elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth.
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X-Legged Sally was a Belgian avant-garde group that fused elements of funk, jazz, progressive rock and classical to create a truly remarkable and unique cacophony of sound. They played a pivotol role in helping to establish the indie scene in Belgium during the late early 90's. The first track that I had the pleasure of hearing from the group was "Hair", which I discovered on Youtube, and also happens to remain my favorite track by XLS. "Hair" was included on the album "The Land of the Giant Dwarfs". Even though you won't find it on this album, I included a youtube video for "Hair" to give you a preview of the group's sound before you download the album, although one should keep in mind that they have a very eclectic approach to their albums, and no one song can accurately represent the group's sound as a whole. Upon searching for more information about the band, I was shocked to discover that the majority of their discography is currently out of print. Only Eggs & Ashes and Killed by Charity appear to still be available from Sub Rosa.
X-Legged Sally consisted of members Peter Vermeersch, Paul Belgrado, Pierre Vervloesem, Danny Van Hoeck, Peter Vandenberghe, Bart Maris, and Michel Mast. In 1990 the band first appeared on the radar by contributing a track to the compilation "Live at the Knitting Factory Vol. 4", which helped the band members to establish a relationshiop with the New York downtown scene. The next year the group would go on to release their debut album, Slow-Up, which would solidify X-Legged Sally's reputation, and help to change the face of the independent Belgian music scene. Fortunately for us during the time the group was together they were active, releasing five studio albums and one live album within a 6 year span. In 1996 the band held a farewell concert, and officially disbanded the following year. Each of the members would eventually go on to work on their own respective projects. Peter Vermeersch founded A Group (together with Pierre Vervloesem), and later the Flat Earth Society, while Eric Sleichim started Bl!ndman, and Pierre Vervloesem featured in a lot of bands and has a productive solo career.
I have only found this album posted on one other blog, that being the legendary Mutant Sounds blog; however, it was only a low quality rip at 128kbps. It pleases me to be able to deliver a much higher quality rip at 320kbps. I was also recently greeted with a rather pleasant surprise when I stumbled across a comment that E-mile left on the Jazz Archives blog, where he posted links for the majority of their discography, so if any of you would like to see more of their albums posted here in the future, please leave a comment and let me know.
I had initially intended to post a track by track review, but it started to become increasingly obvious that I wasn't going to be able to finish before I have to go to work. Since I promised a friend that I would have this posted today, I'm just going to share a more professionally written review from Allmusic:
"It's easy to see why Bill Laswell was impressed when Peter Vermeersch sent him the demo from Belgium. This band was hot, hotter in fact than pretty much anyone the big, bad N.Y.C. producer/bassist was working with at the time. So X-Legged Sally was invited to record at Laswell's Greenpoint Studio in Brooklyn, and Slow-Up is the result. The band's debut full-length nearly overflows with energy, a sax-driven riff feast with full-tilt forward momentum from the rhythm section and no-holds-barred solos from reeds, guitar, and keys -- all packaged in 15 concise tunes (mainly instrumental and mainly penned by bandleader/clarinetist/saxophonist Vermeersch) that reveal how hooks, melodies, and straightforward harmonic and rhythmic foundations can be an asset even in the world of avant-prog music. The band's avant tendencies are balanced expertly with the plain satisfaction of nimbly executed unison and harmony lines, memorable themes, and the oft-displayed ability to accelerate from a standstill to light speed (and vice versa) in the blink of an eye. And while Vermeersch and company bring a certain Euro-style artfulness and serious avant jazz chops to the proceedings, the down and dirty influences of funk, blues, and even screamin' rock & roll (check out manic shredder guitarist Pierre Vervloesem's lung-tearing vocals on "Bacon & Eggs") crop up all over the place. Envision the members of Parliament/Funkadelic suddenly finding themselves on-stage with King Crimson running through those crazy stop-and-start unison passages in "21st Century Schizoid Man." That's what a lot of Slow-Up is like. But if the CD were merely fast, faster, and fastest music 100 percent of the time, it would ultimately be a bit of a bore -- like a Hollywood big-budget action movie with five or six too many chase scenes. Slow-Up isn't that; Vermeersch expertly modulated the program and he knew when to slow down, as in "Down at the Dinghy," a lovely little tango performed by the band's three reedmen with everyone else sitting out. And "Blackhead Blue Blues" is as moody and low in its slow groove as the blues can be, that is until Vervloesem unleashes a torrent of notes from mysterious depths right out into the stratosphere. Still, hard chargers like "34th Street," "Turkish Bath," and "Memphis" are the biggest stunners, with high-spirited energy, compact structures, and grooves that won't let go. If there's any fault whatsoever to be found, it's actually with Laswell's production, which is a bit bottom-heavy. The reeds could've been punched up when the entire band is cranked and cooking; perhaps Laswell forgot to tweak the knobs from one of his atmospheric ambient/world/dub productions. Or maybe the band frightened him and he ran out before he could tweak anything (naw, he was back producing Killed by Charity during the band's next U.S. visit). At any rate, it's a minor quibble. Slow-Up is a masterpiece of avant prog and should be in the CD collection of anyone who appreciates, say, New York's Doctor Nerve or Montréal's Les Projectionnistes. - Dave Lynch, All Music Guide"
Year of Release: 1991 Label: Sub Rosa Genres: Avant-Garde, Avant-Prog, Jazz-Rock, Funk Bitrate: 320kbps
Track List: 1. Ffwd 2. Zippo Raid 3. Xls 4. Down at the Dinghy 5. Bacon & Eggs 6. 34th Street 7. Blackhead Blue Blues 8. Lacto B. 9. Fuck & Coffee 10. Turkish Bath 11. Little Hearts 12. Liquid 13. Pinocchio 14. Memphis 15. Ongennaam