Eclectic Maybe Band
Bars Without Measures
Discus 159CD
(2023)
Available formats: CD/DL

 

“This is one of the most remarkable works within the experimental territory in force in the year 2023. Totally recommendable!!!” – CÉSAR INCA, AUTOPOIETICAN

“Cosmic and surreal at the same time, where accents of beautiful melodious music moments also find their way in this incredible work, but also powerful full orchestral pieces with winds, and polyrhythmic unrolling that marches through individual moments.” – Goran Čabrajić, NEW DAWN OF PROG

“Such a concentration of excellent musicians is not offered every day.” – Achim Breiling, BABYBLAUE SEITEN

“I find that it is my favorite Eclectic Maybe album so far. Segers has hit on a winning formula (which is fortunately loosely defined) and has no shortage of talented contributors to draw upon.”– Jon Davis, http://expose.org

 

Eclectic Maybe Band is the creation of Guy Segers, a player / composer / producer first prominent as bassist with legendary band Univers Zero, and subsequently active in many live and studio projects.

“Bars Without Measures” continues the band’s established tradition which brings together detailed studio work with the creativity of real time improvisation. Using different groupings from within a large ensemble cast, which includes many well-known names, Guy has created an album where tracks are drawn from live improvisation in the studio ate mixed with created from the ground up, with players adding their composed or improvised parts one at a time. In both cases Guy assumes the role of master arranger, taking the improvisations as raw material and sculpting them into finished pieces.

This richly detailed forth release from EMB takes the listener on a journey through rock, jazz, electronic and abstract landscapes packed with detail.

 

Julie TIPPETTS (Vocals)
Dani KLEIN (Vocals)
Sibel DINÇER (Vocals)

Pierre BERNARD (Flute)
Piet VAN BOCKSTAL (Oboe)
Stephan KÖHR (Bassoon)
Martin ARCHER (Saxello)
Dirk DESCHEEMAEKER (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
Joe HIGHAM (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone)
Mark BOGAERTS (Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone)
Dave NEWHOUSE (Baritone Saxophone)
Jean Pierre SOAREZ(Trumpet)
Franck COTTRET (Trombone)

Marianne DENOÏA (Violin)
Cécile BROCHÉ (Violin)
Ariane PLUMEREL (Violin)
Forrest FANG (Processed Violin)
Thierry ZABOÏTZEFF (Cello)
Daniel VINCKE (Saz, Vocals)

Michel DELORY (Guitar)
Pierre VERVLOESEM (Guitar)
Michel DELVILLE (Guitar)
Ángel ONTALVA (Guitar)
Matvi BILIS (Guitar)

Guy SEGERS (Bass, Virtual Instruments)
Andy KIRK (Keyboards)
Catherine SMET (Keyboards)

Sean RICKMAN (Drums)
Fabrice OWERZARZAK (Drums)
Dirk WACHTELAER (Drums)

30CD - Army Of Briars
130CD
Eclectic Maybe Band
Again Alors?
67CD - Eclectic Maybe Band
67CD
Eclectic Maybe Band
The Blind Night Watchers Mysterious Landscape
83CD - Eclectic Maybe Band
83CD
Eclectic Maybe Band
Reflections In a Moebius Ring Mirror

Reviews

Fourth instalment in the saga of the Eclectic Maybe Band, the collective around Guy Segers with once again a long list of guest musicians including such stalwarts as Joe Higham, Pierre Bernard, Catherine Smet and Michel Delville but also Cécile Broché and further vocal contributions by Julie Tippetts and Dani Klein.

As with previous releases, there is no limitation of genre or style here either. Everything is about free emotions. Thanks to the Internet, Segers managed to link no less than twenty-nine artists and vocalists around this theme. The entire list of famous and less famous names is mentioned at the bottom because every contribution was important for the final result, says Segers, who himself plays the electric bass.

