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MUSIC Album reviews with Michal Boncza: October 19, 2020

Latest releases from Lucidvox, The Rheingans Sisters and Lizabett Russo

Lucidvox
We Are
(Glitterbeat Records)
★★★★★

LUCIDVOX are one-offs. Although wedded to the rock idiom, they augment it by imaginatively borrowing from classical music and Russian folklore — a beguiling symbiosis.

The four Moscovites are consummate musicians and phenomenal instrumentalists  — Galla Ghintoft plays guitar with mesmerising, elegant riffs, Alina Barsukova vocals sung in Russian are thrilling either solo solo and in choral combinations with others, while Nadezhda Samodurova’s jazz-influenced drumming and Anna Switchitout’s “wandering” bass combine in formidable, boundary- stretching orchestrations.

My Little Star starts with a breathtaking Orthodox choral chant before evolving into a hypnotic rock prayer, while the pulsating and unsettling Knife brings a fatalism that contrasts with the melancholy of the lyrical and alluring You Are.

Runaway, embroidered with trumpet riffs, is just majestic as are the shifting tempos of Around. The flute, guitar and vocals combinations of Sirin are goose-pimple stuff.

An utter revelation.

The Rheingans Sisters
Receiver
(Bendigedig)
★★★★★

THERE is a telepathic understanding between the multiaward-winning Rheingans, Rowan and Anna, which infuses their music with a rare clarity of harmony, complemented by sublimely inventive overlaps of voices and instruments.

Not often does less mean more in such a striking manner. The Derbyshire duo’s minimalist, signature arrangements intoxicate as they alternate between masterly combinations of violins, banjo, Bearnaise three-holed flute and Pyrenean stringed drum.

They create a soundscape of poetic contemplation one moment and pulsating, playful danceable jigs the next, evidence that both have spent time absorbing Swedish traditional fiddle styles as the experimentation in the French traditional scene.

The Yellow of the Flowers is resplendent, while Waltz from Lozere is enchanting and the melancholy Moustiques dans les Mures, perky Orogen or monochromatic Insomnia are distilled joie de vivre.

Music to unclutter the mind.

Lizabett Russo
While I Sit and Watch this Tree, Volume I
(Last Night From Glasgow)
★★★★

GLASGOW-BASED Romanian migrant Lizabett Russo continues her musical peregrinations of subtle melodic nuance, gentle shifts of tempos and arresting Levantine accents.

Her unique voice has an impressive range both in colour and expression — it can whisper one second, quiver the next and then soar operatically to confound expectation.

Although these songs are in essence intimate chansons and ballads, their gentle polyphonic structures and sophisticated arrangements make Lizabeth Russo’s oeuvre both intriguing and highly rewarding.

Her transformation of the traditional The Water is Wide — once sung metronomically by Joan Baez — with the insertion of a charming vocalise exercise is illustrative of her musical imagination.

I was Young when I left Home, Release, or Romanian traditional Valuri si Ganduri owe as much to her superb vocal skills as the intuitive, instrumental mastery of the supporting quartet.

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