soft and sombre Depression.

As with precedent gigs I've attended, my memories of that night are fairly different of what's present on this album. Solazzo obviously compiles, cuts, remixes and edits the recordings (getting rid of lengths or inaudible parts), thus shortening the two 50 minutes gigs to come up with a single disc, most likely dictated by his own memories of the night but I wonder how that changes or alters the mood/feeling of that night's performances.

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 Live @ Windows by PANOPTICON album cover Live, 2007
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Live @ Windows
PaNoPTiCoN Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars One of Brussel's best kept secret is the surprisingly strange Windows Club in a forgotten hideaway street, comprising of the back of the end of two XIXth century house, where you get to the stage by crossing ex-windows' openings, even if there are still two still existing. Generally a scene of Brussel's underground scene, the place is too discreet for its own good. PaNoPTiCoN's concert in late 07 there was only the sixth time in 20 years I've gone there, and it was as usual an interesting (and excellent) show Behind a fairly bland window artwork, the music recorded on this disc that night, is one of my faves from PaNoPTiCoN so far. I suspect that besides the permanent Domenico Solazzo (on drums, loops and programmation) and the fairly usual Antoine Guennet (keys) and Olivier Catala (bass), it is mostly the delicious Geraldine Clément's presence and delightful flute that has me convinced. Indeed, the flute is rare enough in PaNoPTiCoN's improvs that this gig might just make a difference, although she had to share the front stage with Lossignol's trumpet, while Fardelli's guitar remained mainly rhythmic.

That night's improvs was as usual, scarcely attended, but as always it allows for an intimacy between the players and its hardly-more-numerous audience (I am slightly exaggerating here, but making a point) and it worked quite well with the underground feel of the event. Indeed most of that night's improvisations remained in a Mwandishi and Vitous-era Weather Report mood that is always striking yours truly right in the bull's eye. The gig started on a slow Mise En Bouche (zakousky or appetizer in Anglais), where the rhythm stays quite calm to allow everyone to warm up and get into the gig, with the flute charming us. The following Critical Mass (For Complete Mess) is a slow crescendo, mostly dictated by Guennet's electric piano, but Clément's jazzy flute is just as cute as she is ? did I tell you I fell in love that night? Lossignol's trumpet did take over at the end, but the flute stepped in again for a slightly dissonant Heavy Eddie that started with no interruption (as often is the case). But then expanding in an all-out manic jam, just to die out naturally but surprisingly quick. Fardelli's tortured guitar strings open To Hell And Back, but Lossignol's smooth almost soothing trumpet contrast heavily with the atrocious death sounds delivered by Fardelli's guitar, while Guennet's Rhodes synths are supporting the weight of the improv's massive slow but crescendoing inertia. Wandering Souls is a quiet starting track that relies on a low guitar ostinato and electric piano layer with Solazzo's percussions completing the low and quiet picture, until Lossigbnol's sax goes into a solo, only accompanied by heavy guitar notes at first, but soon everyone has joined up

Indeed, that night's performance did blow most of the attendance and the windows of the joint, as the back cover artwork hints, it probably did the same to the club's interior windows. Unfortunately I think it was the last time Geraldine played with the project, so if my buddy Domenico wonders why I did not see PaNoPTiCoN for over a year, he might just get an idea if he lays his eyes on this baffling utterance.

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 Live @ De Kriekelaar by PANOPTICON album cover Live, 2008
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Live @ De Kriekelaar
PaNoPTiCoN Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

One Brussel's more amazing feat, culturally-speaking, is that the French majority culture is left penniless (letting imagination and innovation reign), while the Flemish minority crumbles under tons of subsidies. Generally the public doesn't give a damn about which community organizes the events, but in this case it happened to be a local Schaerbeek (Brussels) cultural centre, named after the sour cherries (gracing the back cover artwork) that grew there and used to make the famous Kriek beer. While PaNoPTiCoN played in the old building, most of the concerts I've seen there (Aranis, etc?) are in the new theatre at the back f the premises.

Soooooooo that night I was taking out a local standard-jazz singer lady friend (Liza Dee) for her to discover more energetic forms of jazz (and I needed her to hear to illustrate my type of music to make my point) and her first exposition to PaNoPTiCoN overjoyed her to the point that she managed to convince the guys in the band to make an encore with her on vocals. I think she surprised the band members with her adaptation to them with her aerial vocalizing (it seemed to click almost instantly), but unfortunately due to technical reasons, the recording went awry and was unsalvageable; therefore that part is not on this disc. What we're left is a more "normal" PaNoPTiCoN set - as if that existed, since it is always improvised. That night, Domenico chose the usual (or often-returning) Guennet on keys and Catala on bass, recalled Lossignol on trumpet, but Delgado's presence (on guitar) was the first time I got to hear him.