An hour of enjoying music that cannot be labelled. All stereotypes are broken. The references or anchor points that fit a description are legion. Up to the listener to explore for themselves. We will stick to mentioning that much of jazz history from the 1950s onwards is covered, from post-bop via prog and fusion to funk and ethnojazz. Nor is a pinch of psychedelic rock missing. Above all, consider also an update of the whole Canterbury scene. Several pieces sound like the soundtrack of a Japanese horror film (‘Octopus Lagoon’!). Also lots of groovy passages that come into their own thanks to the exceptionally clear sound. Solos are always seamlessly embedded in the whole and reinforce the coherence.

Compositions by Segers (old and recent) were supplemented with free improvisation pieces recorded in the studio with various combinations of musicians. For the latter aspect, we refer to, for instance, ‘Painting With Illicit Pigment’, which sounds as if this ensemble was part of Miles’ sessions for ‘Bitches Brew’. Segers himself was responsible for the arrangements and the final mix while mastering was in the hands of veteran Pierre Vervloesem (also on guitar). A “free electric band” but with an experienced final director. – Georges Tonla Briquet, JAZZ’HALO

Musician, composer and producer Guy Segers first rose to some kind of prominence as bass player in the Belgian Rock In Opposition band Univers Zero, who might have been seen by some as purveyors of a distinctly European strain of cold, somewhat forbidding 20th-century chamber music. That definition is somewhat at odds with what’s to be heard here, which exemplifies how his musical thinking and methodology have moved on with the passing decades. What we have here, in the fourth release under the EMB name, is evidence of Segers’ ability to inject a “human” element (in the sense of spontaneity), and the absence of the precision-tooled feeling that his precedents might suggest. If Senseless Ostensibly can be considered as genetically modified fusion then it comes as close as anything here to easy categorisation. Segers’ bass playing brings an edge of funk to proceedings in a manner almost antithetical to Univers Zero. Indeed, his aim (as stated in the gatefold sleeve note) of creating music without stylistic restriction is largely realised beautifully. Painting With Illicit Pigment, for all of the faint echoes of Miles Davis in the early 70s and Terje Rypdal at the very start of his career on record, fails happily to conform to precedents, not least because the “colours” of bass clarinet and virtual mellotron set it in sparsely mapped territory. The notion of virtuality comes to further fruition on Gratitude, where the musical architecture generated virtually by Segers is offset by Sibel Dincer’s warmly human yet oddly unworldly vocal. Segers shows here that while he may be the central point of the project he is nothing so glib as a band leader. – Nic Jones, JAZZ JOURNAL

