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Leyla Fon Rio - 2008 - "Matiz"

(60:14, Dreaming Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Anny Can't Define Me 7:31
2.  Listen to My Jamy 3:56
3.  Cadavre Exquis Cadavre 4:50
4.  You're Mine Now 1:41
5.  Favorite Game 3:30
6.  She Loves Like That 6:21
7.  Redux Silences 3:37
8.  Blind 2:18
9.  Glamy Universe 5:15
10. Behind the Glass 5:27
11. Le Temps Reste 4:33
12. Eternal Lite Beauty 0:36
13. Jolie Nuit 4:08
14. Fond De Scene Jazz 6:31


Leyla Fon Rio  all instruments

Prolusion. Leyla FON RIO is a French multi-instrumentalist and composer who loves to spend time exploring various musical creations, which sums up more or less what is known about her. She was signed to Dreaming Records, a division of the Musea label, in 2008 and her debut album "Matiz" was issued soon after.

Analysis. The Dreaming sub-label set up by Musea Records has been very active over the several years of its existence (since 1997), specializing in proto-progressive music with strong leanings towards new age and electronic. Debutant Leyla Fon Rio is one of its latest additions, although this time we're served up a production exploring a slightly-to-strongly different take on that musical mix. In the current case the stylistic leanings are rather unique compared to many of the other releases on this label that I'm familiar with, and I suspect that there aren't too many similar works released elsewhere either. The musical foundation for "Matiz" is a form of jazz, laidback and slick in its expression. Piano explorations seem to be the most vital ingredient, with free-flowing wandering themes with a high degree of improvisational character ebbing back and forth between dissonant, staccato and at times slightly atonal variations to structured melodic themes and further on to what appears to be pure improvisational playing, most times with distinct jazz leanings to the explorations, but also with a few select instances of what appears to be avant-garde inspired expressions. Pianos are used just as much as guitars and in just about the same manner too: Either as layered or as a single acoustic guitar, themes and variations are served up, ranging in expression from melodic, jazz-tinged, themes to more experimental and adventurous performances. In addition, fragmented guitar sounds from electric as well as acoustic guitars are used as effects throughout, and mainly to add disharmonic and somewhat chaotic elements to the individual compositions. Some instances of guitar-soloing, most times placed back in the mix, are notable but not dominating features on this production, and in a few rare instances a drawn out guitar chord is utilized as an effect. Synthesizers and keyboards make up the new age elements in the individual compositions, with single or multi-layered floating synth themes the most common variety used. Dampened organ passages as well as electric piano soloing are inserted from time to time as well, but for the new age feel these are of a secondary importance. Saxophone, flute and violin are additional instruments heard; whether or not these are sampled is unknown. What makes this creation as a whole unique is the large amount of themes containing discords, disharmonies and arrhythmic elements. It is a planned effect used extensively throughout this album, not always successfully but Rio has an inventive approach to her compositions and performances.

Conclusion. "Matiz" is an inventive and creative production, mixing jazz and new age with a few elements from folk music thrown in for good measure, and adds complexities to the compositions by utilizing a wide array of disharmonic, dissonant and atonal elements. People who interested in sampling an adventurous album mixing jazz and new-age music with avant-garde leanings should probably find quite a lot of what they are looking for on this recording, and open-minded jazz fans might also find this a compelling creation.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 12, 2009
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records
Leyla Fon Rio


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