Fluxury EP 2009
Dmitri M. Epstein (DME)
Lighter and warmer, the Dutch band bring a breeze and summer weather.
Six years after "Perishable Goods", there's no second part of "The Privacy Suite", as that album was subtitled, in sight, but this four-track EP is so good it makes the wait futile - if only for its atmospheric title piece, the instrumental written in mid-'80s for a theater. The opening "Drexler's Curse" drenches the grey world of today in sun-kissed pop hope with Susan Heijen's voice soaring, lark-like, skywards amidst Jan Kuipers' keyboards' white-dove clouds. In the heart-soothing "Dry Heaven" comparisons with late RENAISSANCE seem inescapable, yet who cares if the epic, gliding on Jos Witsenburg's meaty bass, feels orchestrally delicious, and "Interior Decorator Blues" comes as light. Set the disc on repeat, and you almost won't notice the repetition, as each new play will show a new facet to the FLUXURY dance.
This EP, as well as the band's entire output is made available for free download at www.fluxury.nl, and it'd be a major sin not to pay a grabbing visit.
FLUXURY "Sundance" Netherlands 2009
Style: Progressive Rock
Label: Own Release
Playing Time: 26:41
Review by: Danny
Translated by: Danny
Fluxury is not a new band, because they started in 2001 but took a fresh start with some new musicians. It has been four years since their previous album “Perishable Goods”, of which you can read my review on the old Prog-Nose site. The most important difference is the new lead female vocalist Susan Heijnen who came to replace the tree different singers of “Perishable Goods” which she does with shining armour.
The EP contains four songs, (26 minutes). The first and third are progressive, melodic rock songs with great vocals by Susan. Every musician is doing a fine job without showing off. “Dry Heaven” is a ballad with a big reference to Renaissance, especially due to the sound of Susan’s voice.
The complexity is saved for the last track “Sundance”. It’s an instrumental song in which the show off ingredient has increased a bit, but remains within the boundaries to build up a fine band sound. Fred Rozenkamp of Ladylake plays some guitar near the end of the track and helps to end this EP with a symphonic climax.
An EP is much to short to enjoy this great music and I hope they will release a new full album soon. In the meanwhile, you can download everything from the band from their site for free. ( www.fluxury.nl )
Fluxury is geen nieuwe groep, want ze zijn al bezig sinds 2001, maar ze namen een frisse start met enkele nieuwe leden. Hun vorig album “Perishable Goods” dateert al van vier jaar geleden. (Je kunt mijn bespreking van dat album terugvinden op de oude Prog-Nose site. De belangrijkste verandering is de nieuwe leadzangeres Susan Heijnen die de drie zangeressen van “Perishable Goods” moet doen vergeten, en dat doet ze met glans.
De EP bevat vier nummers. (26 minuten). “Drexler’s Curse” en “Interior Decorator Blues” zijn progressieve, melodieuze rocksongs met prachtige zang van Susan. Iedere muzikant levert een prachtprestatie zonder te pronken met zijn technisch talent. Alles blijft in functie van de groep. “Dry Heaven” is een ballad met een grote verwijzing naar Renaissance. Dit is vooral te wijten aan de Susan’s stem die op bepaalde hoogtes erg lijkt op die van Annie Haslam.
De complexiteit werd bewaard voor het laatste nummer “Sundance”. Het is een instrumentaal stuk waarin de pronk ingrediënt iets hoger ligt, maar alles blijft binnen de grenzen om een mooi groepsgeluid te verkrijgen. Fred Rozenkamp van Ladylake speelt gitaar op het eind van het nummer en helpt zo opbouwen naar een symfonische climax.
Een EP is veel te kort om te genieten van deze prachtige muziek. Ik hoop dat er vlug een volledig album volgt. Ondertussen kan je alles van de groep gratis downloaden via hun site. ( www.fluxury.nl )
1. Drexler’s Curse (06:12)
2. Dry Heaven (07:27)
3. Interior Decorator Blues (04:20)
4. Sundance (08:42)
Sundance (EP) (2009)
Perishable Goods (2005)
Over The Moon (DVD) (2004)
Lunar Escape Velocity (2001)
Axel Gruning: Guitar
Susan Heijnen: Lead Vocals
Stelios Kalis: Drums
Jan Kuipers: Keyboards, Compositions, Graphics
Jetse v.d. Moolen: Guitar
Jos Witsenburg: Bass, Lyrics
Fred Rozenkamp (Ladylake): Guitar
danny on woensdag 02 september 2009 - 00:52:07
Me, the enemy and Perishable goods
Fluxury EP 2005 and Fluxury album 2005
Fred Trafton ("GEPR)
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Netherlands 2005
Review date: 30/07/2006
Discography: Lunar Escape Velocity (01); Me, The Enemy (05, EP); Perishable Goods - Part 1 of the End of Privacy Suite (05, contains all of Me, The Enemy).
Fluxury 2005: Eric Verbruggen (guitar); Jos Witsenburg (bass, vocals); Marjolein van Tongeren (lead vocals); Jan Kuipers (keyboards, vocals); Stelios Kalis (drums).
I've had Fluxury's last two releases in my review queue for way too long. It's time to remedy that situation. Fluxury suffers from, or is blessed by, a lot of turnover of band members. The line-up and compositions in Lunar Escape Velocity (described in next article) have undergone major shifts between then and their latest recordings. Of these, Me The Enemy is an EP, and all the songs on that release reappear on the full-length Perishable Goods, so I'm going to focus on only the full-length album. For those interested, the line-up is still in flux (yeah, I said that on purpose), and the photo at left shows the 2005 line-up of the band, a stripped-down version (or maybe "the core members") of the band appearing on the album.
Perishable Goods drove me nuts for awhile. I could tell on first listen that I really liked the songs. The melodic hooks burned into my brain on that first listen and still haunt me
for half an hour every time I think about the album. But I found the recording to be really odd-sounding, and not necessarily in a good way. The drum mic'ing and playing didn't seem that great-sounding, the vocals felt like they lacked presence or sometimes sounded as if the singer (in spite of singing in a perfectly-pitched trained voice) was about to doze off.
And those digital keyboard strings! Yecch! For the first dozen listens, I wanted to adjust the EQ or something. No, more than that ... I wanted to get my hands on the mixing board and change the EQ and relative volumes of everything. I wanted to substitute the synth strings for a Mellotron or a Hammond organ. I wanted more drum beats, it seemed to be too sparse. More vibrato in the vocals. It just seemed like it all needed to be rearranged. But I kept listening to it again and again because the music was so compelling.
But then something strange happened. I stopped listening to it as an album that was supposed to be prog rock. I just listened to it on its own merits. And suddenly everything changed. I realized that I was expecting it to sound like familiar references ... like Yes or Genesis. Like Thinking Plague. Or even like Devo or Abba (see next article). I kept trying to make the keyboards or drums or vocals sound "proggy" to my preconceptions. Or to just sound like something that I had heard before. It's not like it's really avant-garde or difficult in an RIO way. I could have handled that! The trouble is, they don't really sound like anyone else I'm familiar with. With some rearranging, they could. And that's what I was trying to do in my head. But no, Fluxury just sounds like Fluxury, and once I understood that, I was able to get on with simply enjoying it.
From that point on, I really did enjoy Perishable Goods. It's progressive both musically and politically. The album is subtitled Part 1 of the End of Privacy suite. Lyrically, the themes are about change (hence Fluxury?), and not necessarily good ones, as seen by the band. A clip from their web site: "Agencies scanning private mail; terahertz scanners at airports; DNA smartcards at supermarkets, what's next: quantum mindreaders? More & more 'safety' measures to hunt down the enemy inside us are placed upon us and we hardly seem to question that. Are we lulled to sleep? Are critical voices outshined by this mindblowing 21st century anti-terrorist propaganda? Or is this some unite-us-all religious need at work? Maybe we just give in to Big Brother for convenience? These worries of the modern earthling, plus privacy according to Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter inspired us to some songs."
I'm in deep sympathy with these ideas personally, plus the notion that America and Americans are leading the charge to make the whole world like this. But it may piss some of you off. I suggest you learn something from it instead. This is a great album full of fantastic musical and political (yes! political!) ideas that deserves to be listened to by everyone, especially those of us in the USA. Have no doubts ... when they talk about greed, overbearing expressions of faith and "messing with my mind", they're talking to Americans. Maybe we should be listening.
Yeah, great album. No, beyond great. Essential.
But you still might hate it. Sometimes we all have a problem with things that go against our preconceptions, musically and politically. Fluxury seems determined to be challenging on both counts, and I welcome it. I can't wait for Part 2! -- Fred Trafton
Back in May of 2002, I wrote the following after downloading some MP3 samples of Lunar Escape Velocity from Fluxury's web site:
Fluxury 2001 (not in photo order): Jan Kuipers (keyboards, vocals); Jos Witsenburg (bass, vocals); John Reker (guitars, vocals); Stelios Kalis (drums); Mattijs de Jong (guitars). Before the release of Lunar Escape Velocity, Fluxury's female lead singer left the band. The three vocalists in the photo are guests (in photo order): Femme van Leeuwen; Carolien Kraaijkamp; Ronald van Gerner.
Even in the weird realms of progressive rock, Fluxury is a pretty weird band. If I had to sum up their sound in one sentence, I'd say they're a mixed-gender Devo playing Genesis tunes and singing like Abba on acid. They're reminiscent of (early) Devo for their visceral non-musical synthesizer sounds and mechanical drumming, yet the music as a whole sounds more like a (rather sparse) Genesis. The mixture of male and female voices recalls Abba, though I hesitate to make that comparison because these vocal harmonies are nowhere near as sweet and predictable as that band's. The voices are definitely the main instrument in this band, taking the lead role; even though they have guitar, bass and keyboards in their line-up, these are usually in the background compared to the harmonizing voices. No wonder they used three vocalists (see photo above) to help them out when their lead singer left the band. Their lyrics are, by the way, in English.
I haven't heard all of their debut release Lunar Escape Velocity, but their web site does contain six MP3's which have 25 minutes of music from the album. The production quality leaves something to be desired, but I would consider this to be high-quality demo type material. Check these out yourself if you're curious. I don't know how to categorize this band ... too thin to be symphonic, too melodious to be RIO, but too out-there to be neo-prog. All I know is that they're progressive in the true sense of not sounding like anything you've heard before. Check 'em out on their web site listed below. -- Fred Trafton
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Netherlands 2005
Review date: 10/19/2005, Format: CD (Album)
Tracklist: Me, The Enemy (4:41), After The Revolution (2:49), Safety First (5:05), Light Of Other Days (6:07), I Will Be There (2:47), Surrender (2:37), Dust Settled Down (4:40), Perishable Goods (10:19), Symmetry (1:43), Nothing's Safe (6:41), Heaven And Hell (9:04), Panta Rei (2:36)
As already became apparent in our review of Lunar Escape Velocity back in 2001, Dutch band Fluxury should at least be described as "different". Their latest release excels in originality, most notably in the vocal and composition departments
If you just start to listen and look at the track list, this could be just another prog album. However, you'll quickly discover that the entire album has a certain theme, a certain feel to it. The concept feeling is enhanced by the repetition of lyrics and musical themes across the songs.
The opening track Me, The Enemy shares lyrics and music with I Will Be There and elaborates on the musical theme first before the vocals kick in. The vocals sound different in many songs, because Fluxury had the luxury (duh) of multiple female singers during the recording sessions, while other band members took care of the backing vocals. Many songs feature choir-like (or even choral) arrangements, sometimes of stunning beauty
. Highlight for me is Light Of Other Days, which has one of the most beautiful vocal lines
I've heard recently. Thea van Rijen's voice sounds very warm and gracious.
After The Revolution and Dust Settled Down are another obvious pair of songs. The slightly irregular, bass driven rhythm is often interrupted by subtle phrases of music or vocals. Some guitar sounds and chord changes remind me of Genesis' Trick Of The Tail album. The end of Dust Settled Down has a sequence of weird dissonant chords which sounds a bit uncomfortable, but fortunately it all still ends in a major key!
