Chromatic Music 2017
Sweet and somewhat disturbing sounds from global village where the past meets the present.
Brazilian prog band playing Romanian folk dances by Hungarian proponent of avant-garde? Unimpossible – if one is to evoke the term this trio used on 2013’s "The Last Tribe" – yet there’s no easy way for guitarist Nelson Coelho’s collective who went beyond the obvious classical tropes in search of Béla Bartók’s deeper truths. “Contact with foreign material not only results in an exchange of melodies, but – and this is still more important – it gives an impulse to the development of new styles”: the composer’s quote on the CD wallet may be a clue to their experiment, only it doesn’t prepare the listener for the playfulness of such a practical study.
By passing piano pieces to a basic rock group, “Bartók in Rock” gets a grip of another dimension, where ethnic elements are spread across space and time. Yet while the aforementioned suite – each of its six parts fleshed out to expand their original under-a-minute duration – is understandably exuberant, and sometimes stately or sinister, in their radiant harmonies, two “Mikrokosmos” specks, the first sprinkled with stardust from David Cross‘ violin, hide Bulgarian rhythms behind heavy riffs and well-tempered madness. Still, it’s the twilight twinkles of “An Evening In The Village” that bind together, in most unexpected way, not only the vestiges of samba and Balkan sounds but also a whiff of Chinese melody – all thanks to an exquisite arrangement whose slight exotica is accentuated by Fred Barley’s percussion. And although, with Gabriel Costa’s bass giving the dirge of “The Young Bride” an additional depth, the album’s finale may be funereal, there’s immense exhilaration in these grooves. Quite a milestone work.