Eclectic Maybe Band supremo Guy Segers obviously has plenty of material left from his Covid period as the eleven pieces combined for Bars Without Measures were completed at various times over the last three years, with the composition of some going right back to the ’80s. The line-up of players gathered together here must be the largest so far, with thirty listed, including three very different vocalists and three very different drummers. As ever, the one thing tying the disparate pieces together besides the questing sense of adventure is Guy’s inimitable elastic bass. With ten horn and reed players, six string players and five guitarists, the permutations are limitless and that is the feel of the pieces here, veering from the scattershot horn-led opener “Casanova” through the athletic leap of “Senseless Ostensibly”, led by Sean Rickman‘s drums with their faintly African gait, and the ululating, dreamy croon of Dani Klein on to the surprising stasis of “Painting With Illicit Pigment”. After the surge of the opening two tracks, this sensory whirlpool with drums trying to extricate from the subterranean mystery is quite a change of pace, and perfectly illustrates the open mindedness and diversity of Guy’s ideas, and the way he allows the players and the tracks themselves to dictate direction. The woodland flute and spectral flashes of piano on “Octopus Lagoon” find space with the sort of cymbal flashes that are seen like sunlight filtering through a dense canopy, while “Gratitude” has more of a jazz-funk sway. Sibel Dinçer‘s voice comes on like an Eastern siren, drawing you into the piano-flecked maelstrom before propelling you on a motorik bed that gradually accelerates and leaves you standing in the dust. This incredibly broad spectrum covered in the opening five tracks is continued all the way through. There is more of a progressive element to the drumming on “A Move To Unchange The Place” that allows for a kinetic sort of forward motion, highlighting the various players steeping forward to blast a brief solo. The anticipation of who and what may step forward at any moment is part of the thrill of listening to this album because, like a butterfly’s wing, that choice dictates in which direction the whole will travel. The juxtaposition of more fluid pieces with muscular rhythm-led tracks keeps you fully engaged; “Rhesus Retractible” is particularly forceful, the drums of Dirk Wachtelaer a wholly different proposition, and seems to cause something to happen to the needling leads that repeat and retract, sometimes circling and sometimes retreating entirely; yet somehow nothing is ever too long or outstays its welcome. As the end of the album comes into focus so more surprises appear, firstly with the almost mediæval cello on “Isolation” which, as the title suggests, is a somewhat melancholy proposition, and leads us into the album closer on which Julie Tippetts makes a welcome appearance, drawing the hair on the arms up with what sounds like a Native American war chant over the deep, visceral rush of an impending storm. It is a dramatic and well-chosen point on which to leave us and once again, the realisation dawns that Guy has outdone himself. Can the Eclectic Maybe Band continue to grow like this, musicians gravitating towards it and then shining attention on that wealth of players in his armoury? We can only hope so, because he manages to draw the very best from those involved, inviting discovery of their own catalogues. It is a labour of love and one that is absolutely essential. -Mr Olivetti, FREQ https://freq.org.uk/reviews/eclectic-maybe-band-bars-without-measures/

Eclectic Maybe Band is the creation of bassist, composer and arranger Guy Segers and who combine composition with studio improvisation. The cast list is impressive in terms of its breadth, featuring a plethora of wind and enough brass to buffer the neck of a social media influencer, added to which are strings, exponents of mostly wordless vocal contortions (including Archer’s frequent collaborator Julie Tippets) as well as conventional rock instrumentation. Oh, and there are three drummers credited, which if nothing else suggests a modern King Crimson iteration and the need for a health warning on the packaging. Fear not, though, this is not some unwieldy Chris McGregor mega construct but a judicious use of groupings from within the wider ensemble. Now ‘fusion’ (and herein lies rock, jazz and electronic abstraction) has a questionable reputation suggesting that misters are doing it for themselves and to hell with the rest of us. There is a bit of that, I’ll grant you, but this is outweighed by some sprightly and deftly handled composition and execution that at times suggest a more playful Mothers of Invention and George Duke-Era Zappa (‘Senseless Ostensibly’, ‘Are You Out of My Mind’) paired with early 70s Nucleus, and which even nudges us in the direction of modern classical (the cello and bassoon-heavy ‘Isolation’ is especially delicious). In particular, the lively opener ‘Casanova’ and the good-natured loping elasticity of ‘Painting With Illicit Pigment’ demonstrates how Segers’ authoritative yet expressive bass anchors proceedings in the manner of a conductor or midfield general. – Ian Fraser, TERRASCOPE https://terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Reviews_October23.xhtmlIm