Another pair is Safety First / Nothing's Safe. The former has strange chords in the synths, vocals and Hackett-type guitars. Again, the vocals really shine
, especially in the section where they included a lot of pre-delay. Nothing's Safe sounds pretty prog to me, with great riffing and mood changes
. Also some male lead vocals in there, as a counterpart to the female lead vocals. Perishable Goods, which clocks in at just over ten minutes, is a floating mix of different parts: jazzy/funky, quiet piano parts, good old prog and a (not too) bombastic finale. I think this would make a great live track. On record, it is followed by the instrumental Symmetry. The other instrumentals on this record (Surrender and Panta Rei) are a bit light weight, but I found the delay-based Symmetry quite enjoyable.
Heaven And Hell, in my opinion, is the epitome of the style of this album: the playing, the musical themes, the harmonies, it's all there
. It seems that the short and final Panta Rei is some sort of cooling down track. It's a fairly simple piece of piano, strings and bass, but I would have expected something different. Then again, there's no use in having two climaxes one after another.
After a few spins of this CD, I realized it must have been a great effort to record it. The result is a suite of fairly complicated music, but above all, nice harmonies and vocal melodies. My only critical comment on this album would be the production of the keyboards. I find the sound of the piano and strings too 'synthesized' and thin, which is of course most audible during the quiet instrumental parts. I would also prefer a fade out or echo, to a synth that just stops playing at the end of a song. It literally cuts off the mood of the song too sudden. Other than that, if you like music with intricate musical themes, dark dissonants and vocal harmonies (I know I do!) then I would surely recommend listening to this album.
Conclusion: 8 out of 10
JEAN-PASCAL VAN DER ENDT
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Netherlands 2005
Review date: 10/19/2005, Format: CD (Album)
Out of nowhere, an absolutely splendid and truly original
symphonic prog concept album. Yep, that dreaded concept of a concept album :o)
What I am about to describe gave me approximately the same pleasant shock as when I first listened to Close to the Edge after a long wait as an excited fan, and much hype too, after we had been treated with the stunning monster of an album that Fragile was. I could not get enough of that epic, hyperkinetic and surrealistic musical world that Yes had succeeded in creating with Fragile, and I was really hooked on it. After I had listened to side 1 of CTTE, I had to slowly try to come back to this side of reality, so great the power, the majestic beauty and the effect of surprise that suite had on me. Yes had managed to do the virtually impossible: to surpass Fragile with a one-of-a-kind achievement that defied all musical conventions in its own time. An adventurous, extremely baroque symphonic work that bore one clear mark: an uncanny ORIGINALITY.
But I’ll go back now to my main purpose here, which is trying to describe an album that I was asked to listen to and review from a Dutch group named Fluxury. I had not a clue before about that group. The message went l : ‘’My name is Jos Witsenburg, I'm musician and band manager of Fluxury, a Dutch symfonic rock group. We believe in beauty: nice melody, harmonic development and interesting (poly)rhythm. We like to make complex music sound accessible. Fluxury has existed since 2000 and after an out-of-control-demo (2001) and an EP (2004) we will release our first official album called perishable Goods in Cctober.’’
We receive lots of messages or cues that promise similar things. Often these appetizers don’t lead to much substance, and the more we are promised with, the less it delivers sometimes... So I was more than a tiny bit suspicious when I received that album, but open-minded (as I think I always try to be). ‘Complex music that is accessible’ ? Yeah, right. Hmmmm….. What’s the trade off ?
So I put the CD on, and fortunately, I was not doing something terribly urgent, so that I could stop everything on an emergency and fully savor the first impression of a very significant encounter. Yes, an emergency. My encounter with a work so original, and so unique that my description can only hint at the work
, at most. But I will try hard…
In fact, perishable Goods has the ambition of being a concept album, the guts of almost saying it, and the merit of realizing that objective more effectively than I could ever say. This is what we read at the opening of the notes:
‘’Pre-Platonic thinker Heraclitus realized, Panta Rei. Only change is real, the rest is just a dream.
‘’That this ‘flux’ leads to wealth is seen in the evolution of species, and even before that, primitive life emerging from inanimate matter. This deep tendency of nature is honoured in our name Fluxury.
‘’The downside is that nothing lasts forever. The tallest tree, the strongest empire, the mightiest mountain, even the planets and stars are all perishable goods.’’
With so much good sense, with such wisdom, I was certainly pleased, inasmuch as the theme of evolution and the place of man in that context is an issue that I constantly study as a biologist…
Living up to its title, the album is a sort of small opera on the general theme of the evanescence of everything, on the fragility and the insignificance of any living being in the immensity of time and the universe, and on the vanity of mankind which is blind to what really counts and makes it so unique, while constantly acting as though it is immortal. A hard reflection on the frustration that the self-destructive tendency of man generates in fresh young minds who inherit a world in turmoil which never learns from its mistakes…. A warning: some of the lyrics include poetically concealed criticism of a certain vision of American foreign policy, but I won’t go further into that. It’s up to everyone to listen and make his/her opinion about its political aspects of these lyrics. Which are just one small facet of this album anyway.
But words do not make music. In fact, I paid little or almost no attention to the lyrics when I first listened to perishable Goods. It was impossible: the beauty of the musical opus that was lying there to be discovered grabbed all my neurons
will not do a track-by-track analysis of the album. It is not essential. First, there is a strong structural unity in this work, and at the same time, such a complex sequence of movements, parts, and sections (but not explicitly listed in the track list, which looks deceptively simple) that it is more interesting to give an overall impression of the work. After a few listenings, it becomes increasingly clear that perishable Goods results from a tantalizing amount of work. ‘To create beauty’, I mean, to ACTUALLY create beauty of that magnitude, involves a lot of work, a lot of thinking and a lot of structure
. In the 59:09 that perishable Goods lasts, not a moment is wasted. Everything falls into place because of a purpose
. First of all, this is highly composed, highly constructed music, and for that reason, it has a definite classical feel. The same feel that one gets after hearing a Bach’s cantata. An impression of perfection, of effortless beauty, but when you stop and look at the writing,
the arrangements and conception behind the music, you are completely astonished at the amount of design it required to generate that sense of marvel.
But although this is fully designed music, the purpose is fulfilled: the beauty and power of that music is totally amazing! A first preeminent aspect of it is the unusually extensive use of solos, duos, or more complex vocal harmonies. Rarely in progressive music do we encounter so many fine vocals in a single band, and even more rarely, the use of the 4 vocal parts in complex choral sections, including canonic sequences ! Three different members (2 females, one male) are responsible for lead vocals, while three others do backing vocals. It would be a pity that those of you who are a bit lukewarm at the idea of extensive vocal sections refrain from lending a good ear to the album, because the level of quality of these parts is far above the average of what we generally hear in prog, with all due respect to those who succeed in that deed, of course…. To make it clearer: there are many fine vocalists of course in prog, but there are also a good many that are just OK.
And I don’t know if you can relate to this, but I often wish that the music would have no vocals when those are sub standard. That’s one reason accounting for the fact that I’ll take more chances with instrumental prog than that with vocal parts: for the memory of past experiences…
So this is something that should reconcile more than a few with symphonic prog containing many sung parts: the sheer beauty of these voices is simply OUT-STAND-ING
- and I wish that I could use less superlatives so that you would keep believing me… but I mean them. Let’s just consider the two female vocalists. Their voices have very different and distinctive personalities: both are altos with a warm, rich and very emotional tone, but one sounds like Judy Collins or June Tabor (yes, she is THAT good!), while the other sounds like a progressive …. Olivia Newton-John :o))) (no! really !!). Yep. And the beauty is that this band really functions as a tight unit, with nobody apparently stealing the show.
I could go on and on with the qualities of the vocals (which are flawless as far as accent goes in the good Dutch tradition). How complex the harmonies are, how unusual tonalities are used with good effect, how frequent and effective is the use of dissonance to create tension, counterpoint, and elements of surprise
. And most of all, the incredibly MELODIC character of the sung parts
. This is in fact one of the major forces of that music: these fellows have inherited the same genes as McCartney or Elton John
for generating musical lines with big custom marker pens. The melodies are highly memorable, and confer to the work qualities very close to those of a good opera. While being memorable, these melodies are very often extremely complex. So complex in fact that a minor negative remark would be that they exceed the vocalist’s on (only) rare occasions. And the delivery is often so good and soulful and sure of itself that it has an undeniable a pop quality
, in the good sense.
That is, a melody so well imagined that it infects your brain. Imagine a very progressive, very symphonic and modern brand of Hair! or Jesus Christ Superstar, with the same operatic and efficacious use of verses and chorus, with recognizable recurrent themes that stamp themselves effortlessly in your brain. perishable Goods is really like a philosophic opera ; a kind of oratorio with slow, almost spoken passages, choirs, constant changes in atmospheres, styles; extremely complex arrangement of vocal and instrumental layers. And the band seems in full possession of its means. It seems so confident with its remarkable resources – and with very good reasons.
That highly melodic nature of the main themes contrasts admirably well with the extraordinarily complex harmonies that follow them, and the frequent and brilliant use of dissonance, as I said. And the complexity is also seen in the layers after layers of arranged parts, in the constantly changing atmospheres, in the constant meter change, etc. And the beauty is: all of this is so streamlined, so intelligently designed that you never feel the effort
, you never stop and think: ‘Wow ! This is technically complex…’ Complexity in itself is not a quality for me, and is in fact the opposite and leaves me cold when it is felt as such without generating an emotion, a feeling outside of it. When I hear complexity for the sake of it, as a show of abilities, it remains as such : and lasts in my mind as a brief show of fireworks. But the type of layering, of intricate parts and the large number of movements in this opus result in sustained interest
. And that’s another reason that makes a concept album work:
a dynamic quality that keeps the listener participating into an experience, a never-ending movement, and a sense of direction. There are moments of calm, elegiac beauty, followed by crescendos of epic magnitude, and then by segments with uplifting beat and spirit, etc. In addition to the great unity that we find in that album as a result of its well designed structure.
What else could I add to this already too lengthy review? Specifically, you will hear lots of nice keyboards, as expected since I said: symphonic prog :o)) Not having the Field Guide to Prog with me, I cannot guess from the liner notes what all these keyboards are, and I’ll leave it to others to identify all the varieties of instruments heard on that album. But there is certainly enough mellotron to satisfy most addicts, as well as the substantial use of what I think are digital synthesizers, but always in a tasty and subtle way. Also of note is the interesting, imaginative and jazzy drum playing (real ones as far as I can tell!), and a use of guitars that sits nicely between Steve Howe’s and David Gilmour’s. And the beauty of the lyrics, which I am just starting to realize now after several hearings, now that the surprise of the music is less distracting. The protean character of the songs, some of which being over 9-10 min long, make the work almost impossible to formally describe.
For me, this album represents an amazing achievement for the following reasons: the sound they have managed to create goes beyond comparisons, and except for specific vocal and instrumental references, the musical style they have managed to invent and deploy so effectively here is truly unique
. But that would not be enough. It is so relentlessly and absolutely beautiful, as well. This is almost certainly a future classic… in prog circles, since this has the ‘symphonic prog’ label in phosphorescent letters on it.
As I said, I was as much impressed by that work as by listening to Close to the Edge for the first time. And I sincerely hope that Fluxury will soar on the wings of that album and find a receptive audience, although we know how much the times are difficult. This is exactly as they said it was going to be: complex AND accessible. They have managed to streamline the symphonic prog sound to their own liking, giving a modern edge to it rather than trying to imitate the splendors of the Golden Age of prog as have achieved some Scandinavian groups, for example By adding novel elements to it, such as highly developed and extremely elegant vocal parts, and by introducing a hefty amount of dissonance, rare harmonic forms, they have succeeded in creating a musical style so very much of their own. And that is quite an achievement that deserves ample recognition
In a way, this is to some extent what I would have liked Tales from Topographic Oceans to be as another concept album. A work with more vision, less noodling, and less…megalomania. That being said strictly and only on my personal behalf ...
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Album Netherlands 2005
Following on from the earlier preview (see review) we now have the latest Fluxury album perishable Goods. The end product is well put together, and all the songs flow very well.
Total time is almost an hour, and from the first five I reviewed, there are seven more making twelve in total on their latest product.
On the whole, this is a easy listening album with some nice touches, and the female vocals glide you along with the soothing piano sound also. Still the same line-up from the preview, of the remaining songs, three are instrumental.
Safety First is the third track, and from the mid-period Genesis type start, the dark sound appears with the haunting female voice. The bass scales plod away as a slightly distorted guitar comes into the frame. Surrender is another slow mood type track, and is an instrumental one, with the keyboards taking over with some nice sounds.
