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Psychedelic Jazz Trance

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Album Review

The Scandinavian fusion group Wasa Express made a few small waves in the insular progressive music world for a few years in the late '70s and early '80s, mining the same sort of post-prog, vaguely jazzy noodling that Gong indulged in during the years when drummer Pierre Morelin was leading the band, or that Brand X was reduced to after their first couple of albums. They disappeared for a lengthy stretch before re-emerging with the reunion album Psychedelic Jazz Trance in 2004. The album is rather misleadingly named: there's nothing psychedelic or trance-inducing about these eight lengthy instrumentals, and they're only tangentially related to jazz. The self-contradictory title of the closing track, "Psychotropic Mindexpanders Mindless Boogie" (which sounds exactly like Mahavishnu Orchestra trying to cover "Radar Love") is much closer to the mark. The band, particularly guitarist Ken Sundberg and over-flashy drummer Ake Eriksson, seem to focus on showboating chops at the expense of actual tunes, which is fairly standard for this style of music. But on earlier albums like their self-titled 1977 debut, the quartet actually exhibited a talent for four-way improvisation and some actually interesting rhythmic and melodic ideas. In comparison, Psychedelic Jazz Trance is basically a lot of aimless jamming.

Psychedelic Jazz Trance, Wasa Express
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