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THE BUREAU OF ATOMIC TOURISM

«Eden»
RAT

The Belgian-International super-group The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism (BoAT) celebrates its sixth album and a new line-up after four years of hiatus. Drummer Teun Verbruggen is still the leader and together with keyboards player Jozef Dumoulin are the Belgian axis of this sextet. A remarkable cast of resourceful and versatile musicians join Verbruggen and Dumoulin: Scandinavian – Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo and Norwegian, Austin, Texas-based bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, who play together in the Swedish-Norwegian Atomic, American sax player Jon Irabagon and French guitarist Julien Desprez. All sound as eager to enjoy the deranged sonic mayhem of BoAT.

For «Eden», Verbruggen asked Dumoulin to compose material for this specific line-up and to exploit its energetic, sometimes even explosive qualities, but without denying his personal compositional strategies that tend to explore ambiguous, playful textures, often pushing both the musicians and listeners outside of their comfort zone. The new repertoire was rehearsed for the official opening of Verbruggen’s new space for avant-garde art, the Werkplaats Walte in Brussels, that opened in the fall of 2018. The artwork was made by painter Carole Vanderlinden, one of the Werkplaats Walter residents and shareholders.

The new version of BoAT describes itself as an unhinged sound laboratory, equally mysterious and revelling in hi-tech madness and sardonic excursions, enjoying the perverse delight of impending doom and sounding as playing the soundtrack to a collapse of all previously dependable systems and models. BoAT explodes with a caustic blast on the aptly-titled opening piece «De Teun Van Eden». The following pieces offer many provocative-eccentric games of hide & seek and a disorienting use of electronics. But slowly BaAT find its voice – massive, throbbing pulses comprised of the drums of Verbruggen and the bass of Håker Flaten who keep pushing the dense sonic mayhem forward with great power. Dumoulin with his noisy textures corresponds beautifully with the nervous, abrupt guitar lines of Julien Desprez and Irabagon and Broo sound as both have been playing together for generations. The groove on «Passed Presence» is still shaky and thorny but already irresistible on «Search End When Sharing Begin», completely wild of «B Minor Blues» and dive into acrobatic fusion on «Video Interlude 2». This kind of ultra-futurist,hyper-atomic tourism ends with another blast, an atmospheric reprise of  the opening «De Teun Van Eden».

Eyal Hareuveni     

Teun Verbruggen (dr, elec), Jozef Dumoulin (Fender rhodes, casto), Jon Irabagon (s), Magnus Broo (tp), Julien Desprez (g), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (b)