"These days, avant-garde jazz fusion seems to be more prominent than ever, and for good reason. After all, there have been numerous artists who've paved the way thus far, with Frank Zappa likely ranking as the most well-known and influential. On its newest release, After the Exhibition, Belgian sextet The Wrong Object crafts a dizzying display of boisterous technicality and playful timbres. Despite its tendency to showcase the same tricks over and over again, it's invigorating from beginning to end.
Formed a decade ago, The Wrong Object cites a varied collection of influences, including Soft Machine, Gong, Béla Bartok, and Charlie Mingus. Of course, the instrumental spirit of Frank Zappa dominates After the Exhibition (which isn't to say that it's unoriginal). In fact, the record is packed so full of ideas that you'll wonder how the group was ever able to definitively organize and decide on the final arrangements.
"Detox Gruel" bursts with purposeful agility; its horn riffs are precise and demanding, and the rhythm section is remarkably controlled and confident. It feels apocalyptic without being overly noisy or aggressive (well, that is until the guitars recall the fiercer moments of King Crimson). It's an exceptional way to start, and "Spanish Fly" is an intriguing way to follow. More sporadic and frenzied than its predecessor, it's arguably more brilliant yet inaccessible (which is a common paradox in this genre). It feels more like a puzzle of juxtaposed pieces than a linear progression.
There's an exceptional interplay between sax and synths on "Yantra"; it's among the most schizophrenic and colorful tracks here. There's also the three part "Jungle Cow" suite, which basically starts off atmospherically and slowly, builds to more chaos, and dissolves back into its original form. Also, "Glass Cubes," besides its lovely piano opening, is refreshing simply for featuring vocals.
After the Exhibition is as lively, intricate, vivid as anything else you've likely ever heard. There is an issue of meandering repetition (which seems to be inherent in the style), but if you're into this kind of music, you'll no doubt find The Wrong Object to be one of the most engaging acts still keeping avant-garde jazz alive."