Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sol Naas - 2012 - Звук

Trip Hop
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And now for another installment of “Gabbo doesn't speak the same language as the music he's recommending.” This time around, 'Звук' ('Sound'), an excellent trip-hop EP by Azerbaijani musician Sol Naas. If you've read any of the other reviews for records that showcase my linguistic skills, you can see I'm often be a disadvantage when reviewing non-English speaking music, but like those review, I'll be damned if I'll let a language barrier prevent me from enjoying Naas' EP let alone recommending it to others. Naas and her varied producers (of which there are 5 across the 8 tracks here) use downtempo beats as a foundation upon which to build from using live instruments and a smattering of synthesizers to create seductive songs over which she croons effortlessly. All of the tracks sound as if they begin and/or end with recorded conversations between a man and a women, or sound bites from television (“Intro” is made up completely of this it seems), which adds a vaguely voyeuristic element to the tracks, and also ties them all nicely together. I would say it's probably thematic, but that might be pushing it too far. Musically, this doesn't push the boundaries of trip-hop too far, drums are the main instrumental ingredient on nearly all the tracks, and the bass tends to be the main accompaniment, and both aim for a casual pace. When the keyboards and other instruments do get a bit more time in the sun as on “Особый случай” (“A Special Case”), the time signatures can change a bit, and so does the tempo (“Особый случай” sounding a bit like slow jazz instead of hip hop beats.), just enough to stay fresh and interesting across the 8 tracks here. “Декорация” (“Decoration”) 's sparse uses a simple guitar riff to great effect being another example. That being the case, the combination of the music with Sol's voice creates a whole that is greater than the sum of it's parts. It may not blow down your door with originality, but it's still decent trip-hop, and I think fans of the genre will enjoy it, and it's something new and different for those who aren't, whether they speak the same language or not.

1 comment:

  1. For you to understand better, i can add that the intro conversations between man and woman - are dialogues from the well-known movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" with Jim Carrey, translated into russian language.