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(43 min, Carbon 7)
TRACK LIST: 1-13. The Dancing Lawn 43:38 All tracks: by Galileo Brothers. Produced by Galileo Brothers. LINEUP: Galileo Brothers
Prolusion. GALILEO BROTHERS is neither a band nor an orchestra, in a traditional sense. The structure of this unique formation reminds me of something like a musical Masonic Order. The organization unites hundreds of artists from a few dozen countries, representing each of the earthly continents (except Antarctica of course). The location of their headquarters and website is unknown to me, so I can't tell you whether "The Dancing Lawn" is their only effort or not.
Analysis. This album presents thirteen instrumental pieces, though there are some brief vocalizations on a few of them. It was recorded part by part from 1998 to 2002, in different countries, on different continents, and its lineup, if it's possible to use the term in this case, is too large to list here. What's curious is that each of the tracks features the performances of different musicians, and there are no less than a dozen of them on each, on average (I didn't attempt to count this up). Of course, the arsenal of instruments used is also enormously large and includes a wide variety of chamber, brass, folk, rock / wind, string, keyboard, percussion et al. recognizable instruments, and also plenty of exotic ones, whose names tell me nothing. Despite all that, the album is astonishingly coherent musically and is even stylistically more or less homogeneous. The majority of tracks flow fluidly from one to another, without pause. Finally, this is a concept work and should be considered so, since all the tracks are presented to the user as parts of the suite that has given the title to the album. With a few exceptions, which I will mention below, the material in many ways corresponds to the conception of New Music. I mean the widespread conception of New Music, not the Fifth Element, inasmuch as there is nothing avant-garde or extremely unusual here. In a generalized context, this is an almost unimaginably variegated mixture of ethnic/folk/world, classical, minimalist and quasi-jazz genres and styles. The former components are predominant over the others on each of the four pieces following the opening track, which, at least partly, is due to the specificity of the sound of marimba and like mallet percussions whose hypnotically recurring solos form the basis for the arrangements on each of those. Ethnic percussions are also present throughout the ninth and the tenth part of the suite, but the principal soloing instruments, particularly the clarinet, provide the textures typical for the traditional and minimalist schools of Classical Academic music. The last track first follows in a similar direction, but ends with a rather long organ postlude. Part VII is joyous and is the most varied piece, combining all the fundamental directions with American Country. The first and the eighth compositions are little concertos of classical music for piano and bells / a violin ensemble and clarinet respectively. On the remaining three tracks: 6, 11 & 12, Galileo Brothers appeal to the most traditional genres. There is no making heads or tails of the variety of all those sambas, rumbas and bossa novas, but I have recognized the music on the first two; these are nothing but a march and tango, with some insignificant variations on the themes.
Conclusion. From a progressive standpoint, the level of intricacy of this music ranges from moderately complex to accessible. In other words, the album will easily be within the grasp of any experienced Prog head. What's more important, it might serve as an excellent stage for those still on the way to comprehending complicated musical forms, classical ones included, and those about to widen their horizon as well. This CD can be recommended to any open-minded music lover.
VM: May 10, 2005
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