June 24, 2024


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CD review: Alex Koo, Attila Gyárfás, Ralph Alessi – Identified Flying Object 2021: Video, CD cover

For ‘Galactic Liturgy’ there were still two of them in the cockpit of their Identified Flying Object. This time Alex Koo and Attila Gyárfás are joined by a third man, American trumpeter Ralph Alessi. An ambitious but also pragmatic trip to the next galaxy where, after all, not everything is so strange and unknown.

‘Identified Flying Object’ is an almost logical sequel to the debut ‘Galactic Liturgy’. Only now there is even more to experience. Alessi’s input audibly leads to further straying from the planned route. Some of the pieces appear to float even more in dense mists of an unknown galaxy. The most explicit examples are ‘Aurora’ (the title alone) and the extremely philosophical ‘Source Of The Ten Thousand Things’. The latter is admittedly one of the three songs on which Alessi cannot be heard. He does leave his mark in the other compositions/improvisations, making sure never to deviate for miles from the original i.f.o. idiom. Without polarizing, he helps to reorient the basic concepts.

The opening track is the ideal introduction. Piano and trumpet place dotted lines that are gradually but surely connected. The “flou artistique” gradually makes way for a clearly delineated structure, of which various variants appear afterwards, such as in the following ‘Levitate!’. The appropriate soundtrack to paintings by Giorgio de Chirico. In sharp contrast to this, there is then ‘Ready, Set, Go’. A indeed violent and almost dysfunctional outburst that hangs together in a cubist way. As if everything keeps crumbling and is put back together in no time.

Very different from the previously mentioned spacey ‘Aurora’. You would expect a furious impulse from ‘Maenads’ (referring to the possessed mythological female figures infamous for their bacchanal parties). Nothing is less true. It is rather a softly bobbing but also slightly fiery afterglow in a daze of bliss.

‘Underwater Star Based Society’ is another moment of reflection brimming with small reflections that slide on repetitive clusters. The use of electronics is never the essence here, as elsewhere, but only serves to add color by means of sober manipulations. Finally, there is a short nervous interlude with toy piano effects before the eleven-minute long introspective end credit starts.

For this new release, Koo borrows elements from its own past but never processes them into a smooth, streamlined aesthetic. Stimulating the listener’s curiosity remains the driving force, without falling into the trap of shoegazer jazz where everything revolves around provocation and extreme experimentation. More than regularly, themes and melodic anchor points crop up. A recording that certainly makes you long for a (live) sequel.

Technical detail: the recordings took place in the Johnny Green Giant Studio, nowadays the “talk of the town” throughout the infrastructure, including the available instruments. ‘Identified Flying Object’ is available in a fold-out digi-pack with, as is now the custom with Alex Koo, an illustration by the Dutch graphic artist Max Philippi.


1. Nebula 5:45
2. Levitate! 8:46
3. Ready, Set, Go 3:36
4. Aurora 7:23
5. Maenads 4:48
6. Underwater Star Based Society 6:24
7. Toy Pianos 1:13
8. Source Of The Ten Thousand Things 11:08

Alex Koo – piano, keys, electronics
Attila Gyárfás – drum set, gong synth
Ralph Alessi – trumpet, piccolo trumpet

Identified Flying Object | Alex Koo | Alex Koo / Attila Gyárfás / Ralph  Alessi

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