265

Flat Earth Society: Psychoscout

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Sit up and listen. Flat Earth Society is a big band with the integrity of a magpie, in the sense that it goes for the shiniest elements of a cultural outlook that takes in a kind of homage to Kurt Weill, incidental music for old TV detective series, and perhaps a touch of Henry Cow at its most formal. All that makes for listening that could have you laughing out loud or wondering happily over the sheer bravura of it all.

Catch an earful of "Clusterthing," featuring a riff ponderous enough to make a stampede of elephants seem fleet of foot by comparison, and traces of such formidable complexity that they should only be listened to whilst grinning maniacally. You might just find your outlook on life is transformed in an entirely positive way. By comparison, "Hilton's Heaven" is an exercise in dark restraint in which deft keyboard touches serve notice of how this band has mastered colour, shedding some light upon the twilit ambience; Roland Vancampennout's vocal sounds like a Belgian J.J. Cale.

When it comes down to it, this is a big band whose music effectively sidesteps the common discussion of the respective merits of sections and soloists. That said, Marc Meeuwissen's trombone on the title track is an embodiment of the bawdy, whilst Bruno Vansina's baritone sax on the oddly named "Lax" blows up the kind of vertiginous storm that's likely to have those of nervous disposition running for cover.

Even greater credit must go to clarinettist Peter Vermeersch and keyboardist Peter Vandenberghe, however, as their compositions make up the programme on Psychoscout—and only rarely in recent times has such coherence between compositional framework and musicianship been acheived. To call it "Ellingtonian" might be both apt and unhelpful, but it doesn't alter the fact that this disc ought to be figuring in those end of year lists, if there's any justice in the world.

Track Listing: Anthem 2004; Clusterthing; Gulls & Buoys; Edward, Why Don't You Play Some Blues; Hilton's Heaven; In Between Rivers; Psychoscout; Lie To Me; Without; Snaggletooth; Lax; Waterman; Ich, Bin, George.

Personnel: Peter Vermeersch: composer, clarinet; Tom Wouters: clarinet, vibraphone; Benjamin Boutreur: alto saxophone; Michel Mast: tenor saxophone; Bruno Vansina: baritone saxophone; Luc van Lieshout: trumpet; Bart Maris: trumpet; Marc Meeuwissen: trombone; Stefaan Blancke: trombone; Berlinde Deman: tuba; Peter Vandenberghe: piano, keyboards; Wim Willaert: accordion, keyboards; Kristof Roseeuw: double bass; Teun Verbruggen: drums; Roland Vancampenhout: guitar (4), vocals (5).

Title: Psychoscout | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Crammed Discs

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Sneak Attack of the Sponges

Sneak Attack of the Sponges

Flat Earth Society
13

Psychoscout

Psychoscout

Flat Earth Society
Psychoscout

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Cheer Me, Perverts!

Cheer Me, Perverts!

Crammed Discs
2009

buy
Psychoscout

Psychoscout

Crammed Discs
2006

buy
13

13

Igloo Records
0

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun13Thu
Labtrio / Flat Earth Society
Rolf Liebermann Studio at NDR
Hamburg, Germany
€20
Jun14Fri
Labtrio / Flat Earth Society
Rolf Liebermann Studio at NDR
Hamburg, Germany
€20

Related Articles

Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019
Read Requiem for a New York Slice Album Reviews
Requiem for a New York Slice
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019
Read Trion Album Reviews
Trion
By Dan McClenaghan
April 22, 2019