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The Wrong Object

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Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra

The Wrong Object

Blending psychedelic jazz with modern rock sensibilities, the music of the Wrong Object is influenced by a vast array of artists ranging from Canterbury Scene prog rock à la Soft Machine and Gong to Béla Bartok, Aka Moon, Charlie Mingus and Frank Zappa. While their repertoire contains mainly original compositions, they also play a special set of Zappa covers on demand.

Since its creation in early 2002, The Wrong Object has played some forty gigs in various venues ranging from small pubs to big festivals. Some of them were augmented by guest performances by the likes of Ed Mann, Elton Dean, Harry Beckett, Marc Mangen, Domguè, Marco Maurizi, Nicolas Ankoudinoff, Clementine Gasser, Frogg Café, Jaap Blonk, and pataphysician-poet-vocalist Andrew Norris, whose work with the band culminated in a show held at the Galerie 2016 in Brussels on the occasion of Serge Vandercam's 79th birthday....
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'After the Exhibition' is the Wrong Object's most diverse and arguably strongest outing thus far. - Dave Lynch, AllMusic

“A solid hour of brilliance, with some new discoveries and revelations awaiting the listener on every repeat play. Every song here is an adventure, but wherever they go melody reigns supreme, and there's always something interesting going on rhythmically.” –Peter Thelen, Expose (on “After the Exhibition”)

The title [The Wrong Object Play Zappa and a few Tunes of their Own] is no idle boast: Michel Delville, leader and guitarist of The Wrong Object from Liège, Belgium, is writing tunes which emulate Zappa's taste for succinct idiosyncrasy and melodic lilt.... in a modern music scene that regularly trundles out all the paraphernalia of intelligence (laptops, bald heads, performers' desk-tops like mad electronic laboratories), this is the real thing: an intelligent handling of the Zappa/King Crimson legacy, a tradition that questions the power of rock with musical, rather than moral, means. The clever title 'Cunnimingus' indicates where this group is coming from, as does Andrew Norris' surreal, warped curses versus George W Bush on 'King Kong'”. — Ben Watson, HIFINews (May 2004)

ELTON DEAN & THE WRONG OBJECT - The Unbelievable Truth: Live In Paris October 2005 (Moonjune 009; USA) Featuring Elton Dean on saxello & alto sax, Fred Delplancq on tenor sax, Jean-Paul Estievenart on trumpet, Michel Delville on guitar, Damien Polard on bass and Laurent Delchambre on drums. This is perhaps the last live offering featuring the beloved Canterbury sax-god, Elton Dean, before his untimely passing in February 2006. It was recorded live in Paris in October of 2005 and it features a fine Belgian prog/jazz/rock band called The Wrong Object. Although it is difficult to tell from listening to this gem, Elton played with this band for the first and last time. The band did rehearse without Elton and learned to play three of his songs and Elton had been sent charts by the band before the gig to learn. The results are truly inspired, the writing and playing exemplary throughout.

Elton's sly gem, “Seven for Lee”, is a perfect opener, with some Elton's wonderful saxello taking one of those great distinctive, snake-charming solos that we love so dearly. One of the great things about this disc is that it is warm sounding and inventive at the same time, without being too “far out”. J.P. Estievenart's trumpet solo is slow, yet majestic in tone, as is Mr. Delplanq's restrained, yet Trane-like tenor solo. “Millennium Jumble” begins with a fine Hugh Hopper-like fuzz-bass solo, sublime freer drums and subtle wah-wah guitar spice. Elton's poignant piece “Baker's Treat,” shows a more eloquent side to Elton's playing and writing, something we didn't get to hear from him very often. Damien's powerful fuzz-bass is at the center of “The Unbelievable Truth”, with both the tenor sax and guitar swirling cerebrally around one another in a mesmerizing fashion. Another unexpected surprise is guitarist Michel Delville's rather Robert Wyatt-like voice at the beginning of “A Cannery Catastrophe”, absolutely charming. This entire disc is engaging, spirited and most inventive through its nearly 80 minutes duration. This is a most fitting way to recall the late, great Elton Dean, as both he and the rest of the band bring their own special magic to the proceedings. Bravo, old friend! —Bruce Lee Garranter, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

When Frank Zappa died on 4 December 1993 a little bit of me died too. Never again would I hear his music live again, right there, up on stage as I did countless times in the past. Never again would I hear his wonderful compositions brought to life by musicians dedicated to the cause, musicians who understood the statistical density of it all, as Zappa used to say. Boy, was I wrong.

You see, the Wrong Object do just that and a whole lot more. They don’t just resurrect Zappa’s more challenging compositions; they have the understanding and technical ability to take them into exciting new directions in a way I’m certain Zappa would have approved of. Check out the awesome sax on “Filthy Habits” on this CD and tell me if I’m wrong!

But that’s only half the story as Platform One demonstrates so wonderfully. The Wrong Object do more than pay homage to Zappa. With a line-up augmented by two of the band’s heroes, the incomparable Brit trombonist Annie Whitehead and trumpet player extraordinaire Harry Beckett, the band showcase their own compositions to dazzling effect.

“The Honeypump Riff” sets out the Belgian’s musical stall for all to hear with a stunning contribution from Annie while there’s clearly a little Belgian magic woven into Annie and Harry’s own pieces: check out the solos on Whitehead’s “This Affects That” and Beckett’s “Scarlet Mine”.

So how did this all come to happen? Well, the miracle of the internet and MP3 files played a part. Just as with the band’s last album recorded with the late, great Elton Dean, rehearsals were out of the question. Time and place put paid to that. Instead music files were sent through the ether, ideas exchanged over the internet. Annie and Harry worked on The Wrong Object’s pieces wherever they were, the Wrong Object worked on theirs and then...it was show time!

Recorded and mixed live over two nights, this album tells the story as it was ��” no over dubs! If you know The Wrong Object, you’d expect faultless musicianship and rest assured you get plenty of that. But what I find so astonishing as I listen to this album for the umpteenth time (even as I write these notes), is the musical empathy shared on stage between musicians who had not only not played together before but who had only met a few hours prior to the first gig. It takes more than consummate ability and a total understanding of your instrument to produce music like this. It takes love. Stick it in the CD player now and indulge yourself with something wonderful. — Matthew Wright (On Platform One / Voiceprint Music 2007)

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Extended Analysis

The Wrong Object: After the Exhibition

CD/LP/Track Review

After the Exhibition by Glenn Astarita

Multiple Reviews

The Wrong Object Come of Age

CD/LP/Track Review

Stories from the Shed by John Kelman

Platform One by John Kelman

The Unbelievable Truth by John Kelman

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