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(51 min, Gazul)
TRACK LIST: 1. Prima Punta 1:28 2. 8-bit Whore 3:13 3. Hubris & Greed 3:58 4. Bella Donna 1:54 5. Trouser Role 2:11 6. Faux Afro 3:55 7. Deep Down 2:31 8. Via Nino 3:33 9. Heaven Help Us 2:05 10. Interval One 0:42 11. Sicka Siam 5:44 12. Stock & Trade 2:41 13. Sleeping Beauty 5:17 14. Odor of Sanctity 5:01 15. Interval Two 0:46 16. Faux Cazzo 3:13 17. Laptop Dance 5:53 18. Vienna Fingers 5:16 19. Epilog 2:23 PERSONNEL: Kira Vollman - vocals; bass clarinet; prollotone; percussion Joseph Berardi - sampling keyboards, samples
Prolusion. The US duo NON-CREDO has three full-length studio albums to date, namely "Happy Fetched Family" (1995), "Reluctant Hosts" (1998) and "Impropera" (2006) which is my first encounter with their work.
Analysis. According to the CD press kit, this new recording by the project displays a slight departure from their multi-layered music "strictly in the vein of Rock-In-Opposition". But if Non-Credo's creative credo was previously RIO indeed, "Impropera" is a complete divergence from that style, the concept of polymorphous music being inapplicable to this album at all. Of the nineteen tracks present I liked only five - the first two and the last three. Those taking the opposing positions in the track list, Prima Punta and Epilog, are fully identical in their construction and sound alike, each arousing instant associations with Baroque music and Opera, although there are only vocals and vocalizations from Kira Vollman and clavecin passages that her partner, Joseph Berardi, elicits from a sample library via his "sampling keyboards". The next-to-last tune, Vienna Fingers, has an almost fully-fledged orchestral sound, with marching drums and still operatic vocals hovering over the slowly, yet steadily changeable classic Minimalist music-like instrumental canvases. The second track, 8-bit Whore, is an instrumental whose title makes me think of its makers as cyberpunk lovers, whilst its nature I perceive to be wanton indeed, but in the adjective's most positive meaning. Kira just shines here as a bass clarinet player and percussionist alike, the music depicting something close to Avant-garde Jazz. Laptop Dance begins and ends similarly, and while it is potentially possible to dance to the tune's central section (which instantly brings to mind '40s orchestral swingy Jazz), I don't see any connection between this instrumental and a notebook computer. Among the remaining fourteen tracks there are four that I have mixed feelings about. Sicka Siam and Sleeping Beauty both have some common ground with 8-bit Whore as well, but are noticeably simpler, besides which each features a rather long episode with only whisperings and synthesizer effects in the picture. The mellow Faux Afro and the dark Odor of Sanctity both can be viewed as benefit performances for Kira whose slow bass clarinet solos on each are quite bewitching in themselves, but don't seem to be too resourceful in the final analysis. I think I'd have better perceived the said two pieces had they been half the length that they are. Kira is the possessor of a wonderful, genuinely operatic voice, but unfortunately only the three tracks described first reveal that her gift in all its heavenly beauty. As well as most of the unnamed pieces, Via Nino and Faux Cazzo find our lady demonstrating her really mind-blowing 'chameleonic' possibilities, her voice ranging from high-pitched angelic intonations to those that are quite low even by male standards. The problem is, well, I don't really know why, but I find her mannish singing to be somewhat repellent. Faux Cazzo introduces the prollotone (sounds like a vibraphone), and Via Nino a sort of virtual string quartet whose scoring is so heavily monotonous that there is no need for the listener to be a professor to quickly comprehend it's just a sequence. Apart from narratives and whisperings, there are no genuine vocalizations on any of the remaining seven tracks - just a clownery, their instrumental background consisting almost exclusively of either random or more or less well-ordered effects and noises.
Conclusion. It's clear Non-Credo have a great creative potential, their musical horizon being incredibly wide, and since it embraces even such polar opposites as Classical music and Avant-garde Jazz, I have no doubts that RIO is part of it too. I have no idea why the duo have named their latest outing "Impropera", but I agree:-) this is a really proper title for it. About half of the disc's content is almost as abstract as "The You Tomorrow" by Random Touch, and inasmuch as I dislike any kinds of abstract art, I would not recommend this CD to Prog lovers.
VM: January 2, 2007
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