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Acoustica

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Album Review

Blurring the boundaries between classical and popular music may not be much of a new idea anymore, but there are still artists who can make it sound fresh and exciting. Alarm Will Sound is one of them, and the ensemble's latest project represents a significant jump in ambition from its musically impressive but conceptually safe all-Reich debut. For Acoustica the group chose 13 compositions by the well-respected electronica artist Aphex Twin (aka Richard James) and re-created them as closely as possible using only acoustic and electric (as opposed to electronic) instruments — violins, clarinets, celesta, oboe, trombone, electric guitar, etc. (Two compositions are featured twice, once in live performance and once in remixed versions by Berlin-based producer Dennis DeSantis.) While the arrangers' ability to re-create all of the melodic elements of James' complex compositions is impressive enough, even more so is the ability of the various drummers to replicate his speed-of-light breakbeats in a live setting. Most of the time, when you put popular music into a classical setting you just end up exposing the fact that beyond the bluster, there isn't much there there (remember the symphonic Metallica experiment?). With the music of Aphex Twin, just the opposite occurs — you hear more clearly how much is going on in his strange and wonderful pieces, and it makes you want to go back to the original versions and listen to them again with new ears. Very highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

It makes you wish it were a 3 cd box

So many interesting things happening melodically and harmonically, end up being music that stimulates the mind and pleases the senses. An organic and warm Aphex Twin is a discovery that merits many visits.

I´ll digress to confess my fascination with Alarms Will Sound glorious interpretation of Josquin Desprez Agnus Dei II from the Missa L´Homme Armée: a passionate sonic jewel and a must for discerning music lovers.

IDM in the concert hall

Incredibly well-executed renditions of Aphex Twin's cerebral IDM. The percussionists in particular have their work cut out for them with the signature hyperactive drum breaks that have made Richard D. James an electronica icon.

Many of the arrangements come from Twin's 2001 full-length, Drukqs. There's a healthy assortment of both ambience and action - some tracks, like the beautiful "4," manage to balance both.

"Acoustica" is the crossover album that put Alarm Will Sound on the radar; "Van Gogh" and "A/Rhythmia" establish the group's talent and legitimacy across multiple genres of music.

I'm dying to hear what they do next.

Doesn't live up to its promise..

I looked forward to this album with great anticipation, but the novelty quickly wore off. Let me say, the percussionists really had their work cut out for them -the seeming impossibility of human replication is one of the things that makes Aphex Twin so appealing. That being said, the overall album is quite a disappointment.

My first gripe is that the group avoided "Boy/Girl Song," which seems to me to be a natural choice since the original uses electronics to imitate acoustic instruments, then smears the canvass with electronic drums. I wanted to hear good musicians recreate the imitation with the real thing, then a drummer with wildly good chops prove human's superiority over machines
.
I shouldn't complain about what isn't here too much. For what is here, the group isn't very tight and the interpretations don't add anything. Other than the occasional "oh, I wondered how they would do that part with real instruments" the isn't much going on here. It isn't amazing and I find that I'd just rather listen to the originals.

Nice try, but this album missing the mark.

Acoustica, Alarm Will Sound
View In iTunes

Customer Ratings

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