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ARANIS

RIO/Avant-Prog • Belgium


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Aranis picture
Aranis biography
Aranis is a Flemish septet playing a somewhat minimalistic contemporary classical with touches of folk and the occasional post-rock spirit. Their music covers grounds from the repetitive and haunting to the more free spirited, melodic and compelling.

The group consists of Jana Arns (flute), Liesbeth Lambrecht (violin), Linde de Groof (violin), Marjolein Cools (accordion), Axelle Kennes (piano), Stijn Denys (guitar), Joris Vanvinckenroye (double bass)

Their music can be likened to a soundtrack (which is in accordance with the phrase on their main page - "Music for an imaginary film). At times sounding like a mixture of Yann Tiersen and Clint Mansell. Think of "Amelie" meets "Requiem For A Dream".

Here are some excerpts from reviews as they appear in their website:
"Classical music and rock are growing towards one another. An evolution we can only be pleased about."
Focus Knack

"Two violins, a double bass, accordion, piano, flute, guitar and almost no voice: it is quite clear that Aranis wants to make music you do not hear just anywhere."
De Standaard

"The secret of Aranis lies in the compelling fact that, as a listener, you are flung to and fro between the finesse of a classical concert and the excitement of a rock concert."
De Tijd

Recommended for people who like DAAU, Volapuk, Gatto Marte and older chamber rock bands like Univers Zero, Julverne and Present.

Listen to the band here - http://www.myspace.com/aranis

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

Aranis official website

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Made in BelgiumMade in Belgium
Rer USA 2013
Audio CD$21.99
IIII
Import
Aranis Reecords
Audio CD$21.99
$94.24 (used)
Made in Belgium by Aranis (2013-01-08)Made in Belgium by Aranis (2013-01-08)
Rer USA
Audio CD$66.98
Aranis by Aranis (2005-01-01)Aranis by Aranis (2005-01-01)
Aranis
Audio CD$200.83
Aranis Made in Belgium By Aranis (2012-12-11)Aranis Made in Belgium By Aranis (2012-12-11)
Import
Audio CD$49.80
Made in Belgium II By Aranis (2014-10-02)Made in Belgium II By Aranis (2014-10-02)
Home Records
Audio CD$54.96
RoqueforteRoqueforte
Audio CD$74.99 (used)
AranisAranis
Import
Aranis
Audio CD$49.99
$49.98 (used)

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ARANIS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ARANIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 36 ratings
Aranis
2005
3.86 | 35 ratings
II
2007
3.98 | 45 ratings
Songs From Mirage
2009
3.91 | 16 ratings
Joris Vanvinckenroye - Basta
2009
3.99 | 64 ratings
Roqueforte
2010
4.03 | 48 ratings
Made in Belgium
2012
3.78 | 9 ratings
In Rood
2013
4.09 | 72 ratings
Made in Belgium II
2014

ARANIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARANIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ARANIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ARANIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 8 ratings
Aranis & Toon Fret - Hidden Soundscapes
2007

ARANIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Made in Belgium II by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 72 ratings

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Made in Belgium II
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ARANIS' (Belgium) "Made in Belgium II"- 2014, is a highly friendly release, tainted all over with late Univers Zero's (also Belgium)) kind of idiomatic progressions which kind of distract the attention to their more unique and own music expressions. But then again blame it on the weather (maybe).

Anyway, their perfect pitch sense of musicianship and synchronicity is also present as their country's fellow mates, which eventually surfaces, as mentioned, with attractive solutions to their more personal musical language efforts.

Now, to be fair, they kind of have, and I guess they know it, a great space to fit in UZ's shoes, which probably follows them like a lurking shadow, but then again their creative side certainly sets them on top of the new Chamber Folk/Rock ensembles or more in tune with their PA's address, something like Post-RiO with a cerain Avant-Prog quality.

****4 PA stars.

 Aranis by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.64 | 36 ratings

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Aranis
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A bewitching blend between traditional central European folklore, structured with contemporary and old school classical music, tainted here and there with Piazzolla's like accordion riffs and a pinch of the Kronos Quartet's keen sense of string arrangements, topped with a perfect understanding of these musical roots in its music composition, as to transform them and propose a unique musical language which is fresh, daring and perfectly executed by ARANIS a Flemish acoustic septet, first 2005 release, named the same.

As their PA bio advises> "At times sounding like a mixture of Yann Tiersen and Clint Mansell. Think of "Amelie" meets "Requiem For A Dream".

