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Wilding/Bonus - Pleasure Signals CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 21 ratings

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4 stars Wilding-Bonus refers to flautist Danny Wilding and guitarist Pete Bonus, the duo teaming up for their obscure one-off `Pleasure Signals' in 1978. A sleek jazz-fusion instrumental rocker that mostly favours tightly composed and punchier shorter pieces, it also boasts contributions from various members of Brand X in John Goodsall, Phil Collins and Robin Lumley, as well as other musicians associated with a diverse range of acts such as Can, Automatic Man, Traffic, Yes' Jon Anderson, Atomic Rooster, the Santana band and even players from the fondly remembered 1975 `Peter and the Wolf' concept album.

The guitars of infectious opener `Race for Space' dash between light jangling grooves and spacey shimmers that weave through horn blasts, exotic percussion, spiralling flute trills and tickles of Hammond organ that instantly calls to mind the early Santana albums, and `G. Storm' adds some driving guitar bite to the twirling flute sprints with an unexpected tropical/reggae-flecked break in the middle. `Odyssey' is a breezy theme with the most low-key of groovy bass, `Earth Hymn' is a softly melancholic piano/flute reflection that reveals a triumphant reprising theme with light symphonic bursts, and `Rampage' opens with whirring spacey synths before roaring to fiery life with scorching guitar wailing and thick punching bass in the finale.

Side two's brisk and funky `Theme From Alma' and `Son of Alma' present two interpretations of the one piece that sounds like...let's say `Charlies Angels in Space'?! The first crams in some surprisingly busy playing with nice bubbling synths and dreamy electric piano runs, then the band slow and strip it down for a more mellow take but still with peppy spots of ravishing flourishes. Melting electronics and twitching guitars throughout `Initiation Into the Nagual' are twisted into a strident horn-pumped funky strut, and `Ranchtown Tango' is a sprightly closer of softly whimsical dancing flute and almost countrified guitar licks that might remind some of the more cheerfully fun and foot-tapping moments off Caravan's `For Girls who Grow Plump in the Night'!

Some listeners may find this one all a bit too clean and polite, and it's not exactly the most ground- breaking or exploratory of fusion albums (nor is it quite as sexy as the cheeky cover art might suggest!), but if you'd like to hear a jazz-rock album full of sharp playing, impeccably executed instrumental moments, plenty of variety and one that never descends into drawn out pissing-contest solo showboating, then `Pleasure Signals' has much to recommend about it. Easy to return to, always highly melodic and slickly produced, this is a little forgotten curio from a bunch of great musicians that deserves to have a bit more attention brought back its way.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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