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Album Review

Released almost four years after PFS' first LP, Illustrative Problems, 279, while not making a brutal disconnection, did mark a change of aesthetics. Pieces are shorter, more tightly composed, and integrate a lot more classical elements, mostly through clips from actual classical pieces inserted in the band's compositions as a tape part. 279 is a mixed bag of tape pieces ("War"), free improvisations ("Live Faust Die Jung"), preconceived or re-composed improvisations ("Solace," "2 S's & 2 O's"), and full compositions. Fans of the progressive rock band Cartoon (in which all three members of PFS were previously involved) will be happy to know that "Raising the Dead" contains a theme from "Shredded Wheat," and that "Leeward" was actually part of the band's repertoire. "2 S's & 2 O's" features beautiful interplay between Herbert Diamant on bassoon and guest cellist Bill Johnston. "Sigh" is a strange composition, blending clips from pieces by Josquin des Prez, Mahler, Mozart, and DeLassus, with music played by PFS. The album ends with "Theme in E-Flat," Robert Schumann's last composition before sinking into madness. The delicate romantic melody has been respectfully arranged. The whole album lacks a bit of cohesion, but the classical-meets-rock approach will interest fans of Art Zoyd and Univers Zero — same global sound palette. Not an essential item, 279 is more of a worthy curiosity. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Formed: 1984

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The trio PFS was formed in 1984 by members of the quintet Cartoon. PFS established a leaner, more improvisational sound. The band performed shorter pieces that could quickly straddle the bounds of jazz, classical, industrial and rock. Scott Brazieal (keyboards, tape effects and composition) studied composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has composed and performed music for ballet and film, and has developed musical applications for the Macintosh computer. Herb Diamant (saxophone,...
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