Inevitable references if you are familiar with these soundtracks, but although helpful and exact, ARANIS creative range in this album goes beyond sounding just like that most of the time.

Setting this septet in PA's RiO/AV sub-genre seems the best choice considering its non-prog music songwriting and making it easier to explain to followers of these realms. So, I will add some genre related bands to explain in general the feeling of this release, therefore imagine a kind of a more serious Samla Mammas Manna crossed with Univers Zero's less obscure and more playful recent works.

***3.9 "Highly promising first release" PA stars.

 Made in Belgium II by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 72 ratings

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Made in Belgium II
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Aranis state on their Bandcamp page that they are pleased that orchestral and rock music are moving closer together in the avant garde underground. I wonder why only because there is little to no rock here; this seems more like chamber folk than chamber rock - Univers Zero, Art Zoyd. Of course, not having rock until towards the end doesn't mean that this is bad, nor that you should ignore it: as a piece of avant garde, a piece of chamber music, and a piece of Flemish folk, in all of this the album succeeds greatly. "Skip XXI" opens as we will proceed: scared strings and winds, and wild voices, all in a strange style. By the album's penultimate and longest track, "Cell Stress", the rock finally enters towards the middle to add to this sound wonderfully. These stand as the best tracks, but in the middle we still have weird, eerie, and unique mastery. The Flemish and French influences are palpable on most tracks, and even without the rock aspect this sounds like Zoyd. I would also go as far as to say that this can stand next to Zoyd's masterpieces. An excellent and off base release for avant-prog fans to savour.
 Made in Belgium II by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.09 | 72 ratings

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Made in Belgium II
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by thedunno

5 stars 2 Years ago Aranis released their 5th album "Made in Belgium" which contained compositions of various Belgium composers. Apparently the album was a (relative) success so Aranis decided to make a follow up: Made in Belgium part 2.

More of the same perhaps?

No!

There are some distinct differences compared to part 1. The most obvious one is that flute player Jana Arntz provides lead vocals on a couple of tracks. This is a really nice addition to their instrumental capabilities so my only complaint is that I wish there was more of it.

Furthermore on MIB 2 the intensity levels seem to be turned up a few notches. Tracks like Skip 21, Hit, Tolles Pferd and La vague all show an aggressiveness that wasn't there before. I like it!

All the tracks are good and show different sides of the band. There is a wild rocky tune (la vague) , a tango-ish tune (kablamo), a funny tune (Tolles Pferd), an atmospheric tune (DSK) and everything in between. I wont go into detail on all the tracks but I do want to specially mention the last two tracks.

First there is the mighty "cell stress" of UZs Kurt Budé. My favorite track on the album and probably the best track they've ever recorded. The track is a 10 minute multi-headed beast that builds up to a great climax that leaves you gasping for air. Luckily it is followed by the wonderful melancholic and folky Funanmbul, composed by (for me completely unknown) Aurelia Dorzee. This is a prefect track to dream away with and calm down to so that, after its finished, you can play the CD immediately again.

Overall I think part 2 is an improvement over part 1 (and I already completely loved that one). Together with 'the Cellar and point- Ambit' this is absolutely my favorite record of the year.

I guess there is only one thing left to say. Aranis are tagged with the dreaded Rio/Avant prog label. For many people this is the synonym of 'difficult unlistenable music'. Surely, Aranis make chamber rock; a stylistic marriage of modern classical chamber music, rock and folk but in this case it always stays a very structured and melodic affair. There is never any senseless noodling or complexity for the sake of sounding smart. In fact Aranis makes fairly accessible melodic music that could appeal to a much larger crowd, if they would get the chance to hear it. So please do not let that RIO-tag deter you and give this album a chance. It makes a great introduction to the music of Aranis and Belgium chamber rock in general.

 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.03 | 48 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars I love Aranis. To me they represent the bravest of artists--being all acoustic, they have no space for mistakes, no means to cover up or hide behind effects or treatments; they represent the possibilities of intelligent, virtuosic music without electricity. Mega kudos!