Dust Settled Down again has the Genesis feel to it mixed with the piano, but the title track perishable Goods is quite creditable with it's jazz feel, plus twists and turns, and is also the longest clocking in at a shade over the ten minute mark. Symmetry is another instrumental very keyboard oriented, but for me Heaven And Hell has the darken images and feelings with the slow piano sound, and a very moving sort of track I might add also.
Panta Rei closes the album and again is a instrumental. The gentle sound of the final track is well thought out and constructed, as is the whole album, and doesn't feel out of place at all.
To sum up, this is a nice sounding album, mellow in places but on the whole a nice package. High point for me is Light Of Other Days which was on the preview, and is a great track indeed.
FLUXURY "Me the Enemy" Ltd. EP Netherlands 2004
Dutch band Fluxury will release their new album in the summer 2005,
but this E.P is a taster of what is to come. The new album will be called Perishable Goods
and by the sound of these five new songs, the direction is leaning towards the progressive side a lot more.
Me The Enemy
opens the twenty three minutes, and it is slightly on the bombastic side.
Shades of Steve Hackett are apparent, but with Marjolein Van Tongeren's soothing vocal combined with the
soaring guitar, make this a nice start to this sample.
The piano and gentle female vocals from Patricia Beerens on the second track After The Revolution
give this song a dreamy feel, but it is still a pleasing listen. The heavier approach to Nothing's Safe
again with vocals from Marjolein and the piano with the guitar give a feel of Genesis in certain places,
but Jos Witsenburg brings his voice into the mix and makes a impact.
Light Of Other Days
is for me the best song on the E.P, where another female vocalist Thea Van Rijen
has a voice very similar to Annie Haslam from Renaissance, and the song has impressive bass work from Jos.
The Renaissance/Genesis feel is quite strong here, and it gave me an impression of old England when the choir appears.
Last track I Will Be There
is quite up-tempo and a little jazzy in style. It has the Genesis feel again,
but this is more a riff type song.
This is a nice sample of what is to come, but I will be interested to hear the album in full,
but on this offering, it promises to be an outstanding piece of music.
----- 5/05 - Danny Mayo Hairless Heart Herald
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Album Nederland 2005
Er wordt zoveel muziek uitgebacht dat origineel zijn bijna onmogelijk geworden is. En toch vind je af en toe een groep die zijn eigen geluid weet te produceren. Het probleem is daarenboven dat het ook niet altijd gemakkelijk is om originaliteit te appreciëren. De kans is groot dat je het niet goed vindt en aan de kant schuift zonder het een tweede kans te geven. Veel managers misten een hoop geld door hun verkeerde inschatting. Ik beweer nu niet dat ik een nieuwe Yes, Genesis of Beatles ontdekt heb maar het blijkt dat ik, toen ik de EP “Me, the Enemy” van de Nederlandse groep Fluxury besproken heb, hun muziek ook niet helemaal begrepen had. Alle vijf de nummers van die EP staan nu op dit album “perishable Goods” maar ze klinken plots een stuk beter. (hoewel mijn bespreking toen ook helemaal niet negatief was). Heb ik ze nu beter leren kennen of klinken ze beter als je ze hoort binnen het concept van deze CD? Ik ben het niet zeker maar wat ik wel zeker ben is dat dit een heel speciaal schijfje is.
Drie lead zangeressen (zelfs vier: want Marjon Bolck wordt enkel vermeld naast de tekst van het titelnummer en niet in de muzikantenlijst) en één zanger is iets waar veel groepen jaloers op mogen zijn. En de originaliteit komt voor een groot deel door die vocalen. Bijna elke zanglijn stapt af van de conventionele lijn die je verwacht, dus het vraagt wel enkele luisterbeurten om hieraan te wennen. Maar eens je zover bent, voel je dat iedere dissonantie die je de eerste keer hoorde, eigenlijk helemaal niet dissonant is. De stemmen hebben een jazzy gevoel, dus het zou me niet verbazen indien hun roots in die wereld terug te vinden zijn.
De muziek volgt hetzelfde stramien, met soms prachtige solos en riffs die zoals in elk goed concept album dikwijls terugkeren op verschillende plaatsen in verschillende vermommingen.
Bij iedere beluistering, ontdek je wel iets nieuws. Het openingsnummer “Me, the Enemy”, bijvoorbeeld, opent met een piano riff terwijl de gitaar en keyboards er iets totaal anders doorheen weven. Soms, zoals in de kalme ‘bridge’ is er een soort canon tussen de instrumenten en de zang. Wat gezongen werd in een vorig stukje, wordt nu overgenomen door een instrument, terwijl de zang met iets nieuws begint. En zo zijn er zeker nog verbanden die ik nog niet ontdekt heb. Ik blijf dus maar luisteren en graven in de wereld van Fluxury.
Het titelnummer start als een funky, jazzy soulnummer, gaat over in een instrumentale semi ballad met mooie gitaar en piano partijen, keert terug naar het funky gedeelte en eindigt als een ware symfonische rocksong. De tien minuten vliegen voorbij in een paar seconden.
Een ander voorbeeld van de vele ‘links’ zijn “Nothing’s safe” en “Heaven and Hell”, twee nummers die eerst helemaal nieuw lijken maar na een paar keer hoor je dat ze referenties bevatten naar bjna alle vorige nummers van het album.
Een groots album, hoewel ik een beetje schrik heb dat niet iedereen het de kans zal geven om te groeien. Ik genoot in ieder geval van elke seconde.
There’s so much music released these days that being original isn’t easy. And yet, from time to time, you can find a band that produces its own sound. The problem is however, it’s not easy to appreciate the originality either. It’s possible you don’t like it and you put it aside without giving it a second chance. Many managers missed a lot of money because of their ignorance. I’m not claiming to have found the newest Yes, Genesis or Beatles but I certainly didn’t fully understand this music when I reviewed the EP “Me, the Enemy” from this Dutch band Fluxury. Although all 5 tracks of that EP are now on this full album “perishable Goods”, they suddenly sound a lot better. Is it because I listened to them more often now or because they sound better when they are played within this concept album? I don’t really know but this album is something special.
Three female lead vocals (even four: Marjon Bolck is only mentioned next to the lyrics and not in the musicians list) and one male vocal is something a lot of bands will envy. And the originality mainly comes from the vocals. Almost every vocal melody steps beside the conventianal line you would expect, so it takes quite a few auditions to get used to them. But once you do, you feel that every dissonance you heard the first time is in fact not dissonant at all. The vocals all have a jazzy feeling, so it wouldn’t surprise me if their roots are lying in that musical direction.
The music follows a bit the same feeling, with from time to time some beautiful solos and riffs that as in every good concept album return often in different places in different disguises.
Every time you hear it, you discover something new. For example, the opening track “Me, the Enemy”, opens with a piano riff while the guitar and keyboards play something different. Sometimes, as in the quiet bridge of this track, there’s some sort of canon between the instruments and the vocals. What was sung in the previous piece is now taken over by an instrument while the vocals do something new. I’m sure there are some other links, I haven’t discovered yet, so I keep on listening and I keep on digging into the world of Fluxury.
The title track starts as a funky, jazzy soul song, changes into an instrumental semi ballad with great piano and guitar parts, returns to the funky part and ends as a real symphonic rocksong. The ten minutes flew by in a few seconds.
Another example of the multiple links are “Nothing’s safe” and “Heaven and Hell”, two tracks that at first seem new but after a few times you hear that they contain references to all the previous songs of the album.
So a great album, although I’m a bit afraid that not everybody will give it the opportunity to grow. I liked every minute of it.
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Flemmish (Original)
FLUXURY "Me, the enemy" EP Nederland 2005
Fluxury is een nieuwe groep uit Nederland, hoewel, ze bestaan eigenlijk al sedert het jaar 2000. Sommige groepen hebben het moeilijk om een zanger te vinden, maar Fluxury vond zomaar drie goede zangeressen, “what a (f)luxury”.
Hoewel ze een eigen sound hebben, zijn er toch een aantal invloeden te ontdekken in hun nummers. Hun muziek doet me dikwijls denken aan Gentle Giant en de combinatie van de muziek en de zang klinkt af en toe zoals Renaissance.
De productie kon beter, maar misschien komt daar verandering in voor hun full album dat later dit jaar nog verschijnt. Het duurt wel even voordat je de nummers leert kennen, maar eens je ze gewoon wordt, vind je enkele prachtige stukken op deze EP. Vooral de instrumentale gedeeltes zijn van een hoge kwaliteit. Me, The Enemy
opent met zo’n voortreffelijk instrumentaal stukje en staat bol van de afwisseling. Prachtige progressieve muziek met mooie kalmere stukken maar ik houd niet onmiddellijk van de zanglijnen. Marjolein is een zeer goede zangeres, maar ze heeft het moeilijk met de niet zo eenvoudige zangmelodie en dit probleem doet zich nog een paar keer voor op deze EP. De drie zangeressen hebben alledrie prachtige stemmen maar ik verkies toch de zang van Patricia Beerens tijdens After the Revolution
, een mooie ballad.
Het probleem met de zanglijnen blijft tijdens Nothing’s safe
, vooral de uitvoering van Jos lijkt eronder te lijden. Hij is misschien een goede zanger, maar tijdens dit nummer haalt hij toch niet het beste uit zichzelf naar boven. En toch moet ik de groep bewonderen voor de poging om op een onconventionele manier te zingen in plaats van de zanglijnen te gebruiken die iedereen verwacht en waarmee iedereen onmiddellijk kan meezingen.
Light of Other Days
is mijn favoriete nummer van de EP. Wat een schitterende instrumentale start, met prachtig gitaar en keyboardspel. Indien alle nummers van deze hoge kwaliteit waren, dan zou hun te verschijnen album Perishable Goods
fantastisch worden. Afwachten dus!!!
Fluxury is another new band from The Netherlands, well, new, they already exist since the year 2000. Some bands are hardly able to find a vocalist, but Fluxury found three good female singers, what a (f)luxury.
Although they have a sound of their own, there are a lot of influences to discover in their songs. The music makes me think of Gentle Giant and the combination of the music with the vocals sounds a lot like Renaissance.
The production could have been better, but maybe this will change on the full album that will be released later this year. It takes a while to get to know the tracks, but once you get used to them, there are some great pieces on this EP. Especially the instrumental parts are of a high quality. Me, The Enemy
opens with such a delicious instrumental piece and is full of variation. Excellent progressive music with lovely quieter parts, but I don’t particularly like the vocal lines. Although Marjolein is a great singer, she seems to have a bit of trouble with the difficult vocal melody and this isn’t the only track on this EP with the same problem. The three female singers all have great voices, but I prefer the performance by Patricia Beerens on After the Revolution
, a beautiful ballad.
The problem with the vocal lines remains during Nothing’s safe
, especially the performance of Jos seems to suffer with that problem. Maybe he’s a good singer, but on this track he doesn’t perform at his best. Although I have to admire the band in trying some unconventional singing instead of the vocal lines that everyone would expect and everybody could sing along right away.
Light of Other Days
is my favourite of this EP. What an awesome instrumental start, with some great guitar and keyboard playing. If all their tracks were of this epic quality, their coming album Perishable Goods
would be superb.
----- 23/5/5 Danny Focke
Dmitri M. Epstein (DME)
FLUXURY "perishable goods" Album Nederland 2005
The music to sink into the kitchen-sink reality. Don't get lulled, though!
Subtitled "Part One of The Privacy Suite", the Dutch band's second album offers a strange journey.
The music sucks a listener into an anti-Utopian world that is all our own, a sonic tapestry where "After The Revolution" sweeps away a bad dream
only to let the title track's frivolous ska dance and rumba-like rhythm of the opening "Me, The Enemy" paint a road into a terrorist's psyche - first, without a hint of anxiety, but then, the tension grows.
The world is complex and so is the music, a tight net of guitar and keyboards with Patricia Beerens' gentle voice inside.
It's impossible to not get caught and go with the classical flow - oh the chamber harmonies of "Heaven And Hell" and "Light Of Other Days"! - so the concentration is not recommended.
Relaxation, too - for that's the trap our civilization's falling into, and, by reflecting this tendency through fairy-tale vignettes and recurring themes,
the band achieve much more than they seemed to plan when they embarked on this journey.
At the end of it, one is changed and awaken. In the state of alert until Part Two comes along? But will it come at all?
