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(45:42, ‘Bonobo's Ark’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Logos 6:03 2. Ipso Facto 8:44 3. Prefab Wreckage 4:19 4. Power 3:36 5. Once Around the Earth 4:32 6. The Floating World 5:03 7. Per Se 6:50 8. E=mc2 6:35 LINEUP: Yumi Hara – piano, clavichord, synthesizer; violin; vocals Geoff Leigh – flute; sax; vocals; keyboards, electronics John Greaves – bass; vocals; piano Chris Cutler – drums, percussion
Prolusion. The UK based band THE ARTAUDS BEATS came together mostly by chance back in 2009, and has been an active live and recording unit since then. Following three recordings featuring the band in a live setting, the band released their debut album "Logos" in 2015 through Yumi Hara's own label Bonobo's Ark Records.
Analysis. For those who are familiar with the various projects Yumi Hara is involved in, the contents of this CD will not be all that much of a surprise. Hara tends to involve herself in projects that focus on challenging, expressive music with, by accident or design, the kind of music that has a strong appeal among what many would describe as cultural elite – music that speaks to the mind and the intellect to a greater degree than the heart and the soul. In this case it is a production that revolves around what one might call avant-garde sensibilities and experimental details – searching, improvised-sounding passages that will sound familiar to fans of improvised and free-form jazz, subtly chaotic subservient instrument and rhythm details an ongoing feature, dissonant sounds and effects aplenty, spoken words in place of vocals and a fairly challenging landscape all in all. This album is by and large dominated by what I often describe as expressive instrumental details, where the arrangements, lead motifs and instrument soloing shy away from the more commonly explored modes of delivery and rather hone in straight to the odd tones, chaotic arrangements and unpredictable manner of development, at times subtle in an almost avant-garde meets ambient kind of way, at other times more dramatic with expressive rhythms and a firm piano motif as the foundation for other sounds to play upon. How much of this material that is actually composed, what may or may not be improvised and if the sections that sound like free-form excursions actually correspond to that description are details, I do not know. But all of these and more are present as aspects of the album, at least as I experience it. As always, the musicians’ performance is excellent throughout, and what will make or break an album of this kind will ultimately be your personal, subjective taste in music.
Conclusion. The Artaud Beats is a venture that should satisfy many whose tastes in music go towards the challenging and avant-garde oriented sound. A certain affection for jazz (of the kind that appears to be improvised and possibly with more of a free-form orientation) will be helpful, as will a taste for music of this kind used to complement spoken words. Those who find this description alluring will most likely be swayed by this album.
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