Saturday, June 16, 2018

Brand X - 1992 "Xcommunication"

Xcommunication (1992) is an album by jazz fusion band Brand X.

Xcommunication will leave you fairly gasping for breath. Lacking most of the British eccentricity of '70s Brand X but ripe with the experimental moves of bassist Percy Jones' solos, Xcommunication zigs and zags through a tumultuous landscape of swaggering synth effects, bizarre fretless bass, and frenetic drumming courtesy of new member Frank Katz. If any cut here is reminiscent of days past, it is "A Duck Exploding," which calls to mind the splendid Masques and Do They Hurt? sessions. Jones and guitarist John Goodsall have lost neither their touch nor their songwriting abilities. If anything, they have perhaps put the "progressive" elements of fusion back into proper perspective. Brand X have returned at quite an opportune time. Make no mistake about its '90s ambitions; Xcommunication cooks.

"X-Communication" is the 1992 comeback album for Brand X, a big ten years after their last release, 1982's "Is There Anything About?". For this album, the band are a trio: guitarist John Goodsall, bassist Percy Jones, and new drummer Frank Katz. "X-Communication" is filled with great progressive jazz/rock, including memorable jammers like "Xanax Taxi," "Liquid Time," "A Duck Exploding," and "Church Of Hype." Goodsall also gets in a beautiful acoustic solo piece, "Healing Dream." Although the group are without a proper keyboard player on "X-Communication" (Robin Lumley, where are you?), Goodsall plays the required keyboard parts by the use of a Midi-guitar (and he does it very well, too). The trio sound great on this release, with Goodsall's fiery fretboard work, Jones' thumping bass lines, and while Katz doesn't drum with quite the same flair that Phil Collins did, his performance on the skins is very impressive. Brand X's "X-Communication" is an excellent return for this classic jazz/rock fusion group.

Each song on this album tells it's own musical story with emotion and texture. What I like most of this album is the layers of music lying within the sounds. The album is well produced with a decided direction into the obscure. I am most impressed with the drumwork, Frank Katz did an excellent job. I am a fan of Phil Collins' drumming but feel Katz provided exactly what was needed for this incarnation of Brand X. Not a beat was missed. I like other Brand X albums better, but Xcommunication is a winner right along with the best. I call this a jazz fusion classic of the 90's.

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Tracks Listing:

1. Xanax Taxi (5:57)
2. Liquid Time (4:39)
3. Kluzinski Period (7:00)
4. Healing Dream (3:51)
5. Mental Floss (3:17)
6. Strangeness (3:23)
7. A Duck Exploding (6:47)
8. Message To You (0:25)
09. Church of Hype (5:54)
10. Kluzinski Reprise (4:25)

Total Time: 45:38

Line-up / Musicians
- John Goodsall / guitar, MIDI guitar (keyboards and samples), co-producer
- Percy Jones / fretless bass, keyboards (6), co-producer
- Frank Katz / drums

With:
- Danny Wilding / flute (10) "Kluzinski Reprise".

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