Exposé Online banner

Spectrum Orchestrum — It's About Time
(Atypeek Music, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-10-08

It's About Time Cover art

French five-piece Spectrum Orchestrum started back in 2007, and has been pretty much flying under the radar all this time. We were introduced to them with their last release Suburbs (from 2014) but there are four releases prior to that, beginning with Improvisarium in 2008. This newest release, It’s About Time, subtitled Improvisarium V, contains only three tracks, from the one-minute opener to the 33-minute title track, and then a ten-minute closer. And as you might have accurately guessed, this is all improvised, although this is all too tight to not have been rehearsed a dozen times or more before the recording session. The band features guitar, bass, drums and percussion, Fender Rhodes and organ, and last but not least, alto sax; there are voices as well, though not credited. That one minute opener “Three to One” as a minute of complete chaos and madness, every player making as much noise as they can for the duration; think of that ending coda to “21st Century Schizoid Man” and you will be almost there. Going forward, we have the main course, “About Time” in three parts, although one might have no idea where the parts begin and end because everything just morphs along as it goes with an intense groove, beginning with a drum cadence and throbbing bass, then a gentle keyboard atmospheric later joined by a conversation between guitar and sax, slowly building in intensity and power, ratcheting up at a steady pace, reminiscent of some mid-70s Magma sans vocals, just a little more gnarly and freaky. Around the eleven-minute mark a series of whistles go off and the groove descends into a mysterious corner, less hard-driving, with mettalic gongs and bells and odd percussion that may remind the listener of Indonesian gamelan, but in truly free-improv style, piquing the imagination. As we approach the 18-minute mark, the bass and electric piano groove begins to return to its previous strength, slowly but ever so surely, driving forward like a march into the abyss, with sax joined by wordless voices, snarly guitars, and general chaos, beginning a slow fade at around the 31-minute point, with the voices becoming more promonent. The closer, with its reassuring title “Not the End,” is a slower evolving piece without a uniform driving groove, pushing out in all directions until it all winds down around the ten minute mark. Fans of 70s Magma, Combat Astronomy, and similarly inclined power-improv units should definitely add this to their list.

The release is available on the French digital label Atypeek Music, with physical releases on micro DIY-labels La Société du Spectral, Bang Bang, L'étourneur, Do It Youssef.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Spectrum Orchestrum

More info
http://spectrumorchestrum.bandcamp.com/album/its-about-time

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lady Lake - Unearthed – By one scheme of reckoning, rarities collections come three categories: those that are only of interest to established fans of the artist, those that can serve as an introduction to a newbie, and...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues