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Dominique Vantomme for Jazz Rock/Fusion

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kurtrongey View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 02 2018 at 11:36
Another possibility might (but probably not) be Canterbury Scene.

Dominique Vantomme's album Vegir from earlier this year is a strong instrumental prog outing with Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) and Michel Delville (The Wrong Object) featured on all tracks. In fact this album spotlights Levin as prominently as just about any other project he's been involved with.

The entire album and a bonus track can be heard on Bandcamp -

This is the album trailer which gives a good sampling of the album's style.

1. Double Down 07:36
2. Equal Minds 10:19
3. Sizzurp 10:45
4. Playing Chess With Barney Rubble 09:04
5. The Self Licking Ice-cream Cone 13:08 
6. Plutocracy 04:38
7. Agent Orange 09:46 
8. Emmetropia 09:00
9. Odin's Wig 01:54 

MoonJune Records
released January 5, 2018

DOMINIQUE VANTOMME: Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Piano, Mini Moog, Mellotron 
MICHEL DELVILLE: Electric Guitar 
TONY LEVIN: Bass Guitar, Chapman Stick 

Here's a review of Vegir I wrote - 

"Vantomme, Delville, Levin, Lenssens - Vegir

In the old days, jazz artists would connect and commit to a session, putting together charts that played to the strength of the individual musicians and lay down an album in a day or two with a minimum of rehearsal. Although Vegir is in firm rock territory, this album very much comes out of that tradition.

The line-up here is perfect - four expert players (three Belgians and an American) who know how to exploit a groove. Belgian polymath Dominique Vantomme himself, as MoonJune describes it in their promotional blurb, is a composer, performer, producer and educator. He is the visionary of the session but doesn't eclipse the other players with any kind of histrionics. His morph-timbred Rhodes solos are mostly measured and thoughtful. Other times, rather than comping, he opts for an atmospheric drone of some sort to provide a blanket of continuity. Guitarist Michel Delville of The Wrong Object generally keeps a somewhat thin and unobtrusive tone that's more wash than shred, even in solos, where he sometimes elevates things to a buzzsaw squeal. Drummer Maxime Lenssens, who has served on tour dates with Gordon Haskell and Chris Whitley among others, handles this open-ended session admirably with a distinct lack of awkwardness despite the looseness of the song structures. And then there's the most familiar name on the session, Tony Levin, who really seems to connect with Vantomme's material and provides his unmistakable sonic signature doing what he does best with sensitivity and enthusiasm.

Vantomme made the best of an opportunity and turned an undoubtedly time-crunched session into a worthwhile album of post-Bitches Brew prog-fusion atmospheres. An inevitable Canterbury flavor can't be avoided, especially when you start combining an odd-time Fender Rhodes rave-up with titles like "The Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone." 

"Double Down" sets the tone for the album with a chill single-note electric piano riff. The band elevates it to an expansive jam.

"Equal Minds" features a leisurely and somewhat sentimental hook melody right at the beginning. Levin responds with the intimately lyrical mode he assumed in the quiet parts of King Crimson tunes such as "VROOOM" and "Frakctured."  The solo section operates over a langorous, nocturnal three-chord change.

"Sizzurp" presents an alien synth melody contrasted with a down and dirty blues riff and ring modulated Rhodes. Later in the jam, Levin holds down a descending line that loops itself like a barber-shop pole.

"Playing Chess with Barney Rubble," after a Levin-led riff at the head, contains the album's most affecting music - a piano interlude in a somber rhythm that builds beautifully into an elevating chord change with a particularly moving Rhodes solo by Vantomme. After a major climax, they transition gracefully back to the head riff and Delville creates some guitar mayhem in his solo. The ride-out features Levin's playful, light tapping over a double-stroke groove by Lenssens.

The album's longest track at thirteen minutes, "The Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone," is built on a circling chord change by Vantomme over a moderato 7/4 groove. It's probably the session's most retro moment. To follow, Delville keeps the septuple pulse going to introduce a very spacious mid-section in which he again gets the spotlight. His soloing approach here is Zappa-esque, but with a wiry guitar tone perhaps reminiscent of Daryl Stuermer.

Things get political with "Plutocracy," a shorter track with a more amorphous form and "Agent Orange," which follows up an enigmatic Chapman stick soliloquy with caustic phrygian-mode music unironically reflecting the title.

"Emmetropia" presents a mellow relief from the previous track. Delville's ticking pulse frames a laid-back chord progression from Vantomme and Levin. A free episode leads to something more sinister with low mono-synth echoing the earlier space alien menace of "Sizzurp."

Bandcamp offers up a bonus track, the very brief "Odin's Wig."

Overall, Vegir is very relaxed. Those with a taste for busy-ness could get impatient with the stretches of riff and space jams. The first two-thirds of the album come across as the most well-developed and things loosen up somewhat after that.

Vegir captures a group of strong musical personalities in a very fruitful collaborative mode. Fans of King Crimson, Soft Machine and electric Miles are likely to settle right into this music."

Edited by kurtrongey - May 02 2018 at 11:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 02 2018 at 12:20
^Thanks, we'll check it out.
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