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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Dorf - Le Record (Leo Records) ***½

By Joe Higham

What an easy CD to review. This is one of those albums that is easily digested and has a wide appeal, in fact 'Dorf' means 'Village', so maybe something for the whole family? Here we find brass bands, prog-rock (aka - rock in opposition), jazz, (a little) free, and plenty of punch (helped by an excellent recording). This is a 21 piece big band led by Jan Klare that literally rocks, making your speakers vibrate with lovely grooves and the joyful noise that the group produces, you can hear that everyone is having plenty of fun. The compositions are reasonably strong, and as with many large ensembles the trick here is the use of instrumental colours and combinations to develop ideas, the rockier direction the music takes make the album stand apart from other big band albums.

The music is as already mentioned a real mix between several worlds and really blurs the areas between rock and jazz. An excellent example is to be found in the piece 'Spin' which builds from simple, almost humorous, question and answer phrases slowly becoming heavy guitar based riffs with a New Orleans second line strut(*) rhythm! The track then features a blistering guitar solo (backed by the massive brass section) that Ritchie Blackmore would be proud of, however there are not many featured soloists here. In fact much of the music is almost cinematic, developing like a film that gradually introduces it's characters and plot. The titles are short and descriptive such as 'Now' - an eight minute riff using one chord, 'Deep' - a lovely ballad, 'Riff' - James Bond meets punk?, 'Count' - which is exactly what they do, 'Feed' - sounds like an out-take from King Crimson's 'Larks Tongues in Aspic', violin and all! There's plenty to delve into and the music's blurred boundaries mean the album can be enjoyed by many people, and yet it makes no compromises.

The musicians (too many to mention) are excellent, violin, cello, trumpets, saxophones, 3 guitars, 3 Electronics, Synths etc, and of course you get a very powerful rhythm section which includes two drummers and two bass players! Leo Feigin and Jan Klare tell me there is a booklet that goes with the CD (although I don't know about the mp3 download**).

Tags for this could be - Exploding Star Orchestra, Loose Tubes, Carla Bley Big Band.

* a type of march.
**MP3 download is VBR, nominal bitrate 256 kBps.

The Dorf - Le Record (Leo Records) ****

By Stef
Expansive, baroque, heavy metal attitude, sophisticated, crazy, wild, mad, disciplined, exuberant, rock, volume and power, restless and violent, gloomy and doom, humor and don't-take-yourself-too-seriously, relentless energy and drive. Zappa meets Carla Bley meets Miami Vice meets Global Unity Orchestra meets Metallica meets Schoenberg meets your local brass marching band.

You get the gist. Sometimes you think the thing is fully composed and arranged but the musicians are so mad and crazy that they want only one thing and that is to ignore all agreements and most of all the conductor, because sounds bounce and sprout in every direction yet it all fits full of frenzy, rhythms and more madness.Yet you can never pin it down completely : there is just too much, including some counting as in a Philip Glass composition ("Count"), as incredibly dark atmospheres of utter despair ("Back"), as complete fun and humor ("Spin"). The album's great variety is unfortunately also somehow its weakness. There are too many variations to make it an artistic whole, yet every part of it offers incredible listening pleasure. Incredibly entertaining.

Now by The Dorf

Riff by The Dorf

Comment - a duo review. I couldn't help it Joe. I had been listening to this for the past few days, utterly enjoying it.

You can find all musicians of the band on their website.

© stef


joesh said...

Indeed, I also enjoyed it very much. I must admit I hesitated on the stars, but I hope the enthusiasm came over in the review.

As for the double review, no problem, it seems as though we got the same direction, just a difference in ratings.