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Aranis - Aranis CD (album) cover





3.64 | 44 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 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.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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