German Electronic Avant-Garde Jazz Funk Fusion Top 40 Hits

Blue Box – Captured Dance Floor
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now, simply because it’s so weird that I didn’t know what exactly to do with it. As some have mentioned (with varying degrees of tact and politeness) my musical tastes have branched out a bit lately. But this one is out there even for me. It’s mental.

Okay, so what the hell am I talking about? Captured Dance Floor by Blue Box, originally released in 1989 in the group’s native country of Germany. In what little I can find on it online, it’s often categorized as jazz fusion, but I feel that categorization is wildly inaccurate. You say jazz fusion, and I think Steely Dan, Gong or Brand X. I think jazzy rock with an abundance of horns. I don’t think sparse mechanical beats overlaid with maniacal saxophone melodies, because that’s what this album is.

I get a bit of a Was (Not Was) vibe from this, but even far less commercial than that group’s most avant-garde mindfucks. But if there was an instrumental b-side to “Hello Operator…” it would’ve been a track from this record.

It’s hard to find much information on these guys in English, but I was able to dig up a bit. The group is a trio, featuring Alois Kott, Peter Esold, and Rainer Winterschladen. The first two were previously in a group called Contact Trio, who discogs describes as “on the more avant-garde end of jazz-rock.”

In the snippets of their first two records that I’ve found, Blue Box started out not all that different from Contact Trio, a bit more upbeat with some electronic drums thrown in, but definitely more jazz than anything else. This album is much different. I suspect that between their 1985 release and this one, someone in Blue Box discovered Art of Noise. The minimal jazz textures, trumpet and bass, are mixed in with seemingly random sound effects and vocal distortions.

It is just out there, man. And I’ll be 100% honest; I really have to be in the right headspace to hear this stuff. When I’m stressed out or a little under the weather, this actually makes me a little sick to my stomach. The ways it defies convention and traditional song structure are actually unnerving to me.  But when I’m willing to roll with it and let it overtake me, I find a lot to enjoy. I appreciate the combination of electronic loops with acoustic rhythms. I like how it sounds so alien that I, at times, can’t tell what’s a sample and what’s live. I really dig how it even sounds almost industrial at times, quiet a feat considering how sparse most of it is. A dissonant sax and a few random crashing samples go a long way I suppose.

Is this for everyone? Definitely not. Is it for most people? No. But is it worth at least one listen? Without question. Give it a try, and let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Oh and that cover holy shit.

2 Responses to “German Electronic Avant-Garde Jazz Funk Fusion Top 40 Hits”

  1. Hope says:

    Love your posts of synth classics, was expecting more keyboards from this but sounds a bit late period Miles Davies, do you get Soundcloud over there ? My weird electronic stuff is on there search Gordon Hope

  2. Peter Horne says:

    Check out A Certain Ratio if you like this

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