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Experimental Quintet, Romania


Experimental Quintet - Atlantis. 2012 Soft Records
Experimental Q2 - Reflux. 2014 Soft Records

I don't believe the band has an active internet presence. You can find samples of the band via the Soft Records own site. I do have Reflux here, but haven't heard it yet.

----Atlantis

And now we get to the 3rd and final CD sent to me by our good friend Eddie. Of the 3, this was the one that I most highly anticipated. Experimental Quintet (aka Experimental Q, Experimental Quartet) are a group that go back to the 1970s. They were a band I had researched for the CDRWL, and after hearing some songs on YouTube, I about wet my pants. This is some of the finest unreleased progressive rock music I'd ever heard. Imagine a cross between Progresiv TM and Tortilla Flat, and you'll understand my enthusiasm. Flute, organ, fuzz guitar and hyper complex rhythms are what defined their sound. Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, the key word is unreleased. So therefore I couldn't really add it to the CDRWL. Apparently a whole LP was recorded, but the state label Electrecord must have thought it too subversive. And sadly, most of this material remains that of mystery and imagination.

After many years, the band decided to reform, sans the flute player who is now MIA. That's a pity, as the flute is such an integral part of their original sound. So they decided to use synthesizers to recreate the sound of the flute. Perhaps the weirdest part of this reunion is that the sound quality of the CD is worse than a Communist era 1970s recording. I'm guessing they were going for an "authentic" original experience, but I'm not sure it was necessary to take it that far. However, the guitar sound is still great, so there's much to grab onto here. All the music was originally written in 1970s, so it has that compositional reckless abandon that we only find from that era. Perhaps the best track of the CD is the one they didn't re-record: 'Quintet No. 2', which they transferred from the 1970s, complete with the original flute. Once you hear this, you'll see the great potential the band once had.

In the end, a very interesting album. It's hard for me to recommend as a "must buy" item, but no doubt given the heritage and history, well worth hearing at least a few times. It's something I wouldn't sell now that I own it, courtesy of Eddie. I should mention it comes in a nice tri-fold digi-pak with complete liner notes.

Last update: July 22, 2016

Comments

  1. Yes Tom, this was a phenomenal band in the 70s that had the huge misfortune of not being able to record anything. Words do not do them justice. I urge all your readers to head off to YouTube and listen to some of the songs available there. "Amintiri despre Viitor" and the one you mentioned in your brief review, "Quintet No. 2" are absolute gems of progressive rock.

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