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Twilight / Soumrak

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Album Review

This truly is the most beautiful album the Czech label Indies has released, in every way. First, the music: The result of a group effort, the songs are filled with haunting melodies, refined string arrangements (violin, viola, cello) counterbalanced by a visceral approach to rhythm (only hand percussion and shouts), and intricate vocal interplay among the five members, all singers. This is somewhere between Czech folk-pop and progressive rock, although these terms lose all meaning on such fertile soil. Lyrics span many languages, each sung by a different musician: Czech (Vladimír Václavek and Josef Ostransky), French (Takumi Fukushima), English (most of them), Polish (Andrea Konstankiewicz), Vietnamese (Cynthia Phung-Ngoc), Japanese (Fukushima), and Spanish (guest Frank Micheletti, as if the others weren't enough). They shift from one to another naturally, often combining three languages at the same time, three voices humming lines from different directions. The album was recorded in June 2000, only three weeks after the death of friend and collaborator Laurent Letourneur (he was 29). "Twilight" begins with a recording of him singing the main text of the piece. The rest of the ten-minute suite builds on this quiet opening, reaching a very emotional climax, exorcising the emotions to let the other pieces open on something more positive. The production is excellent and the lavish booklet makes clever use of the group's multilingual talents. For anyone interested in Iva Bittová (with whom Václavek recorded Bilé Inferno), Tara Fuki, or even the feminine grace of After Dinner ("Amenoyuki" could fit on Haco's first solo album), this CD is essential listening. Highly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Rale arose in East Europe in the 1990s as the rockiest avatar of the legendary group Dunaj. Bringing together musicians from folk, world, rock, improvised, and experimental music backgrounds, its music retains the delicate appeal of folk acoustic guitars, the complexity of avant-prog, and that distinctive touch of Czech rock. Formed in 1993, Rale came to life through a chance meeting at that year's MIMI Music Festival in Marseille, France. Dunaj guitarists Vladimir Vaclavek and Josef Ostransky befriended...
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Twilight / Soumrak, Rale
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