Eclectic Maybe Band was founded by Guy Segers, who is known for being the bass player in the band Univers Zero. The album called “Bars Without Measures” has many guests in addition to Seger and was made in such a way that the compositions were created as real-time improvisation, combining jazz, electronic and various elements of prog rock, with of course elements of avant-prog. Layers of sounds and instruments come together in one phenomenal story that will leave you breathless. A large number of musicians with instruments such as clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, violin, and others did their improvisations in the studio, and later they were precisely implemented and united into one excellent whole. Here, a big plus is the variety of styles, and the versatility of the approach: not only roars, sonic explosions or sudden changes, but also airy phrasings, dreamy serpentines, and atmospheric abysses. There is something otherworldly in “Bars Without Measures” and here we are presented with interesting avant-garde experiments but with a jazz matrix that ensures decidedly wider room for manoeuvre. The creative gesture counts much more than the outcome, the idea comes before harmony: this album ignites in radical forms that are still difficult to classify today. Complex asymmetrical writing transforms the pieces into an articulated composition with surrealism and art in constant changes of tempo. Very varied and complex compositions, tonally changing, from the deep lines to the percussive outbursts, to the very free “free” vibrations. Cosmic and surreal at the same time, where accents of beautiful melodious music moments also find their way in this incredible work, but also powerful full orchestral pieces with winds, and polyrhythmic unrolling that marches through individual moments. All the sound generators are part of a complex, interwoven whole, which, however, also dances through rocky realms through the moving rhythmic structure and the use of various electrically amplified instruments. – Goran Čabrajić, NEW DAWN OF PROG

