Psychillis of a Lunatic Genius

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The Belgian progressive rock group Pazop had the misfortune of never being able to release the two albums they recorded in the early '70s, and this CD gathers up most of those tracks, excluding four tracks that were far more commercial than the group's normal sound. As might be expected from a group of musicians who are equally adept at jazz, rock, and classical music, Pazop's sound is a highly complex mix of King Crimson, Canterbury, and even RIO styles filtered through a more continental Europe sensibility, with lots of flute, keyboard, and violin soloing, and fast change-ups. Fortunately they play with enough energy that one doesn't even notice the lack of an electric guitar. There are also some other little touches: sounds of breaking glass on the first version of "Harlequin of Love," lunatic laughter followed by a brief campy riff of Offenbach in "And the Hermit Will Be a Master," whereas "Bami, Lychee, Si" has a humorous and jazzy lightness that recalls everything from early Frank Zappa to Moving Gelatin Plates, and the very short "In the Army" is even more quirky and hilarious. Most pieces have vocals sung by flutist Dirk Bogaert in a gruff voice in a strangely accented English that matches the angular edges of many of the compositions. Excellent stuff throughout; Pazop has the chops of the best early-'70s prog rockers, but without the bombast.

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