Dmitry M. Epstein (DME)
FLUXURY "Me, the enemy" EP Nederland 2005
No self-loathing, only shapes of things to come.
Four years down the line since "Lunar Escape Velocity", the Dutch combo strike again, and strike hard.
While the previous album was all understated music, the follow-up looms large,
with this EP the first bite of its taste. Five songs herein aren't of the same caliber,
the title piece packing a mighty punch in the piano dance shot through with guitar slabs and vocals
that grow out of synth line, big in a classic prog rock way.
The band's proclivity to get all reflective is still here, though: After The Revolution
lulls and caresses,
its flow palatable even to those whose choice is pop mainstream. Or even classical,
as suggests Light Of Other Days
, where male / female harmonies and bass / piano interplay
hint on RENAISSANCE influence. Impressive. The appetite's whetted - serve up the main course now.
FLUXURY "Me the Enemy" Ltd. EP Netherlands 2005
'Me the Enemy
' takes off in classic progressive landscape mid-flight
right at the outset with accentuated lines and an understated melody
slowly developing over a backdrop of thoughtful and sharply sincere guitar.
Female vocals rise from the midst and begin to really let this tune
soar. Recalling all the fine songstresses of a beautiful future past,
she crests from this here hill, quieting down for a moment to let the
song soften up before serving delicately lilting lyrics upon a cloudy
precipice. This is further book-ended by heavenly notes being held in a
loose fashion with ripely tasteful instrumentation before her voice
clutches the words to be spurned out over a driving heavy progressive
, flaring at the edges and bearing all the earmarks of how a
crescendo should be delivered: hot on a roll and buttered
'After the revolution
', tingling in with piano flourishes, introduces a
romantic delivery. . . dreamy and soft to the touch. Cymbals of light
tinkles belie the crushed guitar chords piercing in from the back of the
mix as we alternate between swooning versus weaving in and out of the
ocean created by the song. A very expansive feeling gotten from his one.
Nodding with thicker washes of synth (which have been actually taking
place all along) a syncopated ballad becomes the heart of an opus
delivery from the outfit. After two minutes, one feels that they have
already run along with the breeze in 'Light of other Days
'. The halfway
point demarcated what would normally be in the middle of a side-long
track. Over the span of six minutes, Fluxury has caught in its satchel
what has taken progressive bands of the past an entire twenty minutes to
. Replete with a chorus of male voices and sinuous
interrogatory, like condensed milk, this is packed with sweet flavor.
Some jagged rocky beat stutters in right in afterwards showing a
vibrancy full stride and aglitter with mesmerizing skyscape. Again,
fluidity reigns supreme with another good dose of manna fired up saucer
style. The band has netted the true sensibility of progressive rock
a short track, 'I Will be There
Closing out this titillating set
is a crunchy heavy-guitar and more
interloped vocals from the a nice female voice taking care of the
duties. Jos has informed that this material is being polished and
revamped to the proper form that is envisioned in the group's collective
creative head for the 2005 release. We should all await this crew's
output with bated breath, they are pulling off a forward-moving
renaissance from the master styles we adore
from the past. If you like
expertly executed expressive and emotional music, Fluxury has your
and they will be on sale soon. After the fact, the title of this
will surely ring true in saying that 'Nothing's Safe
', it will also
apply to our sensibilities - am I having a flashback or has the world
opened up a time-warp for them to jump through and express the heart of
heady music discovered during the 70's by many a now worshipped group
breathing life into music again while reaching for the stars?
---- - 3/05 - Cesar Montesano Gnosis
Fluxury: Me, The enemy (CD-EP, Nederland, 2005, Privat, 23:14
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Norwegian (Original)
In Tarkus 21 I reviewed the debut of a young Dutch group - the playing was somewhat amateurish but nevertheless I noticed their talent. They spent 3 year below surface, using their time well.
On this EP they present 5 tracks - alternative mixes from the full album they will release later this year. They play symphonic-oriented creative popmusic with lots of uneven rhythms and breaks and progressive finds, nicely exemplified by the seven minutes piece Nothing's safe
. That song has a similar musical atmosphere as the work of Matthew Parmenter (Discipline etc.). At the same time the melody building reminds me of the amazingly exiting English Duo Stars in Battledress.
Fluxury still has a way to go, not in the least in the production, but personally I find it much more satisfying to listen to an unsigned band such as Fluxury, a band with ideas and the will and power to find their own way, than to a smoothly polished, accomplished band with competence, but no originality.
Give Fluxury a couple of year time, and if they manage to stick to it, we have a fantastic group.
I Tarkus nr 21 anmeldte vi debutskiva til dette unge nederlandske bandet - en rett sŒ amat¿rmessig innspilling, men ikke uten spor av talent. NŒ har de fŒtt et par-tre Œr til pŒ baken, og de har benyttet tiden godt.
PŒ denne EPen har de inkludert fem spor, alternative mikser av lŒter fra albumet som kommer senere i sommer. De spiller en slags symfonisk anlagt kreativ popmusikk med innslag av alt fra odde rytmer til overtydelige progressive vendinger, ikke minst i den snaut sju minutter lange Nothing's Safe
. Denne lŒta har mye av det samme musikalske stemningsbildet som Matthew Parmenter (Discipline etc,) skaper, samtidig som melodikonstruksjonene minner meg mye om den utrolig spennende engelske duoen Stars In Battledress.
Fluxury har enda et stykke vei Œ gŒ, ikke minst nŒr det gjelder produksjon, men personlig finner jeg det enormt mye mer givende Œ lytte til et uferdig band som Fluxury, et band som har ideer og tilstrekkelig vilje og evne til ikke Œ gŒ pŒ akkord med dem, enn glattpolerte, ferdigtygde band med kompetanse, men uten originalitet.
Gi Fluxury et par Œr til, klarer de Œ beholde entusiasmen, har vi et knall band!
- - - - - Sven 25-05-2005
Fluxury––Me, The Enemy, Independent, 2005
Fluxury returns with a solid follow-up to its previous outing 2002’s Lunar Escape Velocity.
The band’s cut down the running time of this release by more than half,
focusing its energies on solid compositions and fine performances
(Patricia Beerens delivers an aural feast on “After The Revolution”).
Of equal note is “Nothing’s Safe,” an orchestral-esque number that calls to mind peak era King Crimson
and allows guitarists Mattijs de Jong and John Reker to shine especially loud.
Fluxury has made a strong record with this five-tune release and it seems inevitable that
the band will only grow from here.
Fluxury: Me, The enemy
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Italian (Original)
anybody wanna try and translate this to english?
Il caso dei Fluxury dovrebbe essere didascalico per molti gruppi, debuttanti o meno.
L’esordio “Lunar escape velocity” era tutt’altro che eccezionale, e infatti a suo tempo lo recensii muovendo
alcune doverose critiche. Il folto combo olandese non s’è perso d’animo: ha lavorato duro, modificando, guarda caso,
proprio gli aspetti deboli che avevo segnalato; infine, a distanza di qualche anno, è tornato nuovamente a chiedere
il mio giudizio. Quanta differenza rispetto a certi artisti, soprattutto (dispiace dirlo, ma è la verità) italiani,
con i quali, se solo t’azzardi ad avanzare un mezzo suggerimento costruttivo, è automatico ritrovarti cassato dal
successivo giro promozionale!
Il miniCD “Me, the enemy” funge da apripista per un full-length CD di prossima pubblicazione.
Ebbene, come già detto, rispetto al passato il progetto appare sensibilmente cresciuto, in quanto sfrondato dai
vecchi dubbi e incertezze. Il primo particolare che balza all’attenzione è il riassetto delle parti vocali:
cosa non da poco, visto che proprio lì si concentrava il grosso dei problemi. E così l’inusuale trama melodica
della title-track ben supporta il valido, classico prog ivi racchiuso (vedi Fruupp e Gentle Giant),
confortato da tempi dispari all’altezza. La breve “After the revolution”, costruita attorno alla splendida voce
di Patricia Beerens, combina quel piacevole e agile prog, tipico dei Paesi Bassi, agli accenti neocanterburiani
degli Utopian Fields, mentre il corposo riff chitarristico di “Nothing’s safe” svela passaggi tonalità la
King Crimson, mentre gli stranianti cantati (di Marjoloein van Tongeren e Jos Witsenburg) ricordano i nostri
Area e Deus Ex Machina. Il mio pezzo preferito è tuttavia “Light of other days”: pur con i Gentle Giant di
“Three friends” dietro l’angolo, ammalia la tenue melodia folkish, molto suggestiva (qui la vocalist è
Thea van Rijen), ed azzeccati sono i controcanti maschili.
L’incisione è ancora abbastanza artigianale, ma ciò inficia poco o nulla il giudizio complessivo;
d’altronde non è certo colpa del gruppo l’appartenere per ora alla categoria low-budget.
Il cammino è stato fatto nella giusta direzione: aspettiamo con fiducia gli sviluppi futuri.
Fluxury: Perishable goods
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Italian (Original)
anybody wanna try and translate this to english?
Dopo le più che buone premesse contenute nel miniCD “Me, the enemy”, i Fluxury confermano in pieno i loro passi in avanti con questo lavoro sulla lunga distanza.
Peraltro, tutti i pezzi della precedente release sono qui ripresentati: se ve ne interessa una disamina più approfondita, potete andare a leggervi la mia recensione di qualche mese fa.
Occupiamoci dunque delle nuove tracce.
“Safety first” riecheggia fin dal titolo l’ormai nota “Nothing’s safe”, e come in quella sono basilari le oscure dissonanze crimsoniane, condite da validi impasti vocali.
Il breve strumentale “Surrender” sviluppa raffinate trame su un tappeto tastieristico ambient, e le dolci soavità di “Dust settled down” confermano che Fluxury non grida mai sgangheratamente, ma al contrario ama lavorare di cesello su strutture canterburiane e romantiche a metà strada fra Caravan e Camel, con intelligenti variazioni ritmiche.
Il top è forse raggiunto nei dieci minuti di “Perishable goods”, dove la tenue partenza è presto sfregiata da ottimi squarci di chitarra elettrica che a loro volta si placano in begli accordi di pianoforte, sfocianti in una frazione elegiaca che mi ha ricordato la Locanda delle Fate.
Tale schema, poi ripetuto, è globalmente ben articolato.
Citazione d’obbligo pure per l’altra suite “Heaven and hell”, che risolve in chiave sinfonica e nel contempo accessibile - vedi Genesis - i temi ascoltati altrove, fornendoci dunque la prova tangibile che la struttura concept del lavoro non è pretestuosa, venendo applicata in modo degno all’apparato musicale e non solo a quello testuale.
Il salto di qualità dal punto di vista programmatico è già stato fatto; un’ulteriore evoluzione potrebbe verosimilmente aversi con una produzione più ricca, per cui auguro ai Fluxury che il mercato discografico si accorga di loro, perché se lo meritano.
Fluxury: Me, The enemy
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Italian (Original)
anybody wanna try and translate this to english?
In un ambito come quello del rock sinfonico, dove ormai sono riconosciuti universalmente dei canoni più o meno precisi da seguire, risulta oggigiorno sempre più difficile, nonché improbabile, imbattersi in qualche artista che riesce a personalizzare il proprio stile allontanandosi da qualsiasi tentativo di imitazione dei grandi dei seventies o del new-prog più classico.
Eppure, ogni tanto, ci si trova di fronte a qualche lavoro che presenta qualche particolarità che lo fa discostare da qualsiasi tipo di clichè.
E' sicuramente questo il caso di Perishable goods, recente album degli olandesi Fluxury.
Questa band parte da un sound di base molto romantico e carico di feeling, come si poteva intravedere negli anni d'oro nei vari Genesis, Camel e negli stessi King Crimson, senza dimenticare anche i Gentle Giant più “diretti”.
Gli intrecci strumentali sono eseguiti e studiati con abilità e il prog si mantiene sempre flessuoso ed accattivante, donando emozioni senza mai risultare banale.
A volte calda, a volte più oscura, la musica viaggia in molteplici dimensioni senza mai perdere di omogeneità. La caratteristica che maggiormente può far risultare peculiare la proposta dei Fluxury, poi, è senza dubbio l'utilizzo di melodie vocali molto particolari, che mi fanno ricordare un po' certe atmosfere tipiche di alcuni gruppi statunitensi cervellotici come Thinking Plague e U Totem.