The new album by the ensemble ECLECTIC MAYBE BAND has just been released! Indeed, this project of the absolute icon of the Belgian progressive avant-garde, Guy Segers, is once again present in the progressive phonographic production with “Bars Without Measure”, his fourth album, which promises to be one of the most brilliant of this year 2023, which is already in its last third. It was released on September 19th via the British label Discus Records, as always. With Segers committed to composing and arranging all the tracks, as well as performing on bass and virtual instruments, he also operates a rich selection of greats: keyboardists Andy Kirk and Catherine Smet; guitarists Michel Delory, Pierre Vervloesem, Michel Delville, Matvi Bilis and Angel Ontalva; drummers Sean Rickman, Fabrice Owerzarzak and Dirk Wachtelaer; singers of the calibre of Julie Tippetts, Dani Klein and Sibel Dinçer. In addition, there is a long line of string and wind instrumentalists. There is Pierre Bernard (flute), Piet Van Bockstal (oboe), Stephan Köhr (bassoon), Martin Archer (saxophone), Dirk Descheemaeker (clarinet and bass clarinet), Joe Higham (clarinet, bass clarinet and soprano saxophone), Mark Bogaerts (alto and soprano saxophones), Dave Newhouse (baritone saxophone), Jean Pierre Soarez (trumpet) and Franck Cottret (trombone). Marianne Denoïa (violin), Cécile Broche (violin), Ariane Plumerel (violin), Forrest Fang (processed violin), Thierry Zaboïtzeff (cello) and Daniel Vincke (saz and vocals). We see in this monumental congregation several names associated with UNIVERS ZÉRO, ART ZOYD, THE MUFFINS, MANNA / MIRAGE, THE WRONG OBJECT, OCTOBER EQUUS, DAS RAD, etc. As on the previous albums, the strategy is that Segers lets some grooves and jams improvise in the studio, which he outlines in a basic way, so that then various solos and ornaments are added on new tracks, either composed or random, so that in the end Segers returns to take the reins from his role as arranger, just as a sculptor uses various materials to give shape to the final form of his work. It has remained constant the production of the ECLECTIC MAYBE BAND since 2018, when the debut album “The Blind Night Watchers’ Mysterious Landscapes” was released. In fact, this plastic avant-progressive confraternity has been increasing its cosmopolitanism over time. Well, let’s take a look at the details of the repertoire of “Bars Without Measure”. It all begins with ‘Casanova’, a rather colourful piece where the winds take on an agile protagonism in what is an excellent hybrid exercise of dense Canterbury (in the manner of a fusion between NATIONAL HEALTH and THE MUFFINS) and graceful RIO (a la THINKING PLAGUE). The cosmic effluvia of the synthesizer and the remarkable flourishes of the bass generate a very special character for the whole sound block. A tortured guitar solo emerges in the final instances to complete the task. Senseless Ostensibly’ follows with the mission to develop a rather striking jazz-progressive groove, almost as colourful as the opening track but with a slightly more solemn spirituality, which is effectively highlighted by the female vocals. The ostensibly vibrant rhythmic duo is a real pillar of the mysterious extroversion that drives the stately entanglement of the performing instruments as the sound scheme is reinforced. Painting With Illicit Pigment’ is the longest piece on the album at 8 minutes and counting. From the rattling low winds in the prologue passage to the building of a reasonably unsettling atmosphere, one notices the full predominance of the twilight when it comes to articulating and managing the surrealist nuances and oscillations that mark this avant-jazz-progressive jam. This could be described as a lost motif of the second PRESENT album that has passed through the filter of the SUN RA ARKESTRA under the gaze of the HENRY COW of 1979. Three consecutive zeniths to start the repertoire. The duo of ‘Octopus Lagoon’ and ‘Gratitude’ allows master Segers and his cohorts to continue expanding the adventurous sonic palette that is at their full disposal. The first of these aforementioned tracks receives some echoes of the nocturnality inherent in the preceding theme and takes them into a deconstructive area that, under its apparent casual calm, half hides a deconstructive tension where an aristocratic anxiety reigns. As for ‘Gratitude’, it is a mixture of the dominant spirits of the album’s first two tracks, revamped by the use of exotic airs in the basic melodic scheme and a cleverly complex swing. During the second half, an aura of disturbance reigns, forcing the piece to soar ever higher on a climactically neurotic (perhaps ZAPPA-like) path. The just over half a minute miniature ‘Quarantine’ operates as a device of impetuous chaos to padlock the room where ‘Gratitude’ unfolded. ‘A Move To Unchange The Place’ returns fully to the world of SUN RA (at its most serene) with some traces of WEATHER REPORT and ORNETTE COLEMAN, but with a more controlled aura than we usually find on the latter’s albums. The focus is actively on the work of the rhythm duo and some wind arrangements, allowing several solos to come to the forefront without altering the overall landscape one iota. There’s a certain air of daring here, but it’s also curious that this track is as striking as it is. Things being as they are, ‘Rhésus Rétractible’ emerges with the aim of expressing a special muscularity with broad psychedelic overtones and a solidly focused rootedness in a progressive exercise where experimental jazz-rock and space-rock converge. Shortly after the halfway point, everything is dismembered in a confusion as disjointed as it is stately, the same one that builds bridges towards a second, slightly more solemn jam. Now, the psychedelic textures are filtered through a nu-jazz filter until the sudden final blow. Come the turn of ‘Are You Out Of My Mind’ and things take a turn towards a more majestic terrain where the more graceful Canterbury and the more kaleidoscopic RIO reign supreme in a tight brotherhood. Generally, the woodwind and string lines provide subterfuges of warm sorcery, while the occasional brief guitar solo adds a steely edge amidst the refulgent soundscape. Of note is the increased vitality the drums assume as the piece progresses. All in all, another zenith of the album. Isolation’ is a nostalgic trip back to the times of the first four UNIVERS ZÉRO albums (additionally, also the ART ZOYD albums of the 1980-83 phase): chamber-rock illustriously edged towards the obscurantist and insignificantly refurbished with disturbingly gloomy tonalities. All of this, however, is rendered with pristine refinement, the bassoon being the instrument that operates as the main guide for the others after the introduction by the string ensemble. The end of the repertoire comes in the form of ‘Temporal Trace Of Erich Zann’s Presence’, an exercise in witchcraft organised by a brotherhood of exaltedly bitter female chanting, solipsistic string and synthesizer bases, and agitated wind ornaments that flutter under the auspices of percussive interventions. The epilogue of this album is like an evocation of the darkness that appears before us but has not yet decided to drown us in its bosom. All this is what came out of the barracks of the ECLECTIC MAYBE BAND encapsulated in “Bars Without Measures”, an album where this liberally polymorphous ensemble once again leaves due evidence of its immeasurably avant-garde creativity under the guidance of Belgian maestro Guy Segers. In short, this is one of the most remarkable works within the experimental territory in force in the year 2023. Totally recommendable!!! – CÉSAR INCA, AUTOPOIETICAN

