The Kubik experience is aesthetically rich, uncompromising. A complete lack of detail or information in the credits, combined with quite unique packaging, creates a sense of mystery that inevitably complements the music, despite the unanswered, frustrating questions. How many musicians are involved here? Are the ten pieces in the program, none of them titled beyond their numbers, part of a connected suite? Listeners may look to music critics for answers to these sorts of questions, but only one with an inner pipeline to Kubik will be able to provide enlightenment. One thing is for sure: This music has a personality all its own, unlike much of the underground or independent music being released in the year 2002.
The Relax-ay-voo label is based out of Pau, France, a region directly on the other side of the Pyrenees mountain range that separates France from Spain. Some of the artists who have been featured on this label's releases, which as a rule feature unorthodox packaging and EP-length playing time, are from Pau or other large cities within an hour or two away, such as Toulouse. Kubik's music has many influences of both classical and folk music from these regions as well as the European continent itself. The instrumentation centers around violin, which is sometimes played with such a delicious, snappy pizzicato that it sounds like a guitar or a ukulele. Pieces tend to sound as if two or three different stringed instruments are present -- from the style of the music, these could either be overdubbed or played in a real time by a small chamber group, or a bit of both. One of the most beautiful aspects of the music is the sense of pacing. It is unhurried, totally lacking the kind of nervous energy that makes some music irritating, no matter how well-intentioned. Add to this the lyrical and intriguing melodic and harmonic writing and instrumental tones that are deep, dark, and rich, and the result is music that deserves and would no doubt be appreciated by a much wider audience. Compared with, for example, some of the hyped and often hopelessly pretentious efforts of groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Kubik really comes out on top. The cover uses a combination of folded plastic, folded transparency paper with artwork on it, and folded card stock with color photography.