Playing in front of a small bunch of Uni students that night, PaNoPTiCoN must've wowed a few of them, because most stayed until the end, which is a feat, since that type of red-hot jazz-rock usually clears a room fairly quickly. The band sounded more like Miles Davis' formation circa Big Fun as On The Loose indicates, due in part to Lossignol's trumpet inspirations, while the aptly-titled Slaughterhouse 5 (fifth track on the disc) is definitely a free-jazz improv that then moves into gentler moments.

Among the stranger (or unusual for the group) tracks improvised that evening is the extremely quiet Narmada's Drift, which never lifted above ground zero, just playing ambient over Pierrot Delor's percussion and IMHO overstaying its welcome by a few minutes, even if it eventually morphs into a more incisive Breathe Deep, with Lossignol trying to cover up Domenico's overloud and unsubtle (just in the finale) drumming. Closing up the show, Dom's percussion leads again his crew into one final crescendo that is aptly titled Codex Chaos Control, which describes fairly well the music.

It's kind of funny that as I wrote this review (listening to the "album" in my living room) well over two years after seeing the given concert, the music on the disc doesn't stick much with the memories I have retained from that evening.

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 Summer Madness - Live @ Jazz Marathon by PANOPTICON album cover Live, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Summer Madness - Live @ Jazz Marathon
PaNoPTiCoN Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
4 stars Every year since the late 80's, the great city of Brussels organizes a Jazz Festival week end in late May, precisely on the Eurovision Song Contest event, to offer its inhabitants and visitors an alternatives to that execrable talentless TV horror, letting the people discover all kinds of music from the Swing-Jazz to Jazz-Rock (I remember seeing the great Time Design Quartet one year) to Free-Jazz, Latino and Bluesy-Jazz artistes - if memory serves, even Aka Moon played one or two years. First called the Jazz Rally, the event peaked in the early 90's with over 80 cafés and bars opened, plus some 10 open air podiums featuring music, some place having live music until well-past the middle of the night. After a legal dispute, the concept of the event was transferred to the local authorities, changing the name to the Jazz Marathon, and getting rid of the symbolic crocodile playing sax, replacing it with a walking contrabass. Many do regret the Rally days today, as the formula hasn't changed that much (it's even free nowadays), but the group selection is much wiser and now integrates all types of music as long as it is not experimental. This in turn led me to gradually disconnect from the event, sometimes not even going there, because of an uninteresting (for yours truly) programme.

This is where PaNoPTiCoN's participation to such an event is actually quite a welcome surprise, because it had been a while since the event ad such a public-terror-inducing formation, and surprisingly, it went down quite well for the group's two sets, with young drunken female providing interesting exhibitions of skin and postures. This gig is now graced with one of Domenico's most successful artwork ever, with the tree-and-pond under fireworks illustration. That night, the often returning Antoine Guenet was on keys, replying to Delville's guitar and Rewski's strange sax intervention, his one-legged stance providing some unwanted Tullian remarks amongst my two buddies present there. Playing such an open festival is definitely not an easy task, because the event is not reserved to dedicated fans that might have paid a ticket, therefore a lot or profane spectators happened to view and listened more or less intently to PaNoPTiCoN's blazing two sets. Like at the Os à Moelle gig, a lot of pre-set loops had an African edge, giving a voluntary reference to Hancock's Mwandishi formation, but if the group indeed first swayed in that direction, it digressed into a more hypnotic and rhythmic in Abroholo's Fields. The Mwandishi (meeting Coryell) feel returns slightly in Dark Pumpkins.

If that night's formation is obviously extremely concentrated at listening to their compadres, thus providing a well-needed tightness for a music genre that often oozes complacency and self-indulgence. It is not the case tonight, though, even if on occasion a member loses the thread, he finds again it rather quickly, but without precipitation. The group remained on solid ground that night, even if the occasional foray into dissonant territory happened. Starting on a near-tropical dawn insect-ridden soundscape, the Summer Maness title track, a sax emerges from the morning dew, soon evolving into a slight mid-eastern slant as if starting a cobra dance, with the rest of the band gradually increasing their role and intensity leading to a slow but ineluctable crescendo, before the afore-mentioned insects are making a comeback and slowing down the rhythm. .

As usual Domenico's ultra perfectionism led him to think this gig was catastrophic because of some sound-return problems, and he named the last part of the second set Rings of Urectum (why never Neptune??? ;o)))); but I'm sure his mind changed when he mastered the recording to its normal levels. That night's performance was one of the better that I've witnessed and will probably remain for me a very pleasant one in renewing with the Jazz Rally?..errhhh!!!.... Marathon.

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