Guy Segers likes the Internet. Even though he has been sending tape cassettes to musicians all over the world and asking for sound material since the 1980s, Segers says in the short text that can be found on the inside of the digifile containing the sound carrier reviewed here, it is only now with the Internet that it is really easy to reach a large number of musicians and to collaborate with them. Segers is obviously doing this a lot, as another album by his virtual formation Eclectic Maybe Band has just been released. The number of participants has continued to grow, though the same ones are often heard in only one number. Some – Dirk Wachtelaer, Fabrice Owerzarzak, Jean-Pierre Soarez and Michel Delville, for example – appear more often, and of course Segers himself, the only protagonist involved in every piece and also composer of most of the material. Numbers 3, 4, 6, 8 and 11 are again collective improvisations, for the recording of which the Belgian-based core of the project met in a recording studio in Asse. These were apparently the same sessions from the fall of 2021 in which the pieces of the previous album “Again Alors?”, described as ‘collective improvisations’, were created. The musicians involved are therefore logically also the same. “Bars Without Measures” offers quite similar music as the just mentioned predecessor, as there are colorful-edged rock excursions, jazzy-rocky sound tinkering, voluminous avant-prog, wild big band interludes and of course chamber rock-like in the tradition of Seger’s former band Univers Zero. Again, there is singing in some numbers, which at least in “Sensless ostensibly” provides a certain ArtPop coloring. Otherwise, this is exactly the music that the experienced avantprogger will expect from an album from Belgium, in which Segers, Delville and Soarez, but also Thierry Zaboitzeff, Andy Kirk and Dirk Descheemaeker are involved. Somewhat more electronic and modern in sound is what is offered, but basically this is a more eclectic (the band name is already well chosen there), jazzy to poppy contaminated music in the spirit of the classic to more recent Franco-Belgian prog avant-garde. And if you study the lineup list, some significant protagonists of the same are represented here. People who appreciate the same genre, i.e. the music of e.g. Aksak Maboul, Univers Zero, Finnegans Wake, Present, X-Legged Sally, Julverne, The Wrong Object, Cro Magnon and Aranis, should also be able to do something with the Eclectic Maybe Band, especially with “Bars Without Measures”. And such a concentration of excellent musicians is not offered every day. – Achim Breiling, BABYBLAUE SEITEN https://www.babyblaue-seiten.de/album_21239.html#oben

This is the fourth disc by oddly named Eclectic Maybe Band, an ongoing project led by Guy Segers. I recognize around a dozen of the players here from their varied backgrounds: Segers, Descheemaeker & Vervloesem from Univers Zero, Newhouse from the Muffins, Zaboitzeff from Art Zoyd and Deville from Machine Mass & Doubt. Half of the pieces were written by Guy Segers, the other half are collective improvisations. Many of the tracks were created over the internet with the trading of files. Some of the tracks were recorded in different studios in Europe as well as in the USA. Mr. Segers mentions in the liner notes that he was glad to not have to deal with people’s expectations due to whatever genre a certain genre was placed in. “Casanova” opens with a spirited clarinet solo by Joe Higham, a bari solo by Mark Bogaert and a fine rambling guitar solo by Angel Ontalva, sailing over a sly, slightly funky groove. “Senseless Ostensibly” also has a cool, funky groove and the soulful voice of Dani Klein. The vocals by Julie Tippetts and Sibel Dinger are most enchanting as is/are the songs that Segers wrote for them. On “A Move to Unchange the Place”, Segers takes layers of horns and arranges them with quirky harmonies, while giving some solo space to Martin Archer on saxello. The four pieces of collective improvisations sound like they were taken from longer jams and then trimmed into more focused interludes, moving or evolving in unexpected ways. I like the Segers takes musicians from different places and puts them together virtually. On “Are You Out of Your Mind?”, Segers has Sean Rickman (from the Steve Coleman Band) playing those difficult prog percussion parts with Muffins saxist Dave Newhouse, an oboe player & a flutist playing their own Zappa-like tight, swirling lines together. “Isolation” is a chamber-like piece with Forrest Fang (electronic musician), Cecile Broche (recent solo offering on FMR) and Thierry Zaboitzeff (from Art Zoyd) playing the string parts, what sounds like a mellotron (by Segers himself) and a solemn bassoon solo. The last piece, “Temporal Trace of Erich Zann’s Presence” has the legendary Julie Tippett adding her mysterious vocals in layers while several waves of horns and strings swirl around her. Guy Segers has done a fine job of putting this disc/session together into a thoughtful connected work. Got to give this several listens to hear how it hangs together just right. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG NYC

