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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Listen to Aranis (chamber music)
    Posted: July 24 2008 at 17:28
ARANIS
 
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
http://www.aranis.be/

Latest ARANIS Music Reviews (5)


ARANIS%20II%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews RIO/Avant-Prog
(Studio Album, 2007)
Avg: 3.57/5
from 3 ratings
ARANIS — II
Review by Kotro (João Cotrim)
Prog Reviewer

4%20stars Aranis Rock(s)

First off, let me begin by confessing that my knowledge of the so-called “Belgian chamber music scene” is non-existent. I’ve heard a few names being juggled here and there, but apart from Univers Zero there isn’t much more I know from this genre. So, for me to be here reviewing an album from a musical scene without the slightest understanding of what it’s all about, really is a stretch. But I will try to deliver plainly and honestly.

Alongside Swiss ensemble Les Reines Prochaines , ARANIS were by far the best new acquaintance I got from GAR2008. Like the “Reines” , they appeared at first completely out of place in a rock festival, with their display of very unrockish instruments like accordion, violin, flute and cello, and not an amp in sight. But that’s the beauty of prog – you don’t always need electric guitars and drums to rock.

Aranis’ energy is present from the first to the last track. Most songs follow a similar patern to the first song Kitano , with the violin and cello opening, the piano and acoustic guitar giving it a bit of rhythm, before the flute and the accordion become more prominent. There are, obviously, a few exceptions to this rule: the second track, Vala is mostly dominated by violin soloing with the remaining instruments in the background until the finale, when they all join forces to create a strong sonic atmosphere reminiscent of Carlos Gardel. Looking Glass reminds of a Manu Chao tune, especially the guitar playing, but that feeling is soon lost when the violin and accordion, followed by the piano and flute, enter. Another striking characteristic in the songs (although not on all song) is the apparent crescendo-like structure. The mood of the songs vary. Kitano , Looking Glass and Trog are vivid and energetic, almost funky. Gona , Walk in one’s sleep (why not just call it Sleepwalking?) and Moja (featuring some lovely guitar and accordion interplay), are more of gloomy yet pulsating kind (some even remind me of a Hitchcock soundtrack). Others appear more delicate and ballad-like - good examples of this would be Vala and Waris (featuring the only break from the sextet’s instrumentation, with the welcome introduction of a trumpet). On some songs you get all of these feelings on the same case, like on Turbulentie , Lovey-Dovey and Mythra . This last one is my favourite song in the entire album, beginning delicately, progressively (no pun intended) growing in intensity and featuring a dramatic yet exciting finale (for the song and album as a whole).

As I listened to this album and remember their concert, I could only regret not having purchased more of their albums when I had the chance. Short of handy cash, I had to pick this, in part because it featured most of the tracklist I had heard live. Plus, it had a naked lady on the cover, which is always a plus; and if you get to see them live, there will be several pretty and talented ones (alas, fully dressed) on stage.

Report this review (#169905) | Posted Monday, May 05, 2008, 06:43 EST
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ARANIS%20II%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews RIO/Avant-Prog
(Studio Album, 2007)
Avg: 3.57/5
from 3 ratings
ARANIS — II
Review by Sean Trane (Hugues Chantraine)
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Specialist

3%20stars In two years’ time, not much has changed for this Antwerp sextet, beit musically-speaking, line-up-wise and even visually speaking, as the artwork on their second is almost the same as their first, if you’ll except that the male figures of the cover artwork became females, which for progheads is an improvement ;-)). So their typically Belgian chamber prog remained much the same, even if the group sounds tighter and the compositions even more fluid than on their debut. The songwriting is still completely dominated by Vanvinckenroye

Again the album is completely instrumental, full of “classical” instruments, taking roots in folk, classical and sometimes even from pre-classical music, the end result shows a special type of music that can only be called rock by its attitude, progressive by its foundation and construction, avant-prog for its place into our beloved Archives, and Chamber prog for its close kinship to other Belgian groups ranging from Univers Zero, DAAU, Cro Magnon, Julverne or even Finnegans Wake. The moods range from the festive (Vala or Gona) to the dramatic, see the gloomy ambiance of Waris, where X-Legged Sally’s Bart Maris makes a chilling appearance with his trumpet, to the fusion of Looking Glass. As said in other reviews, this writer is no fan of accordions, but Marjolein’s is mostly used as an ambiance (sometimes close to a harmonium, rather than a lead instrument. Trog is the only title not from the group, and proposes an almost dissonant soundscape that changes a bit from the rest of the album

In conclusion, Aranis’ second album is just as good as their debut, despite the absence of an epic track like Zilezi (that 15-mins corker from their debut), but here, their mastery of their musical subject has become an evidence.

