Monday, April 13, 2015

Speed Limit - 1974 - Speed Limit

 Speed Limit

01. Sleep Walker (11:13)
02. Pava (5:06)
03. Abra (2:58)
04. Spanish Dream (9:17)
05. Ballad to Laura Antonelli (6:32)
06. Ducky (4:02)

Jorge Jinda / drums
Jeff Seffer / wind instruments
JL Bucchi - electric piano
Gerard Curbillon / guitars
Joel "dud" Dugrenot / bass
Shiroc / percussion

A jazz-rock quintet formed around MAGMA alumni Sheffer, Dugrenot and Top, Speed Limit recorded two albums in the middle of the 70's, the first being closer to Bitches Brew, Body Electric (Weather Report) and Elastic Rock (Nucleus) than Upon The Wings Of Music (Ponty), Elegant Gypsy (DiMeola) and Metheny's Offramp. The second is much more adventurous, mixing early XXth Century classical composers to their proggier sound and adding up a string quartet Their music was never far away from experimental or dissonant music, obviously veered a bit on Zeuhl grounds as well. While Speed Limit wouldn't break new grounds, they had some ambitious tracks, like the sidelong Pastoral Idyl on their second album, which is clearly the group's most outstanding achievement. By the end of the 70's Speed Limit was already forgotten by most of the public and the musicians had turned to other projects.

 I certainly am biased towards this style of music. These guys are pros though and having Seffer involved is a bonus for me. He actually composed the first 3 tracks while piano player extraordinaire Jean-Louis Bucchi composed the final 3 songs. What I love about this music is listening to the different sounds all mesh together so perfectly. And while the sax and piano play stand out the most, my favourite parts are when the angular guitar comes in on the two longer songs.This is an all instrumental album by the way.

"Sleep Walker" is the longest track at over 11 minutes.The drums and percussion lead the way early. Sax and piano join in the fray to create an excellent melody. The guitar and bass then arrive to make this a joy. All these intricate sounds are such a pleasure to listen to. The angular guitar starts to become prominant, making some beautiful noise after 3 minutes. "Pava" opens with cymbals before sax, drums and piano come in quickly.The piano leads the way early. It gets a little sombre before 3 minutes as Seffer plays his alto sax slowly. Actually there's not much of a melody at this point.

"Abra" opens with some nice drumming followed by some dissonant sax. The tempo starts to pick up and the drumming is great. It changes 2 minutes in to a more jazzy sound as the bass comes in. "Spanish Dream" features sax, piano and bass with not much in the way of a melody until before 3 minutes.That's when the drums and angular guitar come in with percussion, making the rest of this song my favourite on the album. I could listen to him play his guitar all day long. Sax takes over for the guitar before 7 minutes. "Ballad To Laura Antonelli" is 6 1/2 minutes of laid back sax and piano play that drifts along pleasantly. "Ducky" is more uptempo with piano, bass, percussion and drums leading the way early. Sax a minute in as Seffer takes the lead the rest of the way.

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