Daniel Bernard Roumain etudes4violin & electronix

[Thirsty Ear; 2007]

Styles: see album title
Others: Venetian Snares’ {Rossz Csillag Alatt Sz¸letett}, Heritage Orchestra

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s debut album for Thirsty Ear is standard fare for the label. This is to say that Daniel’s richly produced classical violin collaborations with the likes of world renowned composer Philip Glass, pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto, flutist/producer Peter Gordon, and knob-twiddling vinyl junkies DJ Spooky and DJ Scientific bend through so many genre classifications as to make any definitive naming of the project an utterly vain venture. As a man who lives by the beat of a drum machine, the bass-heavy hip-hop symbiosis crafted between label resident Spooky and DBR’s chameleon abilities on the violin speak the most clearly to my soul.

I must admit the little ADD-addled boy inside me finds it a little on the challenging side at times to make it through the bare-bones classical and pure nu-jazz styled pieces, as beautiful as they may be. For what are basically jams, those tracks feel somewhat stale to me. Taken in chunks, the subtle power of the stark, naked piano and violin bits can prove moving and even inspiring, but for one unaccustomed to music of this often meandering, humorless nature, the overall package can be an awfully long road.

Perhaps more dedication to one collaborative aspect would pay off (I vote for Spooky), anything that would help push focus toward a theme. But, on the other hand, one of the most fun and interesting tracks just featured DBR with one of his relatives chanting, jamming around all avant-garde-like with a set of car keys and bathtub percussion. A whole album of that would really be something, for sure. As is, etudes4violin&electronix comes off like a collection of random ideas with not much going on in the flow department and is gratefully destined for the background at trendier restaurants.

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