Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Artús - Ors [2016] France

A very very remarkable outfit, Artús (formerly known as familha Artús) is a collective attempting to tell the story of a bear. We follow Dominique the bear just as he's exited hibernation state at the top of the mount Estibére to what may be perceived as an allegorical narrative. Can you spot the bear on the cover? I bet. 

Artús come from Gascony in southwestern France and they employ the Occitan language to unfold their story. Occitan is spoken from the southern part of France to the Italian Alps, to Catalonia, the Pyrenees and Monaco among other places. It may be recognised as an official language or not (as in France's case). I just offered this little piece of cultural geography since I did not know anything about it and wanted to shed a little light behind the band's backdrop. 

It becomes apparent from the first notes in, that Artús are standing with one foot to the past and one to the future. On top of the classic rock setup (with a baritone guitar) they're blending the violin, hurdy-gurdy, baisha, various percussions and more importantly, three-way chanting. The result is an organic polyrhythmic and uprooted beast that is irate rather than lamenting. You can feel something old and traditional in what these inventives are doing, something that is screaming in fury. It's I presume, the voices of the unheard, as Artús transcribed them.

This is by far my best album for 2016.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ithak - Black Nazar Corporation [2016] France

Ithak may be one of those acts that go unnoticed. This is their second album, it was released in 2016 and it really flew low while it deserves otherwise.

The band is a typical there's no bass...ooh ok the bass duties are taken over by a barytone saxophone, which is actually the main reason I was drawn to their music.

I'm trying to find a common denominator for the sounds offered and I think that's the oriental music influences. Oriental can be too inclusive so I'll try to confine that a little. Maybe there's mainly Turkish and Moroccan music references. The compositions are mesmerisingly addictive, there's an prevalent in-your-face attitude and I believe the players enjoy what they are doing to the max. This is a diverse offering.

I'd reluctantly label them as Zeuhl, though it would be a very modern take in Zeuhl or maybe it's just another influence on their palette. The band have tagged themselves as RIO, cyberpunk and oriental rock among others. All I know is they made me turn my head.

Support the band here