Eclectic Maybe Band: Bars Without Measures

Bassist Guy Segers leads voices, horns, strings, keyboards, electronics and rhythm through rock, jazz, electronic and abstract landscapes

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Musician, composer and producer Guy Segers first rose to some kind of prominence as bass player in the Belgian Rock In Opposition band Univers Zero, who might have been seen by some as purveyors of a distinctly European strain of cold, somewhat forbidding 20th-century chamber music. That definition is somewhat at odds with what’s to be heard here, which exemplifies how his musical thinking and methodology have moved on with the passing decades.

What we have here, in the fourth release under the EMB name, is evidence of Segers’ ability to inject a “human” element (in the sense of spontaneity), and the absence of the precision-tooled feeling that his precedents might suggest.

If Senseless Ostensibly can be considered as genetically modified fusion then it comes as close as anything here to easy categorisation. Segers’ bass playing brings an edge of funk to proceedings in a manner almost antithetical to Univers Zero. Indeed, his aim (as stated in the gatefold sleeve note) of creating music without stylistic restriction is largely realised beautifully.

Painting With Illicit Pigment, for all of the faint echoes of Miles Davis in the early 70s and Terje Rypdal at the very start of his career on record, fails happily to conform to precedents, not least because the “colours” of bass clarinet and virtual mellotron set it in sparsely mapped territory. The notion of virtuality comes to further fruition on Gratitude, where the musical architecture generated virtually by Segers is offset by Sibel Dincer’s warmly human yet oddly unworldly vocal. Segers shows here that while he may be the central point of the project he is nothing so glib as a band leader.


Discography
Casanova; Senseless Ostensibly; Painting With Illicit Pigment; Octopus Lagoon; Gratitude; Quarantine; A Move To Unchange The Place; Rhesus Retractible; Are You Out Of My Mind?; Isolation; Temporal Trace Of Erich Zann’s Presence (61.41)
Pierre Bernard (f); Piet Van Rockstal (ob); Stephan Kohr (bsn); Martin Archer (slo); Dirk Descheemaeker (cl, bcl); Joe Higham (cl, bcl, ss, elec loop); Mark Bogaerts (as, bar); Dave Newhouse (bar); Daniel Vincke (s, v); Jean-Pierre Soarez (t); Franck Cottret (tb); Marianne Denola, Cecile Broche, Ariane Plumerel (vn); Forrest Fang (processed vn); Thierry Zaboitzeff (clo); Andy Kirk, Catherine Smet (kyb); Michel Delory, Pierre Vervloesem, Michel Delville, Angel Ontalva, Matvi Bilis (g); Guy Segers (b, virtual instruments); Guy Segers (b, virtual instruments); Sean Rickman, Fabrice Owerzarzak, Dirk Wachtelaer (d); Julie Tippetts, Dani Klein, Sibel Dincer (v). No dates, various locations.
Discus 159-CD