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8.9/10 Avi
 

ALTROCK CHAMBER QUARTET - Sonata Islands Goes RIO - CD - Altrock - 2012

review by: Avi Shaked

Altrock Productions has sponsored many interesting releases recently, and has therefore quickly earned a reputation for being a notable home for avant rock and progressive music. This release unveils the Altrock Chamber Quartet, which performs avant rock (or Rock in Opposition, also known as RIO) compositions in classical chamber music inspired format of flute, clarinet, violin and cello. Mind you, there's nothing Brazilian about it.

The arrangements are not just simple walkthroughs or decorations of the originals - as is often the case with rock music being given the orchestral treatment - but rather genuinely insightful and fully developed, with the performances remaining overall true to the intimate (as opposed to overblown) yet forward thinking spirit of the original compositions.

The chamber quartet recasts the pieces (by Henry Cow's Fred Frith, Thinking Plague, Yugen's Francesco Zago and others) into a purely acoustic setting, and the clean take shines different elements in a new light. One such example is the rhythms, which were typically processed with an electrical treatment on the originals and are now recreated with arco playing and brass blows, and the cover of Univers Zero's "Presage" excels in this. The compositions also sound less heavy and more cheerful, much due to the playful flute and piccolo playing of Emilio Galante, and while this might deter some of the avant-rock listeners (as we were a bit, initially) it in fact serves the greater purpose.

Now, "what greater purpose?" you might ask. We find Sonata Islands Goes RIO an important release, in both its vision and its accomplishment. The recognition of the RIO movement and its derivatives (avant rock / chamber rock) as significant compositional movements is indeed sound, and the classical oriented perspective and its immaculate execution further support the aforementioned establishment. The fact that the music is kept intuitive and moving, carrying twists of modern music incorporated into the accessible, tuneful frame of earlier classical music, would hopefully help in exposing the avant-rock scene to a wider audience. We would especially love to see this release getting a proper exposure amongst classical chamber music aficionados (together with the new Aranis release, which is also featured in this issue). (8.9/10)

 

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ISSUE 74
ALBUM REVIEWS

(A-AN)  (A-B)  (B-C)  (C-D)  (D-G)  (G-H)  (I-J)  (K-L)  (L-M)  (M-P)  (P-R)  (R-S)  (S-T)  (U-Y)  (Z-ZA)

ABACINATE
Genesis

ABYSSPHERE
Shadows and Dre

ACID WITCH
Witchtanic Hell

AELTERS
Dusk Dawn / Fol

AETERNAL SEPRIU...
AETERNAL SEPRIU

AL NAMROOD
Estorat Taghoot

ALTROCK CHAMBER...
Sonata Islands

ANGELUS, THE
On a Dark & Bar

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