Head of Guy Segers has accumulated quite a bit, because with Bars Without Measures (DISCUS 159CD) the Univers Zero bassist delivers eleven more compositions, collective improvisations and arrangements of the ECLECTIC MAYBE BAND as his dream team virtually united from seven countries: With Fabrice Owerzarzak on drums – ‘Casanova’ in sixtet, with a sround of solo by Mark Bogaerts (as & bs), Joe Higham (cl), Jean Pierre Soarez (tp) and Ángel Ontalva (g); ‘Painting With Illicit Pigment’ in sextet with Dirk Descheemaeker (bcl), Andy Kirk (key), Cécile Broché (v) and Soarez again; ‘Gratitude’ in quartet with matte silvery vocals by Sibel Dinçer, Segers on bass plus x; ‘A Move To Unchange The Place’ and ‘Temporal Trace Of Erich Zann’s Presence’ in sextet with violin, trumpet, trombone, Martin Archer (saxello), Pierre Vervloesem (g), with Descheemaeker, Kirk and vocalization by Julie Tippetts. With Sean Rickman on drums, ‘Senseless Ostensibly’ was created in sextet with violin, trumpet, guitar and vocal by Dani Klein, and ‘Are You Out Of My Mind?” in septet with flute, oboe, violin, guitar, Dave Newhouse on baritone sax. And on ‘Octopus Lagoon’ & ‘Quarantine’ as a 38-sec. Charivari features Dirk Wachtelaer in a sextet with flute, trumpet, Catherine Smet on keys and Michel Deville on guitar, with soprano sax on ‘Rhésus Rétractible’. The auratic touch of Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, X-Legged Sally, The Muffins, Julverne, Phantom City, Rêve D’Éléphant Orchestra, The Wrong Object is again sublimely segerated as chamber prog with quarrying bass and Belgian sophistication: Brassy… with pop-jazz nonchalance (much like the Aksak Maboul revue)… carried with grumpy descheemaekiness… flute- and strum-dreamy… rhythmically piled on and strangely accelerated… with solemn brass, birdy saxello… whimsical, bubbly waves and perky flute…. jagged staccato in a light-weight uptempo loop… with ‘Isolation’ as a dramatic climax, as a largo with Thierry Zaboïtzeff’s cello, bassoon, clarinet, violins, virtual keys, contrarhythm, timpani beats… and Lovecraft, eerily darkened, to close. – Rigobert Dittmann, BAD ALCHEMY [BA 121 rbd]

With each successive release, Guy Segers’ collective project called Eclectic Maybe Band changes character slightly, partly due to the contributions of the varying participants. Segers is here, of course, on bass and virtual instruments, as are the core contributors ….. all of whom have played on all four album s….. In the usual Eclectic Maybe tradition, not all the players play on all the tracks, with the exception of Segers himself; also true to form, the tracks are a mixture of compositions and improvisations. The end result is sometimes reminiscent of Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, with funky grooves on bass and drums, along with sparse contributions from guitar and keyboards, plus very freely played brass and woodwinds. Other tracks tend towards a RIO-inflected chamber music sound, while some even straddle both worlds. The wide variety of instrumentation ensures that the album presents a constantly shifting palette of sound. Bars without Measures probably has more of the funky jazz flavor than some of the past releases, which leaned more towards the floating spacey side of the group’s style, and I find that it is my favorite Eclectic Maybe album so far. Segers has hit on a winning formula (which is fortunately loosely defined) and has no shortage of talented contributors to draw upon. – Jon Davis, http://expose.org/index.php/articles/display/eclectic-maybe-band-bars-without-measures-2.html

