The jam session has long had a kind of mythic quality for rock music fans of a certain age. As what we now call classic rock gathered momentum in the 1960s and 1970s, many of the more cohesive bands would extend their hit songs with exaggerated bridges.
This allowed the players to have a bit of fun and at the same time remind everyone they took their craft seriously. And it worked. Fans ate those performances up.
Electronics had entered music by this time, but mainly they were in the hands of academics and serious music esoterics. Most of those rock bands had keyboardists, but they weren’t pushing any boundaries.
It was all a bit self-congratulatory. (Entertaining, but again, not progressive.) The real deal came in the form of bands like Kosmose. Formed in 1973, the Belgian collective included Alain Neffe on keyboards, organ, synthesizer, cymbals, flute, radio, loops, electronics, saxophone and vocals, Daniel Malempré on guitar, Francis Pourcel on guitar and bass, Guy-Marc Hinant on drums and percussion and Paul Kutzner on guitar.
Neffe and Pourcel were the two mainstays. The others drifted in and out, not unlike their recordings.
Kosmose evolved over their years together from improvised jam-session rock to free jazz. Their recordings capture a spirit of experimentation a lot of musicians and serious music fans will appreciate. The work is amazing. And because it’s all executed with dated instruments, Kosmose recordings are of real historic significance.
This is the second release of previously unavailable Kosmose material presented by Sub Rosa. Kosmic Music from the Black Country landed in 2015.