Alejandra & Aeron

Tale of Pip

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We already knew Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman to be perfectionists, both in their music and its packaging, but they outdid themselves with The Tale of Pip. Released on Lucky Kitchen as part of the Sparkling Composers series, the CD is accompanied by a 16-page book that is a feast for the eye. The music takes the form of a 40-minute tale in eight chapters. Pip is an elf-like creature -- a mean one. He is on a quest to learn how to bring happiness to the world, but instead displays an irascible, violent character. The story is read by Marie Annette Fox, Bergman's mother. She is not a professional narrator, but she has that warm voice appreciated in storytelling. The text she reads partly overlaps the one printed, with the two sources complementing each other. Alejandra & Aeron supply sampling, piano, harmonica, and electronics to create strange nursery rhymes and atmospheres that tell their own interpretation of the story. The last track features Bergman's grandmother (this is a family affair) singing a song she composed. Acutely avant-gardist and profoundly artistic, The Tale of Pip never becomes artsy for the sake of it. It remains soft-spoken and easy to listen to all the time. Whether it is for children or adults depends solely on the listener's perception. One negative point: This album deserved a proper ending instead of an abrupt, almost arbitrary cut. The original edition is limited to 700 copies.

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