Review: Aranis (2007)


artist: Aranis
release: Aranis
format: CD
year of release: 2005, 2007
label: Self-released, Anti­Clock
dur­a­tion: 62:55

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Aranis is a Flem­ish sep­tet of clas­sical musi­cians who have ban­ded together to make innov­at­ive music on the bor­ders of clas­sical, folk, and (post-)rock. This self-titled debut was released in Flanders in 2005 - with sup­port of the gov­ern­ment no less - and has now been picked up by Anti­Clock records for an overseas/internation release. A good choice for this idio­syn­cratic label, for they’ve landed an ori­ginal band that will have a broad appeal.

The com­pos­i­tions on this long album are pre­dom­in­antly instru­mental, giv­ing all the instru­ments ample oppor­tun­ity to shine. We hear piano, flute, strings, and accor­dion, all played flaw­lessly and with feel­ing. Occa­sion­ally, we hear vocals in an ima­gin­ary lan­guage; on “Yosu” it is a female choir, which doesn’t do much for me, but mostly because of the unori­ginal melody in this track. “Zilezi”, on the other hand, fea­tures male vocals, vary­ing widely in intens­ity, like the track itself, which has very calm, brood­ing parts, but also wilder, heav­ier sec­tions. The same can be said of the album in its entir­ity, actu­ally. Some tracks are calm and subtle, whereas in oth­ers, the band really steps on the gas. In the lat­ter cat­egory, “Vuur” is def­in­itely my favour­ite. It altern­ates fast, rhythmic pas­sages with omin­ous soft inter­ludes to a great effect. A nice example of the dynam­ics that this band is cap­able of.

It’s dif­fi­cult to com­pare this music with any other styles, because of the unique sound. Ele­ments from many diverse kinds of music are blen­ded together so adeptly, that a com­par­ison would be use­less. On the down­side, I find the final res­ult a bit too clin­ical to really touch me to a deep level. All the same, these people have craf­ted an excel­lent and excit­ing album that should not be skipped by lov­ers of exper­i­mental music, con­tem­por­ary clas­sical, and cros­sover genres. Here’s to an inter­na­tional release of the already fin­ished second album!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Indrigo (6:02)
2. Jona (4:16)
3. Vuur (6:52)
4. Yosu (5:28)
5. Oyma (6:07)
6. Zilezi (15:13)
7. Questosteron (4:29)
8. Pan­tra (5:36)
9. Labyrinth (4:03)
10. Wespen­graf (4:49)

 

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