November 2004

IE CD Pieros 004

  1. 1.Instant Father - [MP3]

  2. 2.Return to Commercial Clowning

  3. 3.69 Walton's Yamamoto Noodles - [MP3]

  4. 4.Chammomile Galaxies Waiting

  5. 5.Broken Eights

  6. 6.A Day Shot - [MP3]

  7. 7.All the Lost Turbans Will Be On That Speaker

  8. 8.Julio Cruz

  9. 9.Worryism - [MP3]

Aranos - all instruments
Jon Whitney - guest on "Worryism"

In disappearing autumn warmth things whirl a tad differently. Soft rain addds depth to a 400 mile view where silent dancers perform splits through needles of viscous years. And than and than the night. Heavy scented and pregnant with almost full green moon. Silver herons fish for eels in bamboo grove to be. And there on top of the grassy knoll tango dancing mango.

Sensuous silky purse with sixteen paged booklet of pictures and lyrics. And a dance record, record to dance tango to; vertically, horizontally, obliquely, directly, indirectly, physically or mentally.
If disinclined to dance, try eating a mango or two while listening to it. Or try both, it's a free juicy world somewhere out there

"Kachetic Japanese girl in snowy swimming pools/Where the Blue Field hover and voiceless torrents dream/Thousand insects cooling sea/Slowly Deer draws thought/Ice butterfly sneezed/Sea that life exposed." Hardly the lyrical content you could expect from your average Gypsy violinist, but Aranos is cut from quite an unusual cloth. This Bohemia-born multi-instrumentalist has performed with assorted folk ensembles and jazz groups since age 8, and in recent years fell in with both Current 93 and Nurse With Wound, experiences which have obviously allowed stranger and definitely electroacoustic tinged elements filter into his solo output. Tangomango reads with a minimal approach, mainly voice and violin and as the title suggests is completely soulful and danceable, but as the album moves forward, "Broken Eights" appears like a totally fractured vocal piece ala Swedish experimentalist Ake Hodell while still swinging like a Paolo Conte piece. Comes packaged in a silky sack as well. - Brian Turner, WFMU

The latest slice of peculiarity from Aranos finds him delving into Tango-tinged Surrealism, swept up and unfolding on his idiosyncratic Eastern European violins, smacked solidly up against Electroacoustic underpinnings. As ever, the multi-tracked solo sounds feel ageless, wayward and separated from the normalities of mundane existence - Aranos' deft touch as much informed by the landscape of the West coast of Ireland (the accompanying booklet provides several photographic glimpses as well as semi-abstract conjunctions) as by his Bohemian roots, various sorts of avantgardism, and the inner space of dreams - and there are lyrics provided here as well to ponder the glittering depths of their stream of consciousness. A word or two about the packaging: Aranos' releases usually manifest themselves in unusual wrappings, and Tangomango is a particularly fine example. A hand-stitched purple cloth sleeve holds pockets for the booklet and CD itself, the whole held together with a beaded fastener, the whole effect figuring somewhere between a careful child's handicraft and the ethos of DIY artistic production. In the face of digital downloads and file-sharing media players, this approach makes the purchase of Tangomango worth it for the sensual pleasure of the record itself. But even without the trappings, lovingly prepared as they are, the album itself develops a haunting affect, the hints at worlds within and without streaming and wavering from the pizzicato strings and swipes into abstraction: the compositions gliding liquidly from songs and upbeat 3/4 time swingers like "69 Waltons Yamamoto Noodles" to the droning stasis of "Chammomile Galaxies Waiting" where electronic processing meets the scrape of strings holding time hostage. Aranos' long term pacifism finds expression in the discordant dissection of British military slogans about "tabbing" and "yomping" and music in "Broken Eights", as the sound of a corps of drums staggers through a multitracked vocal about "wavering pink soldiers" while a lone drummer loop marks disjointed time. "A Day Shot" brings elements of slow electronic pulsations together with a windy melody, the distinctive voice of his violin swelling from simple strokes into a lyrical accompaniment to his baritone vocals about miniskirted fishboats. The evocative "Julio Cruz" shimmies sensually on rolling percussion and further electrifying string melodies and production which brings Aranos from distant observer to intimate conversant with disarming adroitness. The whole is highly atmospheric, even if the meanings may be so personal and specific as to be elusive of interpretation by the listener: but who said art has to be easily digestible in soundbite-sized chunks of pap? Tangomango is about as far from Pop as it is possible to go, and so much the better for it, without in anyway losing the evocative intensity of music from the soul which communicates meaning through songs as much as intricate electroacoustic meanders. Aranos belongs to a still-evolving tradition which is simultaneously ageless and drawn from several eras, the whole complementary and delightfully self-sustaining in its abilty to be separate from mundanity. - Richard Fontenoy

Aranos is a master of the stringed instrument, a frequent collaborator with fellow Irish countryside dweller Steven Stapleton, and the creator of a string of idiosyncratic experimental albums that, like most great works of art, defy categorization. This solo full-length is the follow-up to 2001's Magnificent! Magnificent! No One Knows the Final Word, an album unique not only for its unconventional musical content and homegrown organic packaging, but also for its "experimental anarchy distribution," a sort of honor system where Aranos shipped the album at his expense to anyone who wanted it, asking each listener to decide how much the album was worth. Tangomango continues down the same path as Magnificent, but somehow manages to be even more willfully eccentric. Lovely passages of emotively played strings are overdubbed with shambolic percussion, occasional forays into electronics of uncertain origin and Aranos' gravelly vocals, free-associating long strings of unhinged Dadaesque lyrical couplets. Aranos creates a one-man chamber quartet, overdubbing layers of plucked and bowed violin, viola and double bass, his melodies fondly recalling the Eastern European gypsy music idioms of his heritage. Sometimes the effect is a sort of avant-garde chamber pop, as on "Julio Cruz," which sounds not entirely unlike mid-1970s John Cale. Other times, Aranos' techniques are so unorthodox that the music sounds like nothing else, as with the strange organic kaleidescope created on "All The Lost Turbans Will Be On That Speaker," which utilizes musique concrête effects to create an unsettling piece of psychedelic tape music. On "Worryism," the album's only guest player, Jon Whitney (editor of this rag), contributes a series of distended bleats on a didgeridoo, forming the foundation for a distinctly ritualistic excursion that ends Tangomango on a somber note. Halfway through the oddly named "69 Walton's Yamamoto Noodles," Aranos strikes the gong and unleashes a series of mindbending electronic pulses. "Broken Eights" is a fractured military ode constructed from martial drums and layers of vacillated vocal overdubs. The album's title could not be more appropriate, as Aranos is able to reference the improvisatory feel of Can's masterpiece, while impregnating it with his own organic sense of rhythm. It's a little bit fun, and a little bit fruity. The album comes packaged in a lovely handmade royal purple silk purse with a beaded clasp and a lyric booklet adorned with many beautiful photographs. Tangomango is a rare album that truly feels like a pure, unmediated foray into one man's peculiar and joyful vision of music, and it's a rewarding trip at that. - Jonathan Dean

Some reviews: