I believe this is my first exposure to this duo, and on this 45-minute disc they explore a range of experimental approaches using computers, guitars, ocarina, drum machines, theremin, a music box, singing bowls, mbira, field recordings, and electronics - all dedicated to frogs, for whatever reason. It's actually the second release in the group's "Fauna" series, the first of which was "...For Electronics and Birds", so I guess they're inspired by nature or what have you. Grundik + Slava are joined on this outing by a female vocalist named Victoria Hanna (contributing to five of the tracks), Igor Krutogolov (adding bass to two tracks), and Chaos as Shelter (adding vargan to two tracks). Thankfully the bass is rarely used, as in "A Frog Gets Over His Fear of Water" it sounds rather random, lending a loose and weird jazz vibe to the electronics and unusual vocals, which also have a bit of a random feel that walks a line between singing and chanting. I'm not really sure what to make of this effort as a whole, because I enjoy the use of field recordings and the sparse, abstract electronic noises, and some of the more subdued vocal work is nice as well, but I'm not particularly fond of the musical elements. The reason being that much of the melodic sensibilities sort of feel mildly improvised, so the tracks aren't so structured or musical that they feel like true songs, and I'm also not that interested in the texture of the synths that are more openly melodic - as opposed to the ethereal hums and drones employed in tracks like "One More Song About Frog", which is quite a smooth, flowing ambient composition. "The Forest's Song For Big Red Frog" is the most percussive track, layering reverberated drums with similarly echoed vocals. The reverb and layering makes the vocals a bit more irritating than they would be if left to their own devices, but what can you do? The way the vocals are mixed deep in the heart of the soundscapes in longer selections like "The Old Frog's Dream" is much more effective, as this is another of the record's more abstract and noisy outings (where noisy means just that, as the material isn't any louder or harsher, simply less musical and more textured). The same can be said for 10-minute closer "Wet Frog Getting Cold", which also employs some faint percussive textures and distant vocalizations amidst swirling ambient soundscapes and cascading samples of waves. But another setback for this release, in my mind, is that the packaging is extremely boring. I quite enjoy the textured paper that everything is printed on, and the large live photo against a splash of red inside the booklet looks nice as well, but elsewhere? All of the text is rather bland, clean as it may be, and the simple illustrations of frogs are extremely boring... not to mention the fact that I'm not particularly interested in music that's dedicated to/inspired by frogs, you know? I mean, there are some solid moments here, and a few interesting songs, but it's hard to really identify with feelings and atmospheres that are all surrounded with silly song titles and sketchy drawings regarding frogs, you know? I'll give them credit for achieving a nice and loud degree of sound quality with a lot of resonance and detail though, so regardless of what I think of the music there's definitely a certain level of quality associated with how it's been put together and the overall sound. It's just that most of the work doesn't really do much for my personal tastes, and the visual accompaniment rubs me the wrong way from the start. So combine that with the fact that I don't care for the bulk of the vocal contributions and I'm not fond of the musical elements incorporated into many of the selections and this is a release that does have some value, but simply isn't my thing, so... (5/10)
Running time - 45:05, Tracks: 10
[Notable tracks: One More Song About Frog, The Old Frog's Dream, Wet Frog Getting Cold]


Тэги записи: kunstkamera: reviews and interviews