I love this album--getting to know and re-know composers of modern chamber music (Belgian, all). Where this album suffers is the same place that all Aranis albums thus far have suffered: the songs, musics are lacking melodic "hooks" to lure the listener in and make them feel welcome, secure, at home. The pieces composed by WIM MERTENS ("Gentlemen of Leisure" and "Salernes") are the most melodic, mostly due to the smooth, minimalist style that Mertens wrote, so the Avant/RIO-shy listener might want to start there, but eventually all the songs grow on you. Aside from the two Mertens pieces, my favorites have become the gentle and folksy #5. "Where's Grommit?" (10/10) by Arne Van Dongen, the high-spirited "Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances 2" (9/10) by UNIVERS ZERO/PRESENT/ART ZOYD's Daniel Denis, the circular and percussive #6. "Le Mar t'Eau" (9/10) by Geert Waegerman, the intricately layered yet smooth #7. "L1" (9/10) by Joris Vanvinckenroye, the Gothic KARDA ESTRA-like #2. "Le Feu" (8/10) by Wouter Vandenabeele, and the Bond movie soundtrack-like #3. "Inara" (8/10) by Ward De Vleeschhouwer.

As much as I believe in Aranis and their magical mission, I'll not rate this a five star masterpiece, but instead hold out for their next album of original songs. These serious virtuosos are so close to breaking through!

 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.03 | 48 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars After the three-band project including the Avant/RIO legends of Present and Univers Zero, Aranis decided to deepen the Belgian thing with their fifth album. The concept was for the band to reinterpret a composition from some ten different Belgian composers, including the well-known Wim Mertens, who will get twice the honour. Twelve tracks that will include one Aranis-leader Vanvinkenroye, but not all composers are well-known, even in small initiated circles. If RIO/Avant fans will recognize the Daniel Denis (UZ) and Roger Trigaux (Present) names, only a few will remember Jan Kuijken and maybe De Vleeschhouwer (now playing piano for Aranis)?. And that's about it. Of course, it's not to say that the lesser-known compositions are any less worthy, quite the contrary. But it would be relatively tough to tell apart any of these pieces apart in a blind test, because they're all pretty similar, outside the two Wim Mertens reprises, which are notably more barren or less complex.

Musically-speaking, we're somewhere between almost purely-classical music and the typical Belgian Chamber Prog that Aranis has become the epitome of. Sonically however, the absence of Dave Kerman's drumming gives back to the band its early sonic softer (and therefore less "rocky") flavour, but the complexity of some of the pieces brings their later efforts in mind. Soooo, MiB would sit somewhere between their first two albums and Roque Forte, so it is somehow a typical Aranis album, but still a far cry from my Preferred Songs From Mirage album. Apparently, their next project will more or less revisit that Mirage album under the Made In Belgium II moniker, thus prompting my enthusiasm.

 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.03 | 48 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by thedunno

5 stars When Aranis released their first CD 10 years ago they were praised as the new stars of the Belgium avant-prog scene. Aranis themselves were not aware they were part of any scene nor was this scene known inside Belgium.

I am a bit reluctant to call Aranis avant prog. Avant-prog is always associated with darkness and in accessibility, while Aranis isn't very dark or very inaccessible. For the people that haven't heared them yet: they area a completely acoustic band that play with intensity combined with accuracy. None of the tunes are longer then they need to be and they never show off individually. There music is probably closer to modern classical music then to rock.

10 years later Made in Belgium can be seen as a big tribute to the many different artists and composers that Belgium has to offer that try to cross the borders between modern classical music, pop, rock, folk and jazz. The album contains 12 tunes of 11 different composers. Some are known to me ( like Daniel Denis, Roger Trigaux and Joris Vanvinckenroye) but most unknown. Different composers naturally means a lot of stylistic differences. Some songs are aggressive, some more minimalistic, a couple of more impressionistic tunes, a few more folky things. There are many moods and atmospheres on this album. The great part is: it all still sounds completely like Aranis. They can play a quiet minimalistic piece, like Wim Mertens Men of Leisure, or a fierce piece, like Erzats by Roger Trigaux; there is no doubt that this is Aranis at work.

I was not aware of the work of people like Wim Mertens, Wouter Vandenabeele and Jan Kuykens but their tunes really click with me. In fact there is not 1 tune I dislike. Seems I still have a lot of music to discover from this (relatively) small country.

For me 'made in Belgium'is a musical triumph. Maybe not their very best album (for me that is still Songs from Mirage) but certainly not far behind. Too bad the Belgiums are not aware of their avant prog scene because otherwise they could be damn proud of what is 'made in Belgium'. Normally I would rate this 4,5 stars but I am glad to round off to 5.

