Ipso Facto

La Spirale de l'Escargot

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    7
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La Spirale de l'Escargot (The Snail's Spiral) introduced this young instrumental band from Quebec. An acoustic quartet of guitar, violin, double bass, and drums/percussion, Ipso Facto cooks up an interesting recipe of world jazz fusion. Elements of klezmer, tango, folk, and fusion jazz are blended in simple but colorful compositions. The unchanging instrumentation ensures a cohesion from piece to piece that the wide palette of styles used could not provide. In terms of influences, one hears the progressive folk of Conventum (in a piece like "Volapük," in particular) and Art Zoyd in their acoustic beginnings (and without the bleak atmospheres), but also Astor Piazzolla and Jesse Cook. If most of the pieces have good rhythm, sometimes the melodies are thin, giving an impression of hollowness ("De Temps en Temps," "Les Bleus"). Through the creative countrapuntal voices and cross-stylistic arrangements one also finds something mechanical in the interpretation -- as if the musicians were still prisoners of their parts, not completely comfortable. But when things click, they do marvelously: "Yiddish Meshugass" is a great take at neo-klezmer, the violin melody in "Soleil Rouge" gives you something to dance to, and the aforementioned "Volapük" shows how the group can tastefully tackle more complex compositions, leaning toward the avant-garde -- they should actually try more of that, it gives their music a more precise identity. A good debut.

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