Report this review (#164997) | Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 08:02 EST
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ARANIS%20Aranis%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews RIO/Avant-Prog
(Studio Album, 2005)
Avg: 3.00/5
from 3 ratings
ARANIS — Aranis
Review by Sean Trane (Hugues Chantraine)
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Specialist

3%20stars First album from this fairly new Flemish group (from Antwerp like their older brother DAAU) that seems to draw much inspiration from their country’s tradition of Chamber prog music. Their debut album was issued with the help of the Flemish culture ministry. Indeed a cross of Univers Zero, DAAU and Julverne, Aranis is a fully acoustic septet (with five missus in the line-up) that draws much on the classical period as well as the modern classical. All their music is written by contrabassist Joris Vanvinckenroye; mainly instrumental music, but when sung, it is by the only non-Belgian Jana Arns.

From the opening piano notes of Indrigo, soon accompanied by a bass and a shrill flute, the group gets into a solid groove, lead by Kennes’ piano to the closing sinister Wespengraf’s death throes, you’ll find yourself on familiar territory if familiar to Belgian avant-prog. Their music hesitates between folk (mainly induced by Cools’ accordion, reminding of Cro Magnon’s latest album) and repetitive hypnotic (sometimes even haunting) modern classical, not veering atonal, but nearing into the dissonant (Pantra & Labyrinth). Somehow their type of music is also reminding me of Quebec’s Mundi Domini. Leader Vanvinckenroye gets help from his brother Edwin on violin (and deeply imbedded vocals) in the album’s centrepiece, the stunning medieval-sounding 15-mins Zilezi, which dwarves many other songs on this album by its sheer sense of drama. Of the second part of the album, Labyrinth is the most interesting, partly because of its tension throughout the track’s duration, but the closer is also interesting with its doomy (UZ is not far away) atmosphere contrasting with the album’s more joyous start.

Typically in the fashion of the Belgian chamber prog, Aranis manages a splendid fusion of folk, modern classical with a twist or pre-classical, and they can logically be called DAAU’s little sister. As interesting as Artanis can sound, you might want to check out the other groups mentioned all through this review.

Report this review (#164256) | Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 06:04 EST
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 Links:http://www.myspace.com/aranis
http://www.aranis.be/
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=15334http://www.last.fm/music/Aranishttp://lowlandsdistribution.be/nrs/pr/1/14116/68/3/000000000http://www.soniccuriosity.com/sc330.htmhttp://www.progreviews.com/reviews/display.php?rev=aran-ii
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2008 at 14:40
Aranis will appear in the RIO 2009 festival in April in France
 
Definitive Program RIO 2009.
17th, 18th, 19th April - 2009

Day 1 > The Muffins / Magma 40th anniversary
Day 2 > Present/ Charles Hayward / Aranis / Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Day 3 > Yolk / Koenji Hyakkei / Univers Zero / Janik Top Infernal Machina

http://www.rocktime.org/rio/ 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2008 at 15:29
Aranis followed by SGM? Perfect. Thumbs%20Up
Bigger on the inside.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 25 2008 at 22:52
Wow.
 
I never expected these guys to be here. But cool. Thumbs%20Up I just ordered their debut ironically enough.
 
How does Belgium keep doing it? People...go to their myspace...listen and be swept away!
Dig me...But don't...Bury me
I'm running still, I shall until, one day, I hope that I'll arrive
Warning: Listening to jazz excessively can cause a laxative effect.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2008 at 11:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2008 at 12:16
Assaf, you recommended Aranis to me before, and what a great recommendation it was.  Love it!  Terrific progressive chamber music.

"Classical music and rock are growing towards one another. An evolution we can only be pleased about."
Focus Knack

An evolution important to progressive rock since its beginnings.  "Chamber" bands tend to feel the most sophisticated in their approach to academic music to me (and in many cases to jazz/ academic fusion).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 03 2008 at 13:47
I just listened to "Aranis" today, it blew me away.
4 stars at least, if I wouldn't give it 5 only for how pleasant and continuously attractive the experience was. 
I guess my classic musician heart got fond of the music and its arrangement, but anyway it was great!
Bravo, and I'm searching for "Aranis II".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 16:37
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 16:51
Great time for a bump, cause I've listened to Aranis II in the meantime and this band is officially fantastic! In fact, I can't get enough of them.

I also listened to the short "Hidden Soundscapes" made with Toon Fret (?). Nice stuff in there as well, especially towards the end.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 18:15
Originally posted by Ricochet

Great time for a bump, cause I've listened to Aranis II in the meantime and this band is officially fantastic! In fact, I can't get enough of them.

 
LOL
 
In my case it would be: Great time for a bump, cause I've listened to Aranis in the meantime and this band is officially fantastic! In fact, I can't get enough of them.
Bigger on the inside.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 19:48
Originally posted by Kotro

Originally posted by Ricochet

Great time for a bump, cause I've listened to Aranis II in the meantime and this band is officially fantastic! In fact, I can't get enough of them.

 
LOL
 
In my case it would be: Great time for a bump, cause I've listened to Aranis in the meantime and this band is officially fantastic! In fact, I can't get enough of them.


That is exactly how I feel. This is intoxicating and addictive music, wonderful tunes, superbly executed, mesmerizing and uplifting.
Brilliant!




