Guy Segers is best known as a founder member of the only original Rock In Opposition band still working, Univers Zéro, although they seem to be on hiatus at present. However, one look at his Bandcamp page shows there is far more to his long and distinguished career than that. One of his more recent projects is the Eclectic Maybe Band, a place where live band recordings are later embellished in the studio by a host of distinguished guest players.
Reflections In A Mœbius Ring Mirror is the second album from the collective, released on Martin Archer’s… well, there’s no better word than “eclectic” for his home for musical outliers known as Discus Music. The Eclectic Maybe Band are a perfect fit for the label, and this new album sees a rewarding collection of compositions mostly by Segers, and collective improvisations, a whole where avant songcraft finds a perfect companion in the skilful jazz chops of the brass and reeds section of the band, augmented by some wonderfully exploratory guitar work, and varied keyboards.
The vocals are handled in a highly individualistic and idiosyncratic manner by Carla Diratz, and on Practised Decent Proximity her distinctive voice, that I could label sub-Dietrich, but that would be doing it a disservice, duels with the guitars of Segers’ fellow Belgian Michel Delville, and Ángel Ontalva, a pair who know a thing or two about coruscating improv, one of whose angry scratching on this track reminds me of Keith Levene in full flight on PiL’s Metal Box.
The album opens with the rollicking bass drive of Horizontal Bounce, an anchor for joyous and fulsome instrumental flourishes from the rest of the band. The second track, Socle De Gouache, is based around a riff composed by pianist Catherine Smet, which I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere before, but I can’t put my finger on it. It may drive me insane! Oncoming Season Wake and Liquid Tempo In A Lost Period sees the band dig deep into their avant repertoire, but it is not simply “out there for the sake of it”, there’s obviously a lot of thought gone into it, as with the rest of the album.
The more composed pieces complement their avant siblings and the entity hangs together nicely. Although the album is a whopping 74 minutes long, the variety and wide-angle scope of the music keeps one’s attention throughout. When Segers hits on a bass groove, the music rolls along with the accomplished ease you would expect, given the collective’s combined musical experience. As a case in point, some wonderful sax (Joe Higham) and flute (Roland Binet) weave their way through the delightful Dérive Sous Rive Gauche, ending with some highly treated guitar (Andy Kirk), and is possibly my favourite track from the album. And it smells nice!
Carla Diratz returns for the final two tracks, the loose-limbed Quoi? and the sprawling languid 13-minute plus album closer The Perfume Of The Flying Room, rendering more odd songcraft, backed by the resident jazz ensemble in a bar on an alien trading outpost somewhere in the Shoulder of Orion. They are winding down for the night, as the last few punters prop each other up in couples, shuffling slowly round the dancefloor, lost in their own worlds. As you will be once you get to the end of this alluring and intoxicating journey.
This is a brave album that takes risks, which always seem to pay off. Although leaning towards the avant in places, the sheer musicality of Reflection In A Mœbius Ring Mirror always prevents it from becoming indulgent. If you know anything of Guy Segers’ back pages, as if that would be allowed to happen, anyway! For those of you with an adventurous ear, I cannot recommend this highly enough. A classic in the making, in my never ’umble opinion.
01. Horizontal Bounce (9:20)
02. Socle De Gouache (5:58)
03. Oncoming Season Wake (4:56)
04. Liquid Tempo In A Lost Period (4:54)
05. Practised Decent Proximity (4:26)
06. Day Of The Tsunami (6:10)
07. Dérive Sous Rive Gauche (7:12)
08. Spreading An Invisible Stream (11:18)
09. Belgian Rain Drop (2:39)
10. Quoi? (3:45)
11. The Perfume Of The Flying Room (13:45)
Total Time – 74:31
Carla Diratz – Vocals
Cathryn Robson – Vocals
Roland Binet – Flute, Piccolo
Martin Archer – Sax Sopranino & Alto
Joe Higham – Sax Soprano & Tenor, Electronics
Dave Newhouse – Sax Alto & Tenor, Bass Clarinet
Jean-Pierre Soarez – Trumpet
Ariane Plumerel – Violin
Sigrid Vandenbogaerden – Cello
Michel Delville – Guitar
Eric Lemaître – Guitar
Ángel Ontalva – Guitar
Andy Kirk – Guitar, Keyboards
Catherine Smet – Piano, Keyboards
Guy Segers – Bass, Programming Virtual Instruments
Franck Balestracci – Keyboards, Drums
Dirk Wachtelaer – Drums
Record Label: Discus Music
Date of Release: 10th May 2019