Le Baphomet

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Le Baphomet, Bucketrider's third album, may be a little short (only 34 minutes), but it is a fun-packed roller coaster. The title comes from a novel by Pierre Klossowski -- Baphomet is an unholy muse worshipped by the Knights Templar. Well, this Australian group must have made a pact with the devil to project such energy. The eight sections of the short "Rondo for Ambotto" are scattered throughout the album, among longer, full-fledged pieces. The album is sequenced very tightly, each track leaping directly into the next like a Frank Zappa album. This is not the only comparison one can make with the great master: The track "Akasa" possesses all the excitement and finesse of his small big-band compositions ("Waka/Jawaka," "Big Swifty") and shares a similar spirit too. Other references could be as diverse as the creative big bands of Lawrence "Butch" Morris and the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Jean Derome and René Lussier's band projects, and the avant-prog tornado Doctor Nerve. With only three brass players, a drummer, and a bassist (not any bassist, noise experimentalist David Brown), Bucketrider serves as a stunning avant-garde jazz/rock/funk extravaganza. Given the strength of the compositions (all Timothy O'Dwyer's work), the tightness of the musicians, and their creativity when allowed some free-form stretching (those raspy sax trios!), this album maintains interest both as a close listening experience and a party record, and merits "highly recommended" status.

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