 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.99 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars An all-acoustic band that really has my interest piqued and heart won over. A more melodic than usual Avant/RIO band from Belgium that include violin, accordian, flute, double bass, and guitar with guests adding piano, drums/percussion, and viola. Delightful music throughout this album though it is not filled with the kind of hooks, rhythms and structures that captivate the majority of prog lovers.

Favorite pieces: the most melodic song on the album, "Roque" (5:54) (10/10); the longest and most diverse song on the album (like a mini-symphony), "Naise" (10:55) (9/10) and the most tango-paced 'minimalist' piece, "Tissim" (5:40) (10/10).

A four star collection of brave, from a tight collective of outstanding musicians. The non-melodic nature of Avant/RIO music unfortunately renders some of this music difficult to access. I would think that anyone who has a solid background in music theory or someone who gravitates toward the cerebral side of music would enjoy this album and music tremendously.

 Songs From Mirage by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.98 | 45 ratings

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Songs From Mirage
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Songs From Mirage' - Aranis (8/10)

From Belgium comes Aranis, a brilliant group of musicians who resemble a classical ensemble moreso than any interpretation of a rock group. Call it chamber prog, soundtrack music, neoclassical or avant-garde, Aranis has found a sound for themselves that doesn't seem to receive the attention and acclaim it deserves. Over their first two albums, they created some pleasant instrumental music that could have fit in nicely as the score to some dramatic film. With this third album 'Songs From Mirage', Aranis develop their style of chamber rock to incorporate operatic vocals. A beautifully composed and performed piece of neoclassical music, Aranis' 'Songs From Mirage' scrapes the edge of perfection at times, but for what it may lack in variety, Aranis gies a wonderfully refreshing listen that far too few people will end up hearing.

Setting Aranis apart first and foremost are the instruments they use. Instead of the typical set up of guitars and percussion that most musicians use nowadays to express themselves, Aranis is a string ensemble, choir, and ensemble of other quintessentially continental European sounds. Expertly arranged by Joris Vanvinckenroye, one listening would not be surprised to hear this is a classical concert hall; the compositions are brooding and take their time to build. 'Songs From Mirage' generally flows as one running piece of music rather than a group of singular tracks, although most of these pieces are fairly self-contained in their ideas. Aranis play beautifully together, taking a couple of ideas for each track and fleshing it out into something quite complex, although the direction of the music is fairly simple.

'Songs From Mirage' is generally mid-tempo, soothing, and intricate. Newly added to the sound of this band are the classical female vocals, which could either be compared with the classical acapella arrangements of Carl Off, or the crazed Zeuhl vocals of Magma, depending on your musical background. Possibly the greatest thing about the music here isn't even necessarily the compositions, but moreso the way they are performed passionately by each musician. Although there are plenty of artists at work here, each one is clearly audible and brings something distinct to the table. The performances achieve perfection, and were it not for some inconsistencies with the writing of the music, Aranis may very well have released a masterpiece for the ages. Unfortunately, some tracks clearly shine above many of the lesser pieces. No piece of music here is without beauty or merit, but it would have been nice for 'Songs Of Mirage' to have been a consistently impressive achievement, rather than a generally excellent album with some weak moments.

Minor faults and weaknesses aside, Aranis have crafted a beautiful piece of music here, and one can only hope that they take this immense style of theirs and bring it to new heights with latter albums.

 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.99 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Roqueforte is a fantastic chamber ensemble album and the music here ranges from angry to depressing; very moody and red, much like the cover and album title suggest. Every time I listen to this album, I conjure images of a snake-charmer who is angry at the world, and him and his venomous friend seek revenge in bloodshed. The music on this album could very well be a soundtrack to my silly mental imagery, but this material definitely stands on its own as a fantastic piece of art.

This chamber ensemble's dark playing is unique with the accordion, which give all of this dark music a very weary touch and a folk music feel. The quality of this chamber rock sounds to me like it has great influence from Buenos Aires' tango master Astor Piazzolla, and that isn't only because of the accordion present (Piazzolla played the bandoneón, but you know...). The same colors and textures used on these tracks have a unique combination of South American modern classical and European folk music, though I'm probably the only person that gets that impression.

Some of these tracks are slow and beautifully dark, some are quite fiery and angry. And though the compositions here are fantastic with lots of great passages that really stick out, and the players are incredible, there are a few short filler tracks present that serve only the purpose of being annoying and "filling". Besides that minor gripe, which I actually have with most music, this is a seriously beautiful and moody album. This soundtrack to your rainy-day killing spree is highly recommended.

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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