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Phlox - Vali CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 10 ratings

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5 stars It's been a good year for fans of the wonderful Canterbury sound! We've had a terrific new album from some of the originators with Soft Machine Legacy's `Burdon of Proof', a winning collection of jazzy improvs and experimental fragments. But for my money, it's been the younger whipper- snappers that have taken the ideals of various Canterbury bands and added their own unique style to the mix to come up with some tremendously exciting modern interpretations of the sound. La Theorie Des Cordes double live album `Singes Electriques' took the manic quirkiness of Gong while adding their own touch of flair, flamboyance, and humour. This one, Phlox's live instrumental album `Vali', adds noisy and frantic energy to the ideas of Egg, National Health and The Soft Machine, and it's no surprise to find another candidate for one of the albums of the year.

The majority of the album is comprised of Canterbury styled jazz, frequently driven by glistening electric piano runs and rapid-fire varied drumming, but there's also plenty of gorgeous slinky bass, fiery electric guitar wailing and dazzling lively saxophone. The whole disc such delivers such an infectious upbeat sound that will really make you smile, but it also knows when to offer more emotional thoughtful passages as well as some wild unpredictablity. Some pieces include added 70's inspired extended fusion workouts and deeply psychedelic excursions. The band show they can slow things down beautifuly, incorpating some slightly uneasy moodiness in the lonely night- time piano spiralling of the opening minutes of `Hulge Hing', and some driving bluesy soloing and punchy drumming throughout `Paigalelend'. `Hunt' is all brisk and blustery noise with some deeply grooving relentless bass behind exhausting loopy wavering electronic experimentation. However, the smoky saxophone musings of `Kurehirm', truly the sound of lonely night-time city streets gradually turning more bent and dangerously unhinged as it progresses, is full of the same daring, experimental, dingy sonic explorations the Soft Machine quickly turned to, and is absolutely thrilling and only hints at the exciting directions the band can head to from here.

Fans of first-rate jazz/fusion and especially the Canterbury sound should look into this disc right away. A completely infectious album, I was on such a natural high hearing the energy and so much joy in the band's performance! It's also hugely satisfying to hear a band throw out the rulebook of a particular genre and mess around with it to take it in fresh and revealing new directions. `Vali' is easily in my top ten discs for 2013.

The inside of the digipack has an illustration of a bomb going off, and that couldn't be more appropriate. This one takes a fuse to unimaginative, stale clinical fusion albums and detonates right in their faces!

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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