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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 20 2008 at 23:41
I listened to Aranis II tonight and got, again, so thrilled with it that I just had to write a review

ARANIS — II
Review by avestin (Assaf Vestin)
Special Collaborator

4 stars It is astonishing what Aranis can accomplish with what seems to be simple music and a lineup of seven musicians. They create music that can be as intense and as powerful as full-fledged rock with a lineup of classical instruments alone. Not only that, but their compositions are as intricate, complex and intriguing as any prog-rock music done by other bands.

One of my first reactions listening to Aranis’ music was that their music sounds like the hybrid of Clint Mansell’s soundtrack for Requiem For A Dream and Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack for Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulan. Indeed, this is a valid reference point if one cares to pinpoint the band’s sound. A classical setup that plays music that is as intricate, powerful and poignant as rock (or prog-rock for that matter).

They play with their lovely and catchy tunes, combining the harmonious and melodic with slightly disharmonic tones; they are highly skilled musicians and their playing is not only striking and admirable, it also shows how they must have fun playing since it sounds so… well, playful.

Lovely, compelling and magical, their music captures me, the listener, and at the same time sets me free to wonder in their musical realm, with a guiding instrument, which changes between tracks and within a given track, whether it is the violin, accordion or flute.

Moving, daring and occasionally jovial it is a kind of music I can’t seem to let by unnoticed. Take for instance the tune “Looking Glass” with its wonderful bass playing that sets the tone of the track, the violin and the flute which compete and complement each other, creating tension and resolving it thereafter; the piano then comes in with a lovely solo, introducing “air” into this dense piece; all of the instruments together reach a synergistic effect, such a powerful achievement that I am dumbfounded each time I hear it, bewitched by its beauty and its purity. A brilliant and simple composition that manages to capture the essence of this band in this sole tune and show their whole potential and capabilities. Not only are the tunes beautiful, but the arrangements, the part written for each instrument are such that the potential of each is fulfilled; everyone gets their deserved spotlight, their abilities and ‘usefulness’ reached. Listen to “Kitano” and how each instrument sits well with the others while playing their individual part, mingling perfectly with the others and being well heard over the entire ‘mini-orchestra’.

The tracks on this album vary from the dynamic and fast (“Walk In One’s Sleep”) to the slower brand, more calm and relaxed, yet still as emotional and effective (“Waris”). Their compositions are as dynamic in their structure and intensity as the music is. Going from loud to quiet, from fast and furious to slow and delicate, they cover a wide range of emotions and moods.

Direct, precise and strict, their style can be upfront as in “Turbulentie”; but it is never devoid of emotion and certainly not of passion. Moreover it doesn’t stay that way for the whole piece, as I mention above; the music shifts from climatic to peaceful, from exhilarating to sluggish and sensual. Aranis know very well how to intermingle all these opposing sentiments and atmospheres, make them into a coherent and naturally flowing whole. Nothing sounds forced to me, there is an innate vigor and drive in their music that makes me wish the music would never end. Whether it is in the uplifting segments such as the ‘chorus’ of “Trog”, the gripping theme of “Looking Glass”, the naïve sounding yet elaborate “Lovey-Dovey” or the intensity at the opening of “Kitano” and the ending of “Mythra”. There is always the want for more, the after-taste that begs for more; this is how music should be – compelling you, making you want more, having repeated listening, trying to quench the ‘thirst’.

Playing rock with a classical lineup –this has been said about them (and other contemporaries and country mates such as DAAU). This is a true phrase, but for me it misses the emotional impact that Aranis achieves with their compositions. This album is following in the line of its predecessor and in my opinion is as brilliant if not more. It boils down to a matter of what are the melodies you prefer. Here, there is none that I dislike; each one is wonderful. I absolutely love this album (even more than their first one, but only because I love the tunes here more, no other reason than that). A personal favourite of mine, not just due to its beauty but for all the reasons mentioned above. A must! More than just an excellent addition to my collection.

Report this review (#186553) | Posted Monday, October 20, 2008, 23:39 EST
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2008 at 01:36
Clap!

Now I guess I must venture into DAAU, Univers Zero and others. Tongue
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2008 at 03:22
Originally posted by Ricochet

Clap!

Now I guess I must venture into DAAU, Univers Zero and others. Tongue


And Art Zoyd! I think Art Zoyd's four first releases are all among the ten most essential (and for myself in the top four) of this progressive chamber genre.

And I've finally discovered Aranis myself, and I think I love them just as much as I love DAAU.

But do yourself a favour and check out Les Fragments de la Nuit Musique Du Crépuscule (myspace link).



Even less rock, I guess but very still related to DAAU, Aranis, Julverne. (they got Magma, Aranis and Robert Wyatt among their top friends) I get shivers from the incredible energic drive of Entre Ciel Des Fees. And the bottom, non album track really rocks.

I've just discovered bothensemles and fell for them immideatly, so I don't know if any of them will stay among my absolute favorites. But right now its all great.
Over land and under ashes
In the sunlight, see - it flashes
Find a fly and eat his eye
But don't believe in me
Don't believe in me
Don't believe in me
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 21 2008 at 04:46
^Thanks! Art Zoid and Fragments De La Nuit noted.
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