Thirty! Thirty is the number of guest musicians/collaborators who took part in the making of the fourth album by the band/project of Brussels bassist Guy Segers. Let me briefly remind you that he was a member of the legendary Univers Zero, French band Art Zoyd and the highly effective X-Legged Sally. But there are so many other adventures to name, not least that of the Carbon 7 label! The musicians on this new CD include the trio that started it all: pianist Catherine Smet, guitarist Michel Delville and drummer Dirk Wachtelaer. I know that Guy Segers insists that each player is an essential pawn in the execution of the songs, but I can’t possibly name them all. However, it would be impossible to overlook certain names: Julie Tippetts (Driscoll before her marriage to Keith) Dani Klein (Vaya Con Dios) and Sibel Dinçer on vocals, Martin Archer (a musician close to Julie Tippetts) on sax, Dirk Descheemaeker on bass clarinet and Pierre Vervloesem on guitar and mastering. I should also mention two remarkable and powerful drummers: the American Sean Rickman (George Duke, Steve Coleman, Meshell Ndegeocello…) and our compatriot Fabrice Owerzarzak, who often plays with keyboardist Andy Kirk, who is also present here on two tracks. There’s plenty of brass, strings, keyboards, guitars and other excellent instrumentalists in the eleven tracks (62 minutes) put together by Guy, who uses the Internet to assemble the sounds he hears from all over the world into a composition. And he excels in this art of ‘cut-up’. Sometimes he invites musicians into the studio for a day of collective improvisation, and five of the results are published here. If the first track, ‘Casanova’, reminded me of Soft Machine, certainly because of the two saxophonists present, the whole of this music evolves in a skilful fusion of jazz, progressive, contemporary classical, avant-jazz rock and experimental. It’s music that’s ‘bursting at the seams’, uncompromising, versatile and inquisitive, demanding attention and listening. It’s easy to get caught up in one speaker, but it doesn’t take long for another to take you away to its own sound and rhythm. This is an album of jubilant musical richness, and when the female singers step in, it’s yet another expressive form that takes over. Guy really has the gift of keeping us interested, attentive to the forks in the road that constantly crop up in his compositions. I always prefer them to improvisations, but that’s simply a matter of sensitivity, or of being or not being a musician. In short, his music is passionately ‘other’. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to read or re-read an interview with Guy Segers on our website. It will tell you a lot more about this renowned bassist and his musical universe. I know he’s already busy working on the next album. In the meantime, enjoy this one. – Claudy Jalet, JAZZ MANIA   https://jazzmania.be/eclectic-maybe-band-bars-without-measures/?mibextid=xfxF2i&fbclid=IwAR0oLRC_0kjpQHmTXks4Utru3JSZgFm53YkzhuJ4ZZbxrWS7Zb4Bf0eAovY

It says “eclectic” on the tin and it doesn’t lie. Bars Without Measures by Eclectic Maybe Band covers plenty of stylistic territory. Instigator Guy Segers aimed to bring together musicians he had long admired and others that he feels deserve a push, hoping listeners will discover someone new to them. Job done. Using a methodology not uncommon since the pandemic, Segers assembled pre-arranged studio recordings and real-time improvisations by individual players to create the finished pieces. The mood is often dark and menacing but the effective use of sonic and emotional crescendi prevents the music from becoming depressing or overbearing. – Barry Witherden, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

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