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Kam-pas-nel-la - Kam-pas-nel-la CD (album) cover





4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Generally, if Haco is present in a group, their musical output will reciprocate between manic, improv-riddled pop decompositions undecided on whether they should be formal or informal and rhythmic, repetitious ambient collage. The short-lived Kam-pas-nel-la project continues this proud tradition on their single album, captured live in front of pleasantly confused fans.

The music comes in pulses, mostly being based on very short notes and patterns thanks to Zeena Parkins' wonderfully understated calculations in each song, while Haco's voice acts as a linchpin - a very formal and expressive one - which grants the band more creative space in which they invariably fool around in a good-natured and texture-enhancing manner. These are catchy songs, if I dare say that, and each has enough detail to be an enjoyable listen past the first. If you want comparisons, then aside from other Haco creations I'll nod towards Stormy Six's Al Volo and Cassix project sound - or if you'd like a more well-known reference point, imagine a permutation of the King Crimson ProjeKcts featuring a demure female singer and a sampling artist - but this album is much more deconstructed and fragile, being less reliant on the guitar and more on each musician's mood at the time. Nothing But Faces is a stand-out track, verging on post-rock or tranquil chamber music via traditional means.

There are improv spots too, which either consist of frenzied, bouncy shred (thanks in part to one Mr. Uchihashi, who plays with rich irony throughout the album) or deep, dowsing arcs of woeful but lovely noise performed on some amplified string instrument or other... the exception being the solo by Mr. Bennett, which is a percussive suite performed on an extensive bank of sampled effects, including ambient rain spatter, detuned wind instruments and, occasionally, something that actually sounds like a drum. This marvel links in to the hilarious No Pain, No Gain where Haco stars, singing incredibly motivational and good-natured lyrics in a strained, amateur-ish, even drunk manner over detuned and transient guitar power chords and comedically mistimed bursts of synth nonsense. To a select (read deranged) audience that includes this reviewer, this is how beauty sounds.

Ok, I've convinced myself that Kam-pas-nel-la deserves a four, so a four I award. Don't forget to investigate After Dinner and Hoahio if you like the ambient side of this, and Happiness Proof's self-titled album if you want more off-centre pop. It's a pleasure to give another favourable review to one of my favourite artists. =)

laplace | 4/5 |


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