Von Zamla

No Make Up!

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AllMusic Review by Caleb Deupree

The last studio album recorded by Lars Hollmer's groups in the 1980s was this release by Von Zamla. Recorded in the summer of 1983, the group here is the same as the one on the Cuneiform release 1983 Live, but the latter album was recorded live in March, and No Make Up! was mostly recorded in the studio after the touring was complete, in May and August. As a result, the band sounds tighter here than on the live album. In addition, almost all of the material on No Make Up! is new, with only two tracks overlaping with the live album. The songs on No Make Up! fall into two categories: more or less completely composed songs, with elegant and complex counterpoint between Michel Berckmans' reed instruments, Eino Haapala's guitar, and Hollmer's accordion. "Soon Series" is one of Zamla's best tracks in this line, opening with Berckmans playing a slow melody over an arpeggio keyboard line. Slowly the other instruments join in, doubling the melody. The second half of the piece has Berckmans and Wolfgang Salomon playing a repeated melodic figure, while Hollmer, Hans Louhelainen, and Haapala play a shimmering, descending harmony line on top. "Forge Etude," which opens the album, is a slowed-down version of the progressive piece from the last Zamla Mammaz Manna album, Familjesprickor (Family Cracks). "Hopeful" features a lilting melody