Belgian guitarist/bassist, composer, and studio wizard Pierre Vervloesem first garnered international attention in the avant rock community back in the early '90s as a key member of Peter Vermeersch's crazed jazz-rock outfit X-Legged Sally, a fiery, high-energy ensemble that featured avant-proggy but tightly focused composing, a rock-solid electrified rhythm section, and front-line reeds (and trumpet) that ably navigated Vermeersch's memorable charts in a way that drew comparisons to Nick Didkovsky's N.Y.C. ensemble Doctor Nerve as well as a key Vervloesem and Vermeersch inspiration, Frank Zappa. Vervloesem stuck with XLS through all of its '90s incarnations, and also began to step out as a solo artist with a series of his own albums based in experimental rock, rock-based improvisation, soundtrack music, and electronica, often displaying a witty and punning sense of humor. He also participated in a variety of other projects as a collaborator or bandmember, notably Vermeersch's post-XLS big band, Flat Earth Society, producing and mixing several FES discs and playing guitar on the ensemble's 2009 Cheer Me, Perverts! Vervloesem had a busy year in 2010, involving himself in several projects and continuing his ongoing direction of the Belgian Off label's "P.V. Presents," a CD series largely, but not exclusively, featuring discs on which he plays. In June of that year, he played a "try-out" show in Antwerp of Caca, a new octet strikingly similar in concept to the original sax-fired version of XLS as heard on that band's 1991 Bill Laswell-produced debut, Slow-Up. Unlike the musicianship in many of Vervloesem's rock-based projects, the lineup of Caca (which Vervloesem has reportedly said is not intended to convey anything scatological) is mainly comprised of musicians from the jazz side of the equation. Vervloesem is featured on guitar and Gil Mortio on bass (reversing the instruments they play in the rock improv Kings of Belgium trio), with other bandmates including keyboardist Peter Vandenberghe (a Belgian jazz-rock and avant-prog mainstay heard with such groups as XLS, FES, Univers Zero, and Vervloesem's own Grosso Modo), FES drummer Teun Verbruggen, and four saxophonists: Benjamin Boutreur (alto) and Bruno Vansina (baritone), both from FES; Roeland Van Hoorne (tenor); and Nicolas Roseeuw (bass), an important contributor to the rather like-minded project Fukkeduk (produced by Didkovsky) back in the mid-'90s.
After a bit more live performing following the Antwerp live premiere, Caca released a debut disc, Sketches of Pain, in 2010, as part of Off's P.V. Presents series. The 11-track CD featured nine compositions by Vervloesem and two by Vandenberghe. Off made Sketches of Pain available as a stand-alone disc or as part of The CK Theory, a four-CD box set including three other P.V. Presents CDs, SSSHHHTTTT by the Claude Zac Ensemble (a three-guitar/bass/drums instrumental avant rock outing), Grotesque by Codswallop (an avant pop/rock release featuring Bowie-esque crooner Richard Belgium), and John Koenig (the only disc not including Vervloesem as a player, a previously unreleased electronic soundtrack by composer Koenig, who counts P.V. among his big fans). ~ Dave Lynch