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(46:28, Fazzul Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Shortstories 4:43 2. Jean's 7 Nightmares 5:46 3. In Between 3:33 4. Kater Carlo 5:44 5. Deep Inside 9:35 6. Again 3:32 7. Skyline 6:15 8. Twenty-Six 6:05 9. A Bientot 1:14 LINEUP: Markus Stauss - saxophone Remy Strauli – drums; keyboards Jean Chaine – bass
Prolusion. Originally a US-based ensemble lead by Jean Chaine, the prehistory of ULTERIOR LUX as an act blending the approach and energy of punk, jazz and fusion during the ‘80s makes for an interesting read. With a less-than-well-documented release history, including several vinyl releases under different variations of the band name from the early ‘80s, just how many albums one can attribute to this band is uncertain. What is known is that "Adventures" from 1997 is their first studio effort, and that Ulterior Lux with this release explored a musical territory somewhat different from the material they are best known for.
Analysis. For a band described as blending punk and jazz and with a sax player described as a "wild man" in their midst, "Adventures" is a creation that holds surprising content. The often described experimental nature of this ensemble starting from their formative years is hard to come by this time around. In terms of style, jazz-rock is the name of the game on this occasion, with an emphasis on the former rather than latter part of this description. The compositions are sparsely populated constructions, with sax and bass the leading providers of themes and motifs. The former with the most dominant role, supplying melancholic, laid-back recurring themes with the same ease as wilder solo passages of a more frantic and energetic nature. The bass guitar underscores nicely, setting up the thematic foundation for the sax to play upon. Strauli supplies momentum with the drums and masters the groovy wandering jazz approach as easily as the pacier and more intense delivery needed for the harder hitting numbers that reside within the fusion universe. In addition, he sets up some neat electronic backdrops and subtle keyboard inserts, with the opening theme of the atmospheric and mood-laden Skyline as a good example of that part of his repertoire on this disc. But while the contents don't quite live up to the album name, as far as associations go, this trio of musicians are talented and capable men nonetheless. The less is more philosophy often utilized makes for a subtle approach in general, where it takes some care to absorb the various nuances to the proceedings. In particular as far as Stauss’ performance goes, those who care to listen should find many neat details in the saxophone workouts he sets up.
Conclusion. While "Adventures" may not be a title to be taken literally for this disc, it is still a more than competent journey into the jazz-dominated part of the fusion universe. And while the material might not be the most experimental or challenging around, it should be a nice addition to those who generally like this style, are fond of compositions with few instruments given ample room in the arrangements, and who have a true affection for creations led and dominated by the saxophone. As provided by top notch instrumentalists, one might add.
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