Ma non temano gli appassionati di rock sinfonico che non riescono ad andare oltre un certo tipo di romanticismo ed hanno “paura” di sonorità un po' troppo complesse: la musica dei Fluxury si mantiene sempre fluida ed orecchiabile, non perdendo mai un certo feeling che la rende assimilabile con facilità.
Dodici le tracce; la band dimostra di saperci fare sia sulla breve distanza (alcuni brani hanno un minutaggio davvero molto contenuto), sia quando la loro performance va oltre i sei minuti.
Un insieme sonoro affascinante, ricco di colori (come il booklet di accompagnamento), alla ricerca di una forte personalità e che può ulteriormente crescere. Vedremo cosa i Fluxury ci riserveranno in futuro; io sono curiosissimo di saperlo…
Feedback fanzine, issue 86 (09-02-2006): FLUXURY "perishable goods"
The thing that one notices more than anything else when listening to Dutch band Fluxury for the first time is the power and depth of the arrangements.
There appear to be numerous layers, which must have taken a long time to create, yet there is also a simplicity which is beguiling and entranching.
Singer Marjolein van Tongeren has a wonderful tone to her voice, warm and passionate with great control and a strong range, but behind her vocals the band are in total control – either playing delicately and gently or bringing all of their strenghts to bear.
This is a solid gold prog album but although one can say that there are elements of Gentle giants, BJH or Genesis, they really have very much their own sound.
It is interesting to compare them to our own Magenta as while both have female singeres and similar musical line-ups that is all that links them as this music is far more gentle – not exactly laid back but more of 'come to here to listen to what we are doing' as opposed to throwing it hard in the face.
It would be interesting to see how they play live as either they must have a second keyboard player on board or Jan Kuipers is going to have to grow two more arms as piano is important to their overall sound as synth, but they can still punch it out when they want to, say on "I will be there".
All of the lyrics are in English, and there is even an 'epic' with the title cut coming in a just over ten minutes long.
Overall an excellent prog album with a lot going for it.
Harmonie Magazine 56 page 55: FLUXURY "perishable goods"
Sous-titré Part one of the privacy suite, cette petite galette sans prétention assimile pas mal de tics progressifs qui sont chers aux aficionados.
Une voix doucereuse et andersonienne plus naïve (!), des accords se chevauchant sans s'abîmer, un air de Caravan associé à une vague ressemblance du Landberk des deux permiers albums, sauvent le mauvais jugement que la pochette désastreuse avait tristement intronisé dans le chapitre << autoproductions à deuxballes >>.
Et bien, la surprise n'en est que meilleure. Indéfinissable donc éminemment progressif, Fluxury part dans touted les directions qu'un progressif ensorcelant lui permet.
Trente ans d'histoire vous contemplent.
Trois lead vocals don’t deux femmes, deux claviéristes, un petit air d'Esperanto, ce groupe protéiforme des seventies puisque Fluxury annonce pas moins de dix membres effectifs en son sein, sans additionels de rigeur pour un air de flûte par-ci ou un coup d'archet par-là !
Groupe hollandais existant depuis 2001, Fluxury sous la houlette de son maître à jouer, Jan Kuipers, a déjà montré son talent sur de nombreuses scènes en compagnie de Flamborough head, Salmon, Ulysses ou For Absent Friends.
C'est pourtant son premier véritable album et le riche site internet qui les abrite, rend compte d'une actualité foisonnante.
Seuls existe un mini CD quatre titres, Me, the enemy, et un album démo passé inaperçu ou presque en 2001, Lunar escape velocity.
Encore un groupe pas connu qui semble l'être au premier coup d'œil et surtout . . . d'oreille car comment passer outre un si bel ouvrage ?!! Les petites pièces symphoniques orientées progsongs vont faire des ravages chez les prog-addicts.
Des influences allant de Procol Harum à Gentle Giant en passant par Ennio Morricone et les Nits, voici un incongru salmigondis qui trouve sa vraisemblance dès la première écoute.
Je me rends compte que notre cher fanzinat français n'a jamais parlé de Fluxury, seul Prog Résiste, des Belges je le rappelle, ont fait la critique du Lunar escape velocity en son temps.
Un oubli que la beauté de Perishable goods va réparer fort à propos, je n'en doute pas !
Heureuse découverte qui prouve que la redite a du bon quand elle est faite avec soin, goût et envie, trois raisons d'écouter encore et toujours du rock progressif !!
FLUXURY "perishable goods"
(59:09, Privatpressung, 2005)
Es ist nicht unbedingt ein schlechtes Zeichen, wenn eine CD zum wiederholten Male angehört werden muss, nur damit man irgendwie einen entsprechenden Zugang zu dieser findet.
Fluxury sind mal wieder einer dieser Kandidaten.
„Perishable goods“ gehört zu jenen Alben, bei denen man erst einmal nach der passenden gedanklichen Orientierung und Zuordnung sucht.
Dies liegt keineswegs daran, dass die insgesamt 10-köpfige Band einen ungenießbaren Stilmix auffährt, sondern deren vordergründig meist angenehmen Klänge und durchaus gut anhörbare Sounds und Ideen wirken zwar zuerst eher unspektakulär, dennoch keineswegs unoriginell und erschließen sich eben erst nach mehrmaligem Anhören.
Wahrscheinlich fängt die eigene mentale Verwirrung bereits mit dem Cover an, das mehr nach Techno und Elektronik ausschaut, als dass man hier nun progressive Rockmusik in irgendeiner Ausprägung vermutet.
Weiter geht es mit der stilistischen Ausrichtung, die zwar hauptsächlich auf die mehr sinfonische Progressive Rock Schiene setzt, jedoch irgendwie einen Spagat zwischen Moderne und Retro schafft, der mal mehr im Neo/Retro Prog Fahrwasser schippert, verquere Passagen unterstreut, dann aber auch wieder mit einem anspruchsvollen Pop-/Rockansatz überrascht.
Ebenfalls ungewöhnlich: Fluxury verfügt über eine recht unorthodoxe Besetzungsliste: neben der Rhythmustruppe sorgen gleich drei(!) Sänger/innen für stimmliche Abwechslung, drei Gitarristen und 2x Keyboards gehören auch nicht zum alltäglichen Bild eines „normalen“ Band Line-Ups.
Jedoch ist von dieser instrumentellen „Überbesetzung“ klanglich eigentlich nichts zu hören, vielmehr bleiben Fluxury im traditionellen Klangbereich verwurzelt.
Die eigentliche Überraschung bei Fluxury ist der Ansatz, komplexe bzw. schräge Strukturen für den Zuhörer in einer zugänglichen Dosis zu verabreichen.
In sehr eigenständiger Umsetzung überwiegen zwar die sinfonischen und mehrheitlich harmonischen Ansätze, doch hinterrücks schleichen sich immer wieder ungewöhnliche Passagen ein, verfallen Fluxury eben nicht nur in allseits bekannte Schemen.
Gerade dadurch fordert „Perishable goods“ geradezu auf, sich genauer mit diesem Album zu beschäftigen.
Und so entdeckt man dann beim wiederholten Anhören sorgfältig eingewobene mehrstimmige Gesangspassagen, klassische Strukturen, aber auch andere Assoziationen, die schließlich in der Erinnerung haften bleiben.
Leider schleicht sich zwischendurch ebenfalls eher überraschungsarmes Material ein, das dieses Album wieder in eine ganz andere Richtung zieht.
Alles in allem ist „Perishable goods“ zwar sinfonisch und vordergründig eher zugänglich angelegt, wer aber mit gewissen Kniffen und nicht immer sofort durchschaubaren Überraschungen leben kann, sollte sich mal an dieser holländischen Formation versuchen.
Album Title: Perishable Goods
Translated It - En: Marco Piva
Fluxury from the Netherlands...
The Dutch quintet called Fluxury was born in 1987 from the keyboardist Jan Kuipers and the bassist Jos Witsenburg, who together want to try to invent something new in rock music. A challenging task, with everything that has been played, composed and released, but a very positive attitude to start well. Presently, besides the two founding members, the line-up is formed by young Jetse van der Moolen on guitars, Stelios Kalis on drums and Susan Heijen on vocals. At the time of the release of “Perishable Goods”, their fifth album – absolutely self-released, and dated to no less than three years ago – their line-up was still mutating and various musicians had been playing with the band, such as the three vocalists Patricia Beerens, Thea van Rijen and Marjolein van Tongeren, or the guitarists Mattijs de Jong, Eric Verbruggen and John Reker.
Despite a sound production not too crystal-clear, Fluxury still manage to play a pleasant progressive rock, rich in fluid melodies from Genesis’s romantic school and in dream-like, bucolic visions hanging between Renaissance and Curved Air – an impression given also by the female vocals, quiet, sweet, reminding of Annie Haslam’s best performances – or clear like Sonja Kristina’s. The record is a crescendo of songs that slowly slip in and make themselves likeable, starting slowly with “Me, the Enemy” followed by “After the Revolution”, “Safety First”, “Light of Other Day” and “I Will Be There”. Then comes the title-track, “Perishable Goods”, over 10 minutes long, and it is a prog-fest without exaggerations and with no virtuoso-like showing off. Everything remains within boundaries and it is functional to the song’s melody, to the instrumental plot, to the building of this heap full of romanticism.
To close, two songs in pure progressive style with strong hints to the Genesis of the baroque and classic period. “Nothing’s Safe” and “Heaven and Hell”, guitars and keyboards taking the lead to conclude the epic Fluxury narrate us in this record. A good record with which Fluxury get to bear the palm of the best Dutch new-progressive band along with the already well known Flamborough Head.
Lunar escape velocity
fluxury debut album, 2001
Jan Kuipers (Fluxury): composers analysis
Thematic alchemy is THE motivation for the music of Fluxury. Not form but content matters. Fluxury is not symfonic as in pompous, with simple & recognizable symfonic or orchestral elements. It is symfonic because it explores techniques of melody-building and complex harmonics. A reminder of finer things: the age of the great romantic composers like Brahms and Rachmaninov. But the achievements of Jazz & Pop are sources of inspiration for Fluxury to.
The 22 songs on 'Lunar escape velocity' form a symfony with contrasting main- and counter-themes, functioning as repeated leit-motivs, evolving throughout. They return at places where you'd least expect them. The most interesting part of a classic symfony is the development section: it's where the main-themes combine and new inventions take place. Throughout our symfony many possible combinations of the main themes and motivs were explored, finding order where none was before. Themes and fragments of themes dance around eachother. The central Fluxury-theme is transformed throughout the album. Insignificant details suddenly explode the music into very different directions.
: A soundcollage. The Fluxury-main-theme is inextricably bound up with the space-background. If you listen carefully you can hear it (minor tonescale) and it's transformation into major scale (Volatile main-theme) played together by the horns. It shows one aspect of the word Fluxury: the chaotic interplay of billions of small particles leading to the formation of an ordered and beautiful systems. Our world and life itself are examples of systems that came about like that.
: This is one long melody without repetition of couplets / refrains. But: every musical sentence is immediately repeated once. Other elements that bring about the unreal feel are sudden jumps between tone-scales or rhythmic measures (from 4/4 to 5/4 and back again). It takes time to get used to: it obeys only its own internal logic. This is another aspect of Fluxury: let the music flow and evolve into undiscovered territories, just for the fun of it.
: As a contrast a simple pop-song with only on occasion a strange chord or counter-melody. At the ending it has a nice development section right into the climax.
: It begins with chaotic sounds which I like to think of as micro-objects, such as: atoms, molecules or bacteria. Endlessly varying, affluently swirling, building up into a climax. The beginning is rather complex, acting as an introduction, gradually gaining momentum until finally the Fluxury-maintheme appears, a beacon of order. After 'Introduction', this is the next step in the evolution of the Fluxury-idea.
: The Volatile-theme is a major tone-scale transformation of the Fluxury-theme. Volatile has a simple standard popsong form: alternating couplets and refrains but it is a musical fractal: couplet and refrain both contain alternating micro-couplet and micro-refrain. The ending contains an interesting development of the Volatile-theme. The fractal-nature of the world is another facet of the word Fluxury.
Lunar escape velocity
: It's about gravity, not just of massive objects, also gravity of ideas, gravity of love, of life. This short jazzy song, like Unreality, has no repetitions, and it ends in chaos. How unreal can you get?
Lookup (a capella)
: The introduction to Lookup, sung a capella by 3 voices.
