(Crammed Discs CRAM 128), the new CD from the Belgian big band Flat Earth Society (FES), will be released in America on September 26th through Ryko Distribution. Founded in 1998 by clarinetist/composer Peter Vermeersch, the group mixes whimsy and sophistication into a dynamic trademark sound that embraces influences ranging from rock to avant-garde classical to cartoon music.
American critics have called Flat Earth Society a band capable of everything from beautiful chamber jazz miniatures to slinky crime-theme jazz noir to driving rock rhythms" (Sean Westergaard, All Music Guide) and an unruly confluence of Carl Stalling's 'Merrie Melodies', Henry Mancini's cosmopolitan swank, and Sun Ra's cosmic slop--all performed with the whiplash attention span of John Zorn's Naked City" (Matthew Murphy, Pitchfork Media). Tuscon Weekly's Jarret Keene adds, Vermeersch seems to have absorbed every kind of recorded jazz from 1930 onward and applied it to a writing approach that fuses high classicism with raunchy postmodernism."
Flat Earth Society's eight-year history is just as eclectic as its sound, leading Belgium's Knack to call them probably the most flexible band ever." Known primarily outside America prior to 2004, when Mike Patton (Faith No More, Fantmas) released their seventh recording, FES-isms, on his California-based Ipecac Recordings label, FES has toured across Europe, recorded the soundtrack to an award-winning Dutch film (Minoes), created a commissioned tribute to Louis Armstrong (The Armstrong Mutations), premiered a big band opera (Heliogabal) and performed with special guests such as keyboardist/composer Uri Caine and legendary harmonica player, Toots Thielemans.