Brand X
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Unorthodox Behaviour (1976), 7/10
Moroccan Roll (1977), 7/10
Livestock (1977), 5/10
Masques (1978), 6/10
Product (1979), 5.5/10
Do They Hurt (Charisma, 1980), 4/10
Is There Anything About (1982), 3/10
X-Communication (Ozone, 1992), 6/10
Manifest Destiny (Outer Music, 1997), 6/10
Percy Jones: Propeller Music (1990), 6.5/10
Percy Jones: Cape Catastrophe (1989), 6.5/10
Percy Jones: Tunnels (1993), 5/10
Fire Merchants: Fire Merchants (1989), 5/10
Fire Merchants: Landlords Of Atlantis (1994), 5/10
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Brand X were formed by drummer Phil Collins of Genesis with John Goodsall (former Atomic Rooster) on guitar, Robin Lumley (a David Bowie collaborator) on keyboards and Percy Jones (former Liverpool Scene and Brian Eno collaborator) on bass.

Unorthodox Behaviour (Passport, 1976) was an album of smooth, elegant, soulful and all-instrumental jazz-rock, totally different from the kind of brainy jazz-rock that was being offered by the Canterbury school of progressive-rock. Nuclear Burn, Euthanasia Waltz, Born Ugly and the eight-minute Unorthadox Behaviour displayed amazing group improvisation and counterpoint. The pillars of Brand X's sound were, oddly enough for rock music, the two members of the rhythm section: both the bass and the drums are the most distinctive sounds on the album. This was jazz-rock for the age of hard-rock, and jazz-rock for the age of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Morris Pert, a veteran of Stomu Yamashta's ensembles, joined part-time on Moroccan Roll (1977). The middle-eastern sounding Sun In The Night (the first Brand X vocal track), Hate Zone, Macrocosm, and Malaga Virgen are charming themes that boast masterful playing. Lumley's Disco Suicide is Brand X at its most majestic. Collins' 11-minute Why Should I Lend You Mine is the most convoluted track, like early Genesis spliced and recombined. Their quiet, intense, "relaxed" style had found a classical form.

Morris Pert took over Collins during the concerts documented on Livestock (1977), a live album that includes two new classics: Nightmare Patrol and Isis Mourning.

Masques (Charisma, 1978) added keyboardist Peter Robinson (also from Stomu Yamashta's Suntreader) and drummer Chuck Bergi to the trio of Goodsall, Jones and Pert, while Lumley stepped behind the scenes as producer. Goodsall's The Poke and Access to Data are the friendliest "songs", but Pert, too, steps up as a composer with Black Moon and the 11-minute Deadly Nightshade, and Jones pens the 10-minute melodic fantasy The Ghost of Mayfield Lodge, a highlight of the group's entire career.

Product (1979) was, instead, a commercial detour (Soho), although occasionally above the average (Jones' Dance of the Illegal Aliens and Rhesus Perplexus).

Pert left and Brand X regrouped as a quartet of Goodsall, Jones, Robinson and drummer Michael Clarke. Unfortunately, Do They Hurt (Charisma, 1980) contained inferior leftovers from the previous album, despite a charming song (Cambodia) and two competent suites (Triumphant Limp and DMZ). Is There Anything About (1982) collected more leftovers.

X-Trax (Passport, 1986), The Plot Thins (Virgin, 1992) and A History 1976-1980 (1997) are anthologies.

Brand X was then reduced to the trio of John Goodsall, Percy Jones, and drummer Frank Katz (all USA citizens) for X-Communication (Ozone, 1992), but the technical skills were even more prominent than on previous releases. Jones (Kluzinski Period, Church of Hype, Strangeness) and Goodsall (Healing Dream, A Duck Exploding) sounded sounded revitalized and the sound was at times hard-rock.

The same trio, with the key addition of Mark Wagnon on samples, was no less virtuoso on Manifest Destiny (Outer Music, 1997), although most songs sounded like leftovers from the previous (True to the Clik, Virus).

The X Files is not a career retrospective (as advertised) but a disc of live recordings and a disc of unreleased material. Timeline collects two live performances.

Virtuoso bassist Percy Jones (one of the greatest of his generation) released three solo albums, Propeller Music (1990), recorded in 1984, Cape Catastrophe (1989) and Tunnels (1993), which rank with Brand X's best material.

John Goodsall formed Fire Merchants (Enigma, 1989), an all-instrumental power-trio. After a five-year hiatus, the Fire Menchants released the follow-up, Landlords Of Atlantis (Renaissance, 1994), moving even closer to heavy-metal.

Trilogy (2003) is a three-CD set that compiles Manifest Destiny and X Communication and unreleased live recordings.

