Flat Earth Society Orchestra

The most unreliable music since 1999

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Flat Earth Society Orchestra straddles the border between multi-color surrealism and savvy skill with striking ease, taking Belgian whimsy to a logical, irresistible extreme. Speaking of borders: Flat Earth Society is the ultimate international ambassador for this peculiar kind of Belgian eccentricity, with memorable performances all over the globe. Since composer, reed player, producer and de facto bandleader Peter Vermeersch founded the orchestra in the late 90’s, it has become one of the most productive and thrilling bands of its kind, with an endless list of genre-defying projects, enterprises delving into (silent) film, theatre and opera, and a wide range of albums to its credit.

Working with sheet music and tight arrangements, as well as alarming amounts of freedom and unpredictability, this 15-headed juggernaut effortlessly switches from one style and temperament to another. Not to prove that it can, but because the possibilities are just too good to ignore. The generosity that is at the heart of Flat Earth Society will satisfy those looking for an XL-shot of adrenalin and its proudly upheld ‘unreliability’.While Flat Earth Society’s compositions and arrangements betray an expert knowledge of 20th century traditions - from various jazz branches to rock, exotica and contemporary music - it starts from a decidedly 21st century spirit, looking forward and creating a body of work that is as large and multi-layered as it is instantly recognizable.
Quick-witted, effortlessly eccentric and always on the lookout for new and exciting challenges, Flat Earth Society is that rare beast: a constantly evolving orchestra that keeps shedding its skin and thrives best live. On welcoming, adventurous stages this band really explodes, something its many guests - from Jimi Tenor and John Watts to Ernst Reijseger and Uri Caine - can attest to.

Boggamasta III
FES + David 9½ Bovée

For more than twenty years, Flat Earth Society Orchestra, the flagship of slightly deranged Belgian jazz, has wreaked havoc on national and international stages, with musical programs bursting at the seams, defying genre labels and confounding listeners with their multi-colored spazz jazz razzmatazz. Highlights? Too many to keep up with, really, but Boggamasta I (2017) was definitely one of them.

Bandleader Peter Vermeersch and David Bovée (first FES guitarist who left the band in 2003 to develop his own project ‘Think of One’ – BBC Radio 3 World Music Award in 2004 and 2007) expertly gave birth to the album’s main character, the power addict and megalomaniac Boggamasta, who steered the eager and willing turbo orchestra to new areas of musical debauchery and connivery. The combination of XL band arrangements and this newly-found grit and growling groove worked like a charm and excited alert audiences and press all over Europe and South America. Jazz? “Yeah. Well, you know, like, kinda.” One London Jazz News reporter exclaimed: “It certainly is not music that should be judged with jazz criteria.” Splendid!

The freshly brewed Boggamasta III won’t satisfy those looking for answers, as our slippery lawbreakers concocted another batch of coruscating compositions and deceptive tales. Most of the classic FES references – Ellingtonia,
viral smalltalk, Zappa, 21st century frenzy – remain intact, but are navigated through labyrinthian urban jungles and fiercely updated traditions. Boggamasta III oozes in generous gulps, drawing dazzling imaginary patterns, travels
the spaceways with maps that unfold as they go along.

Make no mistake: even in its third decade, Flat Earth Society excels at creating deliciously unreliable music,full of absurd angles and thrilling twists. It’s a method, a raison d’être that remains as fresh and vital as ever and never fails to surprise. A tightrope act, voluptuous musical film and a cemetery polka combined, Boggamasta III is another triumph for Flat Earth Society and Bovée. And in case you’re wondering where Volume II went to: “It’s been three years since the first one, time’s running out.” Flat Earth Society stays ahead of the curve. By any means necessary.

participating in

  • WOMEX 2021
  • WOMEX 2017
  • WOMEX 2016
  • WOMEX 2015
  • WOMEX 2014
  • WOMEX 2013
  • WOMEX 2012
  • WOMEX 2010
  • WOMEX 2009
  • WOMEX 2008

Members

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Records

"Boggamasta" - Flat Earth Society

"FES XL S #Thebox" - Flat Earth Society

"13" - Flat Earth Society

"Psychoscout" - Flat Earth Society

On Tour

Flat Earth Society

Flat Earth Society

Flat Earth Society

Flat Earth Society