: With its powerfull theme in 7/4-measure and its sharp interuptions by piano-bass-motiv, this is a difficult piece to play. In the long instrumental passage, the development of the 7/4-theme leads to the reprise of the refrain, which is extended, giving a nice feeling of accomplishment.
Remember a face
: It starts, again, with micro-objects, to indicate that the Remember-theme is the second theme of the symfony. In the development-section it's immediately combined with motivs from the first part of 'Fluxury' ("Dreams like bats, dangling fragments), and like 'Fluxury' it gradually gains momentum. From the All I see-melody on it ends in a refrain which is another transformation of the Fluxury-theme.
: This is an agitated and restless song in which the augmented triad plays an important part. It's another 'standard' popsong but the female voice breaks through this simple scheme and dives into a repetition of one line: You could be full blown alive, a sinister ending.
I wanna remember
: A development from 'Remember a face'. The Remember-theme is combined with motivs of itself. The climax comes to early (so to speak) when a motiv of the guitar-accompaniment acts as a main-theme of itself.
: A little song of the form ABA, a pre-imitation of 'Snakecharmer setback'.
: Begins as 'something completely different': a jazzy piano-tune. It turns out to be a rather sinister development of Lookup.
: This song is entirely made up of material from other songs. It combines the minor Fluxury- and major Volatile-themes. The intro is a quick stretto of the two. In the first part the Fluxury-theme is accompanied by Volatile-motivs. The second part is yet another development of the Volatile-theme.
: A sad melody of two refrains. At the end of the second refrain there's a subtle chords change, followed by a relatively long instrumental coda.
: Like 'The sky' this song begins as a jazzy piano-tune. This time it turns out to be a development of the Fluxury-theme.
: Lots of new ideas here. There is a striking tango-rhythm, a walz and a return of the Shout-themes A and B (also combined). Like 'Fluxury' and 'Remember a face' this song builds up to a climax. In this case it's the return of the tango-rhythm accompanied by a baroque-like churchorgan-theme.
All I see
: An 'Introduction'-like piece in which only a rudiment of the 'Remember a face' melody can be heard.
Hope springs eternal
: Two refrains: the first has only strings and a jazzy bassguitar accompaniment which makes it sound very 'classical'. In the second refrain a piano-theme is introduced, a new dimension to the song.
: Like 'Urgent song', it's made entirely of other songs' material: fragments of 'Introduction'-sounds, of 'Fluxury' and 'Remember a face' and - as a reversed echo (or pre-imitation) - motivs from 'In silence we trust'. From waves on top of waves it builds-up-to-climax into 'In silence we trust' itself.
In silence we trust
: The grand finale of the symfony. The refrain Ships can disappear is the Fluxury-maintheme again.
: As an afterthought the 'Hope springs eternal' piano-theme is played once more, followed by an echo of the 'Introduction' sounds, giving the symfony a cyclic form. In this ending the Horn-motiv of song 'In silence we trust' can be heard in the distance one more time.
Jan Kuipers 2002
Jos Witsenburg (Fluxury): "Standing on the moon, looking up"
"Wonderful wonderful wonderful - that’s how beautiful, innovative and interesting Fluxury is. And I'm not just saying that because I'm in this group, trust me. Music categorization fetishists called Fluxury ‘progressive’, 'symfonic' or even 'Canterbury'. Relevant or not; if you enjoy free compositional creativity, you might enjoy Fluxury.
29 years after man last set foot on the moon, Fluxury released 'Lunar escape velocity'. It took us two years of livingroom-studio work to get here and it's accompanied by a series of concerts. ‘Lunar escape velocity’ contains 22 interconnected tracks spanning 70 sweet minutes. Now that’s what I call value for money (10 Euro).
The ‘Introduction’ takes you right into the pleasant kaleidoscopic sound-world of Fluxury. Then the album kicks off with the staccato ‘Unreality’ where Jan sings his life's motto. ‘Pretty perfect’ is arguably the poppiest track on the album. The central theme of ‘Fluxury’ lies at the heart of the album, hear it return in the atmospheric and brilliant ‘Urgent song’ and in the dreamlike 'Whisk away’. This returning of themes, in new combinations, contributes to the symfonic structure of the album. Likewise, the catchy theme of ‘Remember a face’ returns in ‘I wanna remember’ with its surprising kick-ass end, and in the horizontic ‘All I see’.
The sound of ‘Lunar escape velocity’ suggests Fluxury is no rockgroup: no walls of guitar here. But guitar IS important in Fluxury. Just listen to it's stories in ‘Volatile’, with 7:36 the longest track on the album. And how about the up-tempo rock of ‘Lookup’? on stage, these songs gravitate towards a more guitar-laden performance. True also for the darkish ‘Donkey bridge’ which was marked as ‘the single’ by some (there will be no such thing).
Titlesong 'Lunar escape velocity' is a poetic lounge-miniature about 'howling at the earth'. Fluxury lyrics tend to be outcries of people in strange situations or with new emotions. Listen for instance to the mellow ‘Tucked away’, depicting the innocent Jonas in a lonely and difficult moment. There's strong interplay between lyrics and music in Fluxury: during the composition process, the rhythm and tensions of the words often directs the music. inversely, the emotional content of a musical trouvaille can trigger lyrics.
The virginesque ‘Shout’ is an eerily contrasting preview to the sex-laden climax to ‘Lunar escape velocity’: ‘Snakecharmer setback’. The church-organ solo in this ecstatic track is of breathtaking beauty. At the same it's a challenge to a dancing audience: this song starts off as a tango, turns into a waltz and then returns to the tango.
The last four songs on the album are a melancholy goodbye. The poignant 'Hope springs eternal’ (the theme of which is the albums ‘Coda’) is followed by the psychedelic and desolate ‘Anonymous insomniac’ which turns out to be an orchestral announcement of the last song of the album, the grand finale: ‘In silence we trust’, showing a dark face of our society.
In the basement, Fluxury has a box with only 247 of the original 500 copies of ‘Lunar escape velocity’, so don't hesitate: order the CD today. If I didn't succeed to get you interested in the wonderfull world of Fluxury by now, 'then surely I have failed somehow', I'll have to try again at the next album.
Sal Pichireddu (Progressive Newsletter)
Progressive newsletter is an established German magazine dedicated to music with little chances in the music industry. It has high quality standards for reviews (with cover graphics) and interviews. Sal Pichireddu of PN got a bit confused about Fluxury and wrote an alarming review:
Fluxury - Lunar Escape Velocity (71:16, Eigenpressung, 2001)
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Deutsch (Original)
21st Century Symfonic Pop (sic!) - a strange selfdescription from the Netherlands, a remarkable CD from Holland. When I spoke with bandmember Jos Witsenburg he warned me: strange vocals, strange music - and he didn't lie: "Unreality" - what's with this crazy wailing? HALT; didn't Jos tell me they deliberately sang like that? Deliberately - weird... This music surely sounds strange but I'm not going to let that divert me from keeping an open mind. The second song: "Pretty perfect" sounds no better - the peculiar male voice is now assisted by a peculiar female voice - what is this stuff?
Slowly but surely a web of associations develops in my mind: Steve Harley? Gentle Giant? Caravan? The Nits? Really: the more I listen the more I'm involved in this unusual soundworld - Sometimes it's only demo-ish and then it sounds, how do they say: "Pretty perfect"? Pretty strange I say. Fluxury presents a rare and alienating mixture of independent genius and amateurism. I find it really very hard to typecast this record. But there's one thing this record surely isn't: average.
Let's assume this stuff is not intensionally 'dilettante' and at the same time let's assume that not everything here that sounds brilliantly astounding and sensational, fabulous, bold and shameless is intended as such. What should I do with this? Is it symfonic? Deviant symfo? I think it's not symfonic at all: it's Spartan. Surely this album has weakspots in the production and sure enough they should've left out a couple of songs but really: a comment like that doesn't honour this band's guts.
Admitted: not everything on this debut is equally succesfull and the obvious artistic ambition with which it was done is a little too rich - but Fluxury has real potential: give these guys ('n' gals) better technical possibilities and a producer who separates the wheat from the corn and Fluxury, with its concentrated and estranged sound, might cause furore in the European scene.
What's fascinating, truly fascinating about this album is precisely it's uniqueness. The style of Fluxury is way outside the mainstream, neither is it oriented on underground. Fluxury is really just: Fluxury! This group has what it takes to become 'the next big thing from the Netherlands', even though it's hard to know exactly what it is they've got. Aaah, if only the 70's were back, in those days Fluxury's experimental identity would not be down-judged with the antisceptic clinically perfect sound-criteria of today.
If you have just a grain of courage in your body, you'll buy this album for that insignificant 12 € (they even send it to you), not because it's a perfect album (no way....) - but because this is a sheer bravery - it's been a while since I last heard this kind of obstinate vocals combined with composed vocal harmony from a 'Young Emerging Band'. Instead of compromising for perfection, Fluxury cultivates imperfection. Hats off! It took a courageous group from Holland to remind me we do all this out of idealism and for the love of diversity -'we're not in it for the money'. (SP)
21st Century Symfonic Pop (sic!) - eine seltsame Selbstbeschreibung aus Holland, eine seltsame CD aus den Niederlanden. Schon beim Kontakt mit Bandcontact Jos Witsenburg wurde ich gewarnt, seltsame Vocals, seltsame Musik - der Eindruck scheint sich zu bestätigen, das Stück Unreality - ein schreckliches Geleier - doch halt, hatte mich Jos nicht vorgewarnt, dass hier absichtlich schräg gesungen wird? Absichtlich - kaum zu glauben... immerhin, die Musik klingt seltsam und schräg genug, ich schalte meine Ohren nicht auf Durchzug, sondern versuche offen zu bleiben. Auch beim nächsten Stück Pretty perfect klingt es nicht besser - immerhin diese seltsame Männerstimme wird durch eine seltsame Frauenstimme ergänzt - hey, was soll das eigentlich?
So langsam spanne ich ein Netz von Assoziationen:Steve Harley? Gentle Giant? Caravan? The Nits? Wahrlich, je länger ich hier zuhöre, desto mehr höre ich mich in diesen ganz besonderen Sound ein - einiges klingt einfach nur Demo-mäßig, anderes klingt, wie war das pretty perfect? Pretty strange würde ich eher sagen - Fluxury zelebriert förmlich eine seltsam befremdliche Mischung aus genialer Eigenständigkeit und grottenschlechter Amateurhaftigkeit, dass ich mich schwer tue, dieses Album einzuordnen. Nur eines ist das Album nie: gewöhnlich.
Gehen wir einmal davon aus, dass nicht alles hier gewollt dilettantisch klingt und gehen wir vielleicht auch davon aus, dass nicht alles, was hier genial befremdlich und sensationell, unerhört, frech, unverschämt klingt, auch an dieser Stelle so gemeint war. Was soll das hier? Symfonic? Symphonisch mit einem Schreibfehler? Symphonisch ist das aber nicht -eher spartanisch und natürlich hat das Album Schwächen in der Produktion, und natürlich hätte man einige Songs auch einfach weglassen können, aber würdige ich damit wirklich den Mut der Band?
Wahrlich, nicht alles ist auf diesem Erstling gelungen und man kann ihm förmlich die (etwas überzogene) künstlerische Ambition anhören, mit dem das Album eingespielt wurde - doch hinter Fluxury steckt ein großes Potential: Gebt diesen Jungs (und Mädels) die technischen Möglichkeiten und einen Produzenten, der die Spreu vom Weizen trennen kann und Fluxury könnte mit ihrem strangen, befremdlichen Sound in der europäischen Szene wahrhaft Furore machen.
Das faszinierende, das wirklich faszinierende an diesem Album, ist nämlich genau dieser eigene, sich nun wirklich nicht am Mainstream orientierende Sound, sich auch nicht am oppositionellem Sound orientierende Stil der Band, Fluxury ist eigentlich schon jetzt nur Fluxury! Was hier angedeutet und leider viel zu selten wirklich greifbar ist, ist ein Bandkollektiv mit dem Zeug für the next big thing aus den Niederlanden, freilich nur, wenn wir uns noch in den 70ern befinden würden und das experimentelle der Band nicht am antiseptischen, klinisch- perfektem Sound der Szene gemessen werden würde.
