I Am Spartacus

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This is the fifth recording by this French artist, but perhaps the most personal. This is just a guess, based on the title of I Am Spartacus, and the liner notes in which the credit for playing all instruments utilized is given to Shunatao, perhaps a one-man band with a stage name hiding out from the Roman legions. Or it could be a whole group of people playing, all calling themselves Shunatao. The CD packaging, although first-class comic art and quite delightful, isn't really helpful in figuring out exactly what is going on. There are lots of pictures of a black dog, and a zeppelin towing a streamer that says "I Am Spartacus." The music does have the sound of a one-man band, though, in that none of the instruments are played with any great flamboyance, but everything fits together sort of snugly. The most creative moments tend to be little things that happen between songs, or at the beginning of a composition. Some of these are answering machine recordings, or devices that have been over-used before; other combinations of music and sound events are so novel and bizarre that the listener will be riveted. Attention will waver through some of the song material, however. It is inconsistent, and when doing song material, this artist seems best with the mid-tempo, slightly hazy folk-rock. This sort of ambience suits his voice, and provides lots of rhythmic space for the distribution of nice home-studio touches.