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- The Face Of The Earth by Jessika Kenney & Eyvind Kang
6/10 Clinton Staff review, 14 December 2012
“Ujung jari balung rondhoning kelapa, wineng kuwa sayekti dadya usada
The slender inner spine of the coconut leaf, Binding together, becoming useful”.
Not my words, these come from the press release which redefines the word pretentious. It doesn’t stop there either. “Here we have followed a geological image; in the expression of the face of the earth (from Pr. "rokh-e khåk"), a new spectrum of binaries is revealed”. So is it any bloody good? Sort of. We played the entirety of the first side at the wrong speed before realising that the tedious pace of the first track was intentional. It crawls along like a weary commuter attempting to catch the last train home, a mixture of clanging sitar, wandering viola and Persian vocal inflections. By jiminy it does go on though.
The second track features picked viola notes underneath the voice which occasionally leaves enough space for the instrumentation to be alone providing the kind of haunting atmospheres lacking in the opening gambit. Not a nice listen, it has to be said, at times discordant in the extreme.
The musicianship is exemplary throughout, the singing otherworldly but it rarely conveys emotion and I am left feeling rather flat and uninterested and wondering whether, as in the art world, a clever explanation can become a shield for all manner of ordinariness.
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