Les accents Canterbury décalés. La belle ambiance Rock In Opposition. Et puis je puise beaucoup dans le catalogue Cuneiform Records et Thinking Plague, je les connais ainsi depuis des lustres, fallait bien que je passe un peu à la caisse !
Founded in 1982 by Mike Johnson and the legendary Bob Drake, they have been a continuous presence in the underground since then, although many years have elapsed between recordings, and only Johnson remains from the original line-up.
When a band has gone 9 years between releases, I suppose it's fair to call this new release "greatly anticipated"! In Extremis includes leader/composer Mike Johnson, Bob Drake, Dave Kerman as well as a host of new names, all of whom turn in tremendous performances on vocals, guitars, multiple reeds, accordion, keyboards, bass, drums and more. Tuneful, well composed & strongly structured, this is very much in the vanguard of the RIO art-rock song style, along with peers such as U Totem, the 5uu's & the Art Bears.
“Rating: Aces/ hands down classic / Head-spinningly complex prog-rock of the highest order.
Among the vanguard of groups riding the crest of a largely unheralded contemporary avant-progressive tsunami, Denver’s Thinking Plague stand out in bas-relief....the manner in which Thinking Plague…have condensed only the most fertile (and often the most pulverizing) aspect of he last 30 years of progressive exploration into an nth-degree endgame is nothing short of awe-inspiring. On In Extremis… these unsung geniuses have channeled the crushing fury of King Crimson, the existential angst of the Art Bears, the dense contrapuntal irregularity of Henry Cow and the pitch-black angularity of Present into a disquieting concoction whose ceaseless paroxysms of unabated intensity are tempered only by “Les Etudes D’Organism"’s disturbed
diversion into perversely cheerful and structurally perverse circus music.… a relentless tide of head-spinning complexity…wildly shifting plates of sound. …for those who enjoy rising to the challenge…the feverish surfeit of spellbind ideas investigated here are almost without precedent.” - Eric Lumbleau, Alternative Press, v13, #126, Jan 1999
“If this is prog-rock, it’s progressive music with sharp teeth, making serious demands on most listeners.”– Jason Gross and Steve Smith,
“American Contraband: Alternative Rock and American Experimental Music,” New Music Box, Issue 15, v.2 #3, July 2000
released September 8, 1998
Mike Johnson - electric, acoustic, nylon string & 12-string guitars, lap-steel guitar, synthesizer, computer, sequencing
David Kerman - drums, percussion
Mark Harris - soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, clarinet, flute, bass clarinet
Deborah Perry - vocals
Dave Willey - bass guitar (on 1, 2, 5, 7), accordion
Shane Holte - piano and synthesizers (on 4, 5, 7), mellotron (7)
Bob Drake - bass guitar (on 3, 4, 5), violin (on 3, 4), voice (on 3) electric guitar, banjo (4)
Kirk Jameson - bass guitar ( 7)
Kim Marsh - piano & synthesizers (1, 2)
Sanjay Kumar - synthesizers (3)
Scott Braziel - piano & synthesizers (6)
Mark Fuller - drums (5)
Katie Cox - violins (5)
Mike Fitzmaurice - double bass & erhu (6)
Kirk Benjamin - trombone (4)
Produced and engineered by Mike Johnson and Bob Drake. Recorded 1992-1998.
Mixed by Bob Drake.
Elton Dean on list last (?) studio recording collaborating with the Belgian prog jazzers The Wrong Object.
What a pity they couldn't continue their common path!
As the formidable Mr MoonJune urges us to listen to the late great Elton Dean, blackmailing by offering this for one lousy buck, we should oblige, but please give a little more ;-)
Fans of Soft Machine / Soft Machine Legacy can't be disappointed by this bold statement! Carsten Pieper
WOW! This is excellent stuff! Is it Jazz, is it Prog, is it something else? Just don't care, this is groovy and f***ing complex at the same time. Foot tapping and headbanging in weird signatures. Frank Hadlich