Brand X

Macrocosm: Introducing...Brand X

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This 13-track budget-priced compilation of Brand X's 1977-1980 period is a decent appetite whetter, featuring four tracks from Moroccan Roll, two from Livestock, "Black Moon" from Masques (there should have been more from this album), three from Product, two from Unorthodox Behaviour, and one from Do They Hurt? Fans gain nothing by having this, except another sexually suggestive sleeve image by Hipnosis. But then, this isn't for fans; it is an introduction to the band for the uninitiated -- but who is gonna even care at this stage of the game if you don't already know? Brand X was a studio band comprised of John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Robin Lumley, Morris Pert, and, for the most part, Phil Collins. They played killer, exotic jazz-rock that had soul as well as chops and could be tremendously funky when they wanted to be, as "Hate Zone" from Moroccan Roll attests. Thankfully, whoever compiled this (uncredited) was certain to include tracks like "Nuclear Burn," the live version of "Euthanasia Waltz," "Macrocosm," and all of the best. But, focusing as it does on five albums, the selection, while more than adequately representative, feels skimpy, and that's perhaps because Brand X was an album-oriented band, each one having a little different pace and a little different texture, with emphasis on certain aspects of the band's multi-layered approach to playing and recording. There are decent if workmanlike liner notes here, and the sonics are well-done in remastered form. So if jazz-rock is your thing and you've been living under a rock and happen to be looking for something you've never heard from the mid- to late '70s, this is for you.

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