After the Exhibition (Moonjune)

The Wrong Object

Released June 25, 2013

AllMusic Favorite Jazz Albums 2013




Belgian prog heavyweights, The Wrong Object, make a spectacular return to center stage, with a studio album of brilliant original compositions — and epic proportions! After a five-year absence, After The Exhibition showcases a variety of fresh, powerful material, masterfully delivered by a capable, cohesive new lineup. With their aesthetics still rooted in an array of storied inspirational models, The Wrong Object ventures further into hybrid musical territories — pushing the boundaries of progressive jazz, rock and contemporary music, yielding results that are as stunning as they are superb. … and the evidence of this — After The Exhibition — is overwhelming. Perhaps the influence of the late Frank Zappa has never been more apparent. The songs continually weave, duck, dart, and ‘stop on a dime,’ while exhibiting the “controlled reckless abandon” and a similar zany, humorous approach to both harmony and melodic/thematic motifs, akin to that which characterized his work. This is a herculean effort; one that goes a long way in filling the very noticeable long-standing void left in the wake of Zappa’s departure. After 10 years of an existence marked by extensive touring, recording and numerous collaborations with international jazz and rock luminaries (Elton Dean; Harry Beckett; Annie Whitehead; Alex Maguire; Stanley Jason Zappa; Ed Mann), the band has reinvented itself in remarkable fashion: morphing from a quintet to a sextet, while embarking on exciting new sonic destinations. The music is engrossing, featuring a more pronounced use of electronics and vocals, while preserving their trademark energies and unique conceptual continuities. The inclusion of the hugely-talented, prodigious keyboardist Antoine Guenet (who is also the leader of MoonJune’s recording artists SH.TG.N, and fresh new member of the legendary Belgian rock-in-opposition and avant-jazz-rock luminaries, Univers Zero) and two fabulous sax players (Marti Melia and Francois Lourtie), has given the band’s sound an unprecedented harmonic richness and rhythmic complexity. Combined with the foundation provided by (the also new member) bassist Pierre Mottet and (one of two remaining original members) drummer Laurent Delchambre, the band’s charismatic leader and founder, Michel Delville (guitar and electronics), finds himself surrounded by a tight, razor-sharp unit that seemingly knows no bounds. Every so often an album comes out which proves to be a defining moment for both a group and its respective genre; this is just such an album. Delightfully quirky, undeniably bold and adventurous, but ultimately most satisfying: After The Exhibition is a huge triumph. This incredible new release shatters the progressive music template and dances madly on its remains. The Wrong Object have cemented their position among the genre’s most elite, vital — and potent! — voices. This superb work is immediately essential — an “instant classic!” It gets sweeter with each listen, and it will take up permanent residence in your regular CD rotation. This is profound progressive music at its most original, ambitious and achieving.

Track Listing:

1. Detox Gruel (Michel Delville) 04:14

2. Spanish Fly (Michel Delville) 05:20

3. Yantra (Laurent Delchambre) 08:03

4. Frank Nuts (Michel Delville / Antoine Guenet) 03:39

5. Jungle Cow, Pt. 1 (The Wrong Object) 05:41

6. Jungle Cow, Pt. 2 (Michel Delville) 04:19

7. Jungle Cow, Pt. 3 (Michel Delville) 05:24

8. Glass Cubes (Antoine Guenet) 08:29

9. Wrong But Not False (Pierre Mottet) 05:25

10. Flashlight into Black Hole (Antoine Guenet) 03:05

11. Stammtisch (Benoit Moerlen) 05:58


Michel Delville: guitar, Roland GR-09
Antoine Guenet: keyboards, vocals
Marti Melia: bass & tenor saxes, clarinet
François Lourtie: tenor, alto & soprano saxes, voice
Pierre Mottet: bass
Laurent Delchambre: drums, percussions, objects, samples

Special Guests

Benoit Moerlen: marimba, electronic vibraphone (2, 3, 5, 6, 7 & 11)
Susan Clynes: vocals (8)

Recorded at Studio 5, Liège and Studio Ubik, Brussels

Produced by The Wrong Object

Associate Producers: Guillaume Dauzou, Henri Dedeken, Kyle Reese, Matthew Wright

Mixed and mastered by David Minjauw

Photography: Elisabeth Waltregny

Cover Art: Marc Atkins

Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic


Five years after 2008’s Stories from the Shed, Belgian avant jazz-rockers the Wrong Object return as a remarkably changed band with a new outlook to match on the 2013 MoonJune release After the Exhibition. Michel Delville remains a guiding force, a highly creative electric guitarist who composed or co-composed six of the album’s 11 tracks, but he and drummer Laurent Delchambre are the only returning bandmembers — the Wrong Object are now a sextet featuring saxophonist/clarinetist Marti Melia, saxophonist François Lourtie, bassist Pierre Mottet, and keyboardist/vocalist Antoine Guenet (Univers Zero, SH.TG.N). In addition, guest vibraphonist/marimbist Benoit Moerlen (Gong, Gongzilla) performs on over half the tracks. With the previous lineup’s very capable trumpeter (Jean-Paul Estiévenart) and tenor saxophonist (Fred Delplancq) replaced by two diverse reedmen, Guenet and his widely diverse keyboard voicings, and Moerlen and his crisp tuned percussion, the Wrong Object have a much more varied instrumental palette, and they don’t waste their new potential for an instant. In its sax-fueled riff-centric moments and with the density, complexity, and unpredictability of its compositional touches — which never drag down the music’s forward momentum — the band sometimes recalls the ’90s Belgian band X-Legged Sally, and that should be considered a high compliment.

They don’t bother with a slow buildup either, bashing out the assaultive jazz-metal opener, “Detox Gruel,” like a cross between XLS and King Crimson’s “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2,” and the moment when “Jungle Cow, Pt. 3” threatens to segue into Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” also pushes the requisite rock buttons. But these interludes are merely one façet in a wildly diverse set mixing tight avant-proggy arrangements with jazzed-up harmonics and energetic solos. The Wrong Object have previously melded Balkan/Eastern European/Middle Eastern elements with creative jazz (e.g., “Honeypump Riff” from 2007’s Platform One), and After the Exhibition’s “Spanish Fly” and “Yantra” tread similar ground. For standout improvisations, note the latter track’s showcases for Melia’s low-down blurty bass sax, Guenet’s burning, swooping keys, and, after Delville’s segue of bursts and roars, the high-flying marimba/soprano sax dialogue between Moerlen and Lourtie. Even the collective improv “Jungle Cow, Pt. 1” is densely packed with sounds; free-form but not meandering, it’s a perfect entry into the “Jungle Cow” suite’s later angularities, rhythmic shifts, and fiery soloing. But the biggest surprise is “Glass Cubes.” The eight-and-a-half-minute track begins with Guenet’s piano and features vocals from the husband-and-wife team of Guenet and Susan Clynes evoking a mysterious, even magical mood — their harmonizing suggests the heyday of Caravan over 40 years previously. As Clynes’ powerful voice cuts through the wailing saxes at the song’s conclusion in an exuberant 9/8 meter, “Glass Cubes” is anthemic yet freewheeling, a Canterbury-style reinvention with a fresh, invigorating 21st century spin. Concluding the album with “Stammtisch,” the most purely Zappa-esque number and yet another highlight, merely reinforces the notion that After the Exhibition is the Wrong Object’s most diverse and arguably strongest outing thus far.

Dave Lynch (AllMusic)