Brand X reformed with John Goodsall on guitar, Mick Stevens on bass, Dean De Benedictis on keyboards, Brock Avery on drums.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Valerio Carone)

I Brand X furono fondati da Phil Collins , batterista nei Genesis, John Goodsall (ex Atomic Rooster) alla chitarra, Robin Lumley (un collaboratore di David Bowie) alle tastiere e Percy Jones (ex Liverpool Scene e collaboratore di Brian Eno) al basso.

Unorthodox Behaviour (Passport, 1976) è un album di jazz-rock tutto strumentale fine, elegante, animoso, del tutto diverso dal tipo di jazz-rock cerebrale che era offerto dalla scuola di Canterbury del progressive-rock. Nuclear Burn, Euthanasia Waltz, Born Ugly e Unorthadox Behaviour , lunga 8 minuti, mostrano affascinanti improvvisazioni di gruppo e contrappunti. I pilastri del suono dei Brand X erano, stranamente per della musica rock, i due membri della sezione ritmica: sia il basso sia la batteria sono i suoni più peculiari dell'album. Questo è jazz-rock buono per i tempi dell hard-rock, jazz-rock per i tempi della Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Morris Pert, un veterano degli ensemble di Stomu Yamashta, collabora part-time a Moroccan Roll (1977). La mediorientaleggiante Sun In The Night (il primo pezzo cantato dei Brand X), Hate Zone, Macrocosm, eMalaga Virgen sono affascinanti temi che vantano interpretazioni maestrali. Disco Suicide (di Lumley) è Brand X in tutta la sua maestosità. Why Should I Lend You Mine (11-minuti di Collins) è il pezzo più convoluto, come i Genesis prima maniera spezzettati e ricomposti. Il loro stile calmo, intenso, "rilassato" aveva fondato una forma classica.

Morris Pert sostituisce Collins durante la registrazione di Livestock (1977), un album dal vivo che include due nuovi classici: Nightmare Patrol and Isis Mourning.

In Masques (Charisma, 1978) il tastierista Peter Robinson (anche nei Suntreader di Stomu Yamashta)e il batterista Chuck Bergi si aggiungono al trio di Goodsall, Jones e Pert, mentre Lumley si ritira dalle scene per dedicarsi alla produzione. The Poke, e Access to Data (entrambe di Goodsall) sono le "canzoni" più fruibili, ma anche Pert si propone come compositore conBlack Moon e Deadly Nightshade di 11 minuti, mentre Jones firma la fantasia melodica di 10 minutiThe Ghost of Mayfield Lodge, un'evidenza dell'intera carriera del gruppo.

Product (1979) è invece una virata verso il commerciale(Soho).Dance of the Illegal Aliens di Jones è l'unico motivo per tenersi quest'album.

Pert lasciò e i Brand X si riunirono come quartetto formato da Goodsall, Jones, Robinson e il batterista Michael Clarke. Sfortunatamente, Do They Hurt (Charisma, 1980) sembra composto da scarti degli album precedenti, a dispetto di un pezzo affascinante (Cambodia) e due suite ben fatte (Triumphant Limp eDMZ).

Is There Anything About (1982) ha continuato il declino.

X-Trax (Passport, 1986), The Plot Thins (Virgin, 1992) e A History 1976-1980 (1997) sono antologie.

I Brand X si riducono poi al trio di John Goodsall, Percy Jones, e Frank Katz alla batteria (tutti cittadini USA) per X-Communication (Ozone, 1992), ma le abilità tecniche sono ancora più elevate che negli album precedenti. Jones (con Kluzinski Period, Church of Hype, Strangeness) e Goodsall (con Healing Dream, A Duck Exploding) sembrano rivitaliazzati e il suono è hard-rock a momenti.

Lo stesso trio, con l'aggiunta cruciale di Mark Wangon al campionatore, non è meno virtuoso in Manifest Destiny (Outer Music, 1997), anche se la maggior parte dei brani sembrano avanzi del precedente album (True to the Clik, Virus).

The X Files non è una retrospettiva della carriera (come pubblicizzato) ma consiste in un disco di registrazioni dal vivo ed uno di materiale inedito. Timeline contiene due performance dal vivo.

Percy Jones ha pubblicato tre album da solista, Propeller Music (1990), inciso nel 1984, Cape Catastrophe (1989) and Tunnels (1993), che gareggiano col migliore materiale dei Brand X.

John Goodsall ha fondato i Fire Merchants (Enigma, 1989), un power-trio strumentale. Dopo un vuoto di cinque anni, i Fire Menchants pubblicano il seguito, Landlords Of Atlantis (Renaissance, 1994), spostandosi ancora più vicini all'heavy-metal.

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