Wer auch nur ein paar Funken Mut in sich hat, der sollte sich das Album für schlappe 12 € Euro besorgen, nicht weil es rundum gelungen ist (denn das ist es nicht), sondern weil es so unglaublich mutig ist - schrägeres habe ich in Verbindung mit so (offenbar geplanten) Vocalharmonien schon lange nicht mehr von einer Young Emerging Band gehört - anstatt sich anzubiedern, kultiviert Fluxury das Imperfekte. Hats off, es bedurfte einer mutigen Band aus Holland, um mich daran zu erinnern, dass wir dies alles aus Idealismus und aus Liebe zur Vielfalt tun - we're not in for the money. (SP)
Sjef Oellers (Gnosis)
This first, independent CD release by the Dutch band Fluxury comprises almost 79 minutes of demo recordings spread out over 22 tracks. In first instance Lunar Escape Velocity may seem a collection of unrelated pop songs with a strong symphonic edge, but repeated listening reveals that the 22 tracks together form a long suite based on a classical symphony with various themes and motifs returning and evolving. Within this (loose) framework, the band presents an eclectic mix of pop and symphonic rock subtly spiced with psychedelic, jazzy and art rock elements. Throughout the CD there is a continuous tension between familiar pop/rock formats and more unusual compositional ideas, which gives Lunar Escape Velocity a fresh, ideosyncratic and unpredictable feel.
The first tracks may be a bit disorienting for anyone expecting archetypal symphonic progressive rock; after the short introduction which actually suggests hazy electronic music, the CD starts with a few tracks of whimsical arty pop with understated vocals and sparse sounding instrumentation, vaguely recalling both Kevin Ayers and The Nits. The two-part "Look up" may be the first familiar ground for the progressive rock listener. "Look up" starts with a nice a-capella intro, but soon it turns into up-tempo melodic progressive rock reminiscent of Caravan and Camel. The beautiful "Tucked away" with its melancholic vocals recalls Gentle Giant or Hinn Islenski Thursaflokkur.
The last five tracks seem to form a sub-identity on their own: "All I see" serves as a dreamy introduction to this mini-suite. "Hope springs eternal" is a rather gloomy, classical sounding piece with strings and piano dominating. "Anonymous insomniac" is clearly the highlight within the mini-suite; it is something of a sound collage of other pieces, but still manages to evoke an identity of its own. The piece starts with quiet washes of dreamy keyboard lines, which are replaced by a new orchestral sounding theme. Next, variations of themes from earlier tracks appear, again with this typical hazy, slightly unsettling sound that characterises much of the band’s sound on Lunar Escape Velocity.
This combination of (pseudo)orchestral and hazy psychedelic sounds slowly builds up to a climax of Beatles-esque orchestral mayhem. Excellent track.
The next piece "In silence we trust" sounds like a continuation of "Anonymous insomniac", but it lacks the hazy psychedelic elements and has a more direct and aggressive rock sound. "Coda" provides the CD with a short, moody ending with piano in the foreground (and musically referring back to both "All I see" and the introductory first track on the CD).
All in all, an ambitious debut that largely succeeds. However, I am not always pleased with the performance of the vocalists. The vocals sometimes sound a bit shaky and slightly out of tune. The band seems to be aware of this problem as they tried out a variety of vocalists (and combinations of vocalists) on the CD. In addition, the band produced the CD their-selves and in my opinion they did a decent job. Nonetheless, a more professional production might help the band to get the most out of the music. Lunar Escape Velocity contains refreshing music from a promising band that obviously doesn’t want to limit itself to safe areas of formalised progressive rock formulas.
Mike McLatchey (Gnosis)
Fluxury is a Dutch symphonic rock group that seems to have a cast of 11 musicians, although it's not clear how many of these play into the music at any given time. The music, over 22 (!) songs, presents a very relaxed and idiosyncratic music that reminds me of an updated version of English groups like England, Fruupp, Jonesy, etc. The comparison is meant to imply style rather than sonics, as Fluxury have a more updated sound. I can pick out at least two vocalists, one that reminds me of Supersister's and the high tenor is very close to that of Yezda Urfa's.
What's nice about Fluxury is they don't drown out their music with a ton of chorale or symphonic patches and usually the music is accompanied by piano which helps to underscore the understated complexity of the compositions. It's certain that Fluxury are taking a step sideways with their music, which is refreshing, while lacking a bit in the area of dynamics. Of course this is easy to pin with such a long CD, as initial listens will likely turn the entirety into a major blur. Which is a symptom of the length - I can't choose any particular track that stands out, although conversely, I can't pick out any bad ones either. However, Fluxury are certainly a group to keep an eye out on, with a tighter CD and more memorable compositions, something inevitable with time, interest is sure to develop.
Nigel Camilleri (Dutch Progressive Rock Pages)
Hailing from The Netherlands, Lunar Escape Velocity is the debut/demo album from Fluxury which wields an incredible array of diverse styles over the 22 songs on the album. Nowadays it is difficult and rare to come across a band, especially within the progressive rock realm, that manages to introduce a degree of freshness into the music they play. It is true that Fluxury have their roots and influences in the classical bands from the past, yet on the other hand they do not overtly demonstrate this by blatantly playing out similar pieces to their mentors. Instead the band have taken their music one step further and created a unique style.
The band have described their music as Symphonic Pop for the 21st century, yet in reality one could find it very difficult to accurately describe what they have to offer. First of all this is an album that requires a number of spins before getting used to, and even then with each listen the album seems to offer something completely different and original. The tracks flow into each other as particular tracks seem to act as bridges or fillers joining various segments of the album by presenting a series of sound effects or ambient moods together with the occasional melody line.
One of the first things to strike the listener is the odd vocals that Fluxury makes use off, most notably in their male vocalist who possesses one of the most unrock-like set of vocals that I have come across. In fact together with the female backing vocals the two present their vocals on a platform that at first sounds completely out of sync with the music, though as time passes everything literally falls into place and with every spin the album becomes that more accessible and dare I say it, commercial!
So who or what can Fluxury be compared to? In truth they are an extremely varied and eclectic bunch of musicians, much like Stackridge for example. Their complexity lies within the variety present on the album. At times the band delve into the folk scene, others have a more upbeat rock touch whilst on other tracks the music almost has a Zappa-like feel to it. Coming to think of it the male vocals very often possess that nasal monotone that Zappa would use when singing his own music! In fact there are two progressive rock legends whose music could be compared to that of Fluxury, and that would be Van Der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant. Humour is also a positive ingredient that can be found throughout the album, most notably the inclusion of a few notes from Chim-Chiminee from Mary Poppins on Anonymous Insomniac.
On of the main drawbacks the music seems to possess is that the percussion is almost all synthetic and thus lacks the necessary power and vibe that one finds when recordings are made with a proper drummer. This coupled with lack of proper professional production qualities, acts as a detriment to the overall quality of the album. Having said that one should also keep in mind that this album was born out of a series of home recordings and its basis is to serve more as a demo album rather than as a proper studio release. Possibly this particular aspect has also made the band clutter the album with as many tracks as possible, some of which if omitted would have allowed the album to reach greater heights.
One can only admire bands such as Fluxury as they are indeed the future of progressive rock. Together with newcomers such as Panurge and Mark 1, as well as more established bands such as The Beta Band and Radiohead, Fluxury are the way forward in presenting progressive rock music with a somewhat different slant to what we have been accustomed to hearing over the years.
7 / 10, Nigel Camilleri
Fred Trafton (Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock)
Fluxury [Netherlands], Fred Trafton 5/16/02
Even in the weird realms of progressive rock, Fluxury is a pretty weird band. If I had to sum up their sound in one sentence, I'd say they're a mixed-gender Devo playing Genesis tunes and singing like Abba on acid. They're reminiscent of (early) Devo for their visceral non-musical synthesizer sounds and mechanical drumming, yet the music as a whole sounds more like a (rather sparse) Genesis. The mixture of male and female voices recalls Abba, though I hesitate to make that comparison because these vocal harmonies are nowhere near as sweet and predictable as that band's. The voices are definitely the main instrument in this band, taking the lead role; even though they have guitar, bass and keyboards in their line-up, these are usually in the background compared to the harmonizing voices. No wonder they used three vocalists to help them out when their lead singer left the band. Their lyrics are, by the way, in English.
I haven't heard all of their debut release Lunar Escape Velocity, but their web site does contain six MP3's which have 25 minutes of music from the album. The production quality leaves something to be desired, but I would consider this to be high-quality demo type material. Check these out yourself if you're curious. I don't know how to categorize this band ... too thin to be symphonic, too melodious to be RIO, but too out-there to be neo-prog. All I know is that they're progressive in the true sense of not sounding like anything you've heard before. Check 'em out on their web site listed below. GEPR - Fluxury
Hairless Heart Herald (02-04-2002)
What’s the Hairless Heart Herald All About? (in their own words:) "The HHH aims to provide news, reviews and gig information on that oft derided music genre, Progressive Rock, Prog Rock, Art Rock, Jazz Rock or whatever. The music reviewed will include the new and the old, and we hope you will find it both or either entertaining or informative. If not, we apologise profusely, but as no money has changed hands, no refund can be offered".
Fluxury - Lunar Escape Velocity. The name Fluxury apparently stems from a poem about observing nature by Jim Miller. The band who adopted the name stem from The Netherlands and for this album at least, base their music on what they have learnt from prog bands of the 70’s and classical masters of previous centuries. Combined on occasions with an element of ‘poppiness’ and sound experimentation makes this a difficult album to review or indeed draw comparisons. However, I enlisted the faithful ear of my colleague Danny Mayo and we have both listened to Lunar Escape Velocity many times over the last fortnight in order to try and get a handle on the work.Fluxury, I think it is fair to say, revolves around two main musicians, Jan Kuipers and Jos Witsenburg. They are joined by nine other talented musicians (a couple of whom have now left the band unfortunately) on this album, which runs for approximately 72 minutes.
Lunar Escape Velocity consists of 22 tracks some of which are very short. The short tracks sometimes provide a reprise of the major recurrent musical theme and at other times just a musical interlude or minor change in direction. At the beginning or end of certain tracks, whistle and pop sound effects, pertaining to the sounds heard in between transmissions from astronaut and mission control, can be quite spooky. Although Fluxury on this album at least cannot be compared with any other band, there are elements that sound familiar; On occasions, the bass guitar (is it a fretless?) could easily be that of Camel’s Colin Bass;
The main male vocalist sounds like a cross between a Dutch Peter Skellern and the chap who used to sing for The New Vaudeville Band, which takes a few tracks to get used to; Lead guitar on ‘Volatile’ is similar to that on Camel’s Nude album; Other recognisable snippets include a passage of five notes from Genesis’ One For The Vine, a spooky but humorous Chim Chiminee from Mary Poppins and towards the end of the album, part of the tune The Female Of The Species by Space. I must reiterate that apart from the aforementioned, the album cannot be compared to Camel, Genesis, Space or indeed any other band. A recurring theme loosely holds it all together which along with a rather seductive female lead vocal similar to but not the same as that of Maddy Prior, and great male and female harmonies.
I admit, I struggled to decide if I liked the album, but it grew on me. To describe it as nice and relaxing would perhaps be doing it an injustice. Strangely, I must have played it about 20 times yet I have not become bored with it. On the contrary, I found it quite endearing. Only 500 copies have been pressed and at a measly 12 Euros (by bank transfer only – no credit cards, see site) it is likely to become very collectable.
Here’s what Danny Mayo had to say about it:
To put this in a box of musical labels would be very difficult, there are so many styles ranging from Jazz to Folk and down the rock path too. There is also a little progressive thrown in for good measure. The male vocals are typically European and there are parts when a female voice reminds us of Maddy Prior. The musicianship is very good, and the bass really sticks out, very Jazz sounding. At times you wonder if this is a compilation album because every track is different, at times it gets you down a path, then back again, then down another path.
I would say they have put a lot of time and effort into this and put together all their influences into a pot and this is the end result.As I stated earlier, it is very Jazz, and it is what you would expect to go and see at a Jazz club. I would like to see these live one day myself, the album is very good, it keeps your attention on full alert all the time, and you would on the whole put it down as a mellow album, similar to Coldplay and late period King Crimson.A pleasing effort, it should sell quite well, and I would be interested to hear their next effort. I think you can safely say we like it even if we don’t quite know why!
