Pip Pyle's Equip' Out

Equipe Out

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Recorded in 1985 and originally released on a tiny French label in 1987 before finally becoming widely available through the progressive reissue label Voiceprint in 2000, Pip Pyle's first solo album is a Canterbury Scene supergroup outing, starring Pyle on drums, the Soft Machine's Hugh Hopper on bass and Elton Dean on saxophones, Pyle's former Gong bandmate Didier Malherbe on flute, and French keyboardist Sophia Domancich. Unlike most '70s progressive artists who ran out of ideas sometime around the turn of the decade, Pyle and his cohorts create an impressive set of seven tunes that are as vital and interesting as much of their earlier work. (Equipe Out is a true collaboration, with all five participants contributing to the songwriting.) The saving grace of the Canterbury Scene, even in its most ponderous moments, was a sly sense of humor that comes through even on instrumentals like the witty, Ashley Hutchings-like dance tune "Foetal Fandango," which features a wonderful lead melody played in unison by Dean and Malherbe. Equipe Out is clever without being precious, challenging while remaining accessible (for all the tricky time signatures and abrupt tempo shifts, this is not "difficult" music), and hugely entertaining.

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