Jem Jedrzejewski & Danny Mayo
LUNAR ESCAPE VELOCITY, (2001, 71:16, Fluxury Music 001)
A depth of the sky is how this 22-part progressive suite should be measured. With no usual storyline and overblown conception, "Unreality" softly opens the gates to a hazy idiosyncratic space of caressing piano and down-to-earth singing, an anchor to the mundane. That's why jazziness oozing out of "Pretty Perfect" feels sarcastic; here minimal guitar and hit-and-run bass, dance around elusive electronica and there they swirl like neurotic screwdriver. This groove blows in a lot of soul - blue-eyed? blue-skyed? - on which "Volatile" lingers on, insinuatingly, onto a title track, a sublime yet too brief serenade breaking into vaudeville-shaped "Lookup".
Gradually, nervousness of "Remember A Face / I Wanna Remember" steps out to let in jolly "Shout" and then "The Sky" madrigal and "Tucked Away" little oratorio. Reoccuring "Fluxury" motif keeps a listener hung out between heaven and hell wriggling to a crooked tango of "Snakecharmer Setback". Songs cycle could make a great soundtrack to a dream approaching awakening, a chase of the moonbeams dissolving in a sunlight, drowning like voice into the "Anonymous Insomniac" orchestral wave. Lunar escape velocity is how this chase should be measured.
***** (Dmitry M. Epstein)
Sven Eriksen (Tarkus Magazine)
Tarkus is Norwegian magazine dedicated to progressive music. Sven Eriksen wrote a brief review.
FLUXURY - LUNAR ESCAPE VELOCITY, (2001, 71:16, Fluxury Music 001).
1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Norwegian (Original)
Burried under cheesy synth sounds and primitive electronic percussion we find a gang of young dutchmen with both talent and ideas. A little Genesis, some pop, interesting chord progressions and original vocal arrangements. Peel away half of the tracks, do a decent production on the rest, and we would have a first class prog-album (Fluxury 2001). (Sven Eriksen)
Begravet under flisete synthlyder og primitiv trommeprogrammering finnes det en gjeng unge nederlendere med bade talent og ideer. Litt Genesis, pop, spenstige akkordprogresjoner og originale vokalarrangementer. Skrell vekk halvparten av latene gjor en skikkelig produksjon pa resten, og vi ville hatt et prima prog-album. (Fluxury 2001). (Sven Eriksen)
Frans Steensma (Oor)
Oor(Nr 24: 1-12-2001, page 66). Oor is THE music magazine of the Netherlands, it's in Dutch. Frans Steensma discussed the releases of 3 Dutch symfonic bands at once.
For absent friends: the big room (red sea/bertus) / Fluxury: lunar escape velocity (www.fluxury.nl) / Mangrove: massive hollowness (email@example.com)
Driemaal old school nedersymfo. For absent friends is de ervaren rot van dit drietal. Al vanaf 1988 maakt FAF albums van hoge kwaliteit. Drie jaar geleden verving Hans van Lint zanger Alex Toonen en rond zijn markant stemgeluid zijn op the big room tien doorwrochte composities gebouwd. Omdat ook de uitvoering tot in de puntjes verzorgd is, zijn de vijf Rotterdammers opnieuw met een hoogwaardig produkt op de proppen gekomen. Hoogtepunten zijn de piano-ballad if love en het smaakvol uitgewerkte Little things. Van verrassing is geen sprake, daarvoor moet je niet bij FAF zijn. Ook het eigen beheer-debuut van Fluxury biedt weinig verrassing. 'Symfonic pop' noemen ze het zelf. Op Lunar escape velocity staan 22 korte, weloverwogen en met zorg opgebouwde songs, die onderling door veel terugkerende thema's een hechte eenheid vormen. Geen sinecure als je weet dat de band elf leden telt. Vocaal laten ze nog weleens een steekje vallen, maar een bemoedigende start niettemin.
Dat geldt ook voor het debuut van Mangrove, waarin ex-leden van Brainstorm en Asgard een nieuw onderdak hebben gevonden. Veel diverser dan FAF en Fluxury klinkt de progrock van Mangrove meer van deze tijd. Raak getroffen teksten (Freedom), gezet in inventieve muzikale patronen (Time bomb) op deze mini-CD verraden de ervaring van de bandleden.
Prog-Resiste (Belgian magazine of progressive rock, #29 sept. 2002) is a Belgian "Non Profit Organization" having the aim to promote the musical arts, especially the Progressive Rock in Belgium, french-speaking countries and, when and if possible, all around the world !
Fluxury - Lunar Escape Velocity (auto produit, 2001). 1: English (Transl: JW), 2: Francais (Original).
Something completely different, this self-produced first album of the new Dutch group Fluxury, has music as strange as it's title: "Lunar escape velocity". Bravery of the explorer or weakness of the amateur, that's the question that we have the right to ask by listening to the music that Fluxury qualifies as 'symphonic pop for the 21th century'. It's a little symphonic, rather poppy, too melodic, a tiny little bit prog and lots of vocals. And that's the issue here: you love it or you hate it. The voice of the singer is really bizarre, thin, maybe garage-like and not always in tune. Nevertheless after a while it slowly, very slowly falls into place. But was it bravery or weakness? The 22 pieces contain some beautiful finds, some beautiful recurring themes, it's a pity the production is insufficient. Can be better, must become better. Bravery!
Tout a fait autre chose, avec ce premier album, auto produit, pour Fluxury, ce nouveau groupe hollandais, a la musique aussi étrange que le titre de son album "Lunar escape velocity". Courage de l'explorateur ou faiblesse d'amateur, c'est la question que l'on a le droit de se poser en écoutant la musique que Fluxury qualifie de pop symphonique du 21e siècle. C'est un peu symphonique, assez pop, trop mélodique, un tout petit peu prog avec beaucoup de vocaux. Et c'est la que ça coince, on aime ou on déteste. La voix du chanteur est réellement bizarre, genre voix de garage fluette et mal assise et pas toujours juste. Pourtant a la longue on s'y fait... lentement, très lentement. Alors effet recherche ou faiblesse? Les 22 pièces comportent quelques belles trouvailles, quelques beaux thèmes, récurrents, mais on regrettera les moyens de production insuffisants. Peut mieux faire mieux. Courage!
Carsten Busch (Background Magazine)
FLUXURY - LUNAR ESCAPE VELOCITY (2001, 71:16, Fluxury Music 001)
The band describes themselves as symphonic pop for the 21 st Century. Well, the word pop may give the wrong impression here, since not everything is just simple and easily accessible music, but one can compare it to late Seventies Genesis, Supertramp, Alan Parsons Project, ELO and Eighties Pink Floyd. The male lead vocals is not entirely clear and stable. Backed by harmony vocals or in a duet with the female lead things work out fine. Fluxury are a talented band with good musicians. This may become something to look out for. (Carsten Busch)
Antonie Deelen (iO Pages)
(iO Nr 35: november 2001 page 20)
Het CD-boekje geeft weinig prijs over Fluxury, daarvoor is een internetverbinding nodig. Via de website (www.fluxury.nl) kom je er achter dat deze band uit acht personen bestaat, waaronder veel zangers en zangeressen. Tegelijker wordt vermeld dat symfonische pop wordt gemaakt in de traditie van Pink floyd
, Moody blues
. Dat schept direct hoge verwachtingen en ik ging er eens lekker voor zitten! De teleurstelling bij eerste beluistering is zelden zo groot geweest. Met de genoemde namen heeft deze muziek namelijk niets te maken. Eerder met het Duitse Merlin
(Vanish to the moon). Maar de eerste plaat waaraan ik moest denken was Decade Reference van Salmon
. Fluxury kent datzelfde transparante geluidsbeeld met heldere zang en rustige muziek. Maar Decade Reference is veel meer gebaseerd op traditioneel klinkende symfo, terwijl Fluxury daar juist afstand van neemt.
Lunar Escape Velocity (tweeentwintig tracks, waarvan veel onder de vier minuten), bevat vrij softe muziek waarvan de vocalen een heel belangrijk bestanddeel vormen. Die trekken onwillekeurig de aandacht naar zich toe en juist daar zit 'm de kneep. Want de zang is niet sterk genoeg om de muziek op sleeptouw te nemen. De melodieen pakken niet en blijven al helemaal niet hangen. Daarbij zijn bepaalde stukjes niet helemaal zuiver ingezongen en zodoende gewoon niet prettig om naar te luisteren. Er is ook nauwelijks dynamiek aanwezig, zodat ieder nummer vrij tam en spanningsloos klinkt. Het zijn eigenlijk stuk voor stuk songs die je accepteert na een hele poos instrumentale muziek gehoord te hebben. In Lookup (tutti) zit zo'n stukje zonder zangen dat is gelijk een verademing, hoe kort dan ook. Toch laat de groep in de muzikale onderbouw horen wel degelijk over de nodige kwaliteit te beschikken. Vooral in het toetsenspel is die in voldoende mate aanwezig.
Maar met alleen instrumentbeheersing kom je er niet. Deze discipline dient gecombineerd te worden met het vermogen om aansprekende songs te schrijven en juist dat laatste ontbreekt hier te veel. Jammer, hier had meer ingezeten. Toch heb ik het gevoel dat we op een eventuele tweede album een heel andere Fluxury gaan horen. Meer sprankelend, meer rock. Gewoon meer symfo dus eigenlijk.
'Lunar escape velocity' by Fluxury (2001 independent release, www.fluxury.nl)
More of a lengthy demo than a full-fledged CD, Lunar Escape Velocity offers listeners humorous, Zappa-esque lyrics with swirling, swinging 60s music as a backdrop. Pieces such as Pretty Perfect, Remember A Face and Lookup (Tutti) are among the most rewarding, while some (Unreality and Volatile) never quite add up to the promise forged in their early moments. The same may be said for the CD itself (at 70 minutes, it seems a lengthy introduction to such an unconventional sound) as it meanders to an irresolute end. Perhaps Fluxury will trim more from their next release, presenting their audience with a lean, more definitive picture of who they are. For those up to the task of a new musical adventure, to be sure.
Francesco Fabbri (Escursioni Musicali)
Fluxury: 'Lunar escape velocity' (Attoprod. 2001)
Copertina, titolo e intro del disco traggono un po' in inganno circa gli ambiti tematici sviluppati dagli olandesi Fluxury. Parrebbe infatti di trovarsi di fronte a un progetto di musica cosmica, elettronica o new age, ed invece il gruppo privilegia un curioso prog tenue e sofisticato al tempo stesso, debitore il giusto verso certe suggestioni "leggere" dei Paesi Bassi. Ciò tuttavia non implica l'agitarsi nel commerciale più bieco o sfacciato, dunque la proposta mantiene sempre una sua dignità.
Queste, perlomeno, sono le intenzioni "a monte" che provo ad intuire; purtroppo la loro estrinsecazione pratica risulta deboluccia e presta il fianco a diverse critiche. Il problema maggiore riguarda le parti vocali: nettamente scarse quelle maschili nella loro incertezza ed assenza di incisività, appena passabili quelle femminili. La cosa si sopporterebbe se il disco fosse in prevalenza strumentale, ma disgraziatamente è proprio la partitura vocale ad avere un ruolo importante (per la serie "facciamoci del male"), come conferma il suo missaggio "in avanti". Le buone intuizioni ci sarebbero pure, e alcuni garbati e piacevoli acquerelli paiono rifarsi al Canterbury rimodellato dagli Utopian Fields, però il songwriting non raggiunge mai vette stratosferiche, anche perché la frammentarietà delle tracks (ben 22, molte delle quali durano appena 1-2 minuti...) inibisce strutture particolarmente ardite.
Una maggiore vivacità si riscontra in "Lookup (tutti)", con accentuate dissonanze secondo moduli gentlegiantiani, e dove fa capolino una chitarra un po' più ardita; non disprezzabile anche la presenza sinfonica di "Snakecharmer setback", l'atmosfera di "All I see", la buona volontà di "Anonymous insomniac", la varietà di "In silence we trust". Tutto il resto - ed è tanto, visto che il CD dura oltre 70 minuti - annega nell'abbozzato e nell'incompiuto, vedi talune sonorità sintetico-sperimentali che appaiono goffe ed avulse dal resto. Alcune idee, in futuro, potrebbero essere meglio sviluppate, ma urgono interpreti diversi da quelli attuali (specie alla voce) e una maggiore maturità tecnica e compositiva.
Contatti: www.fluxury.nl. Francesco Fabbri
What is Fabbri on about? looks like he agrees to some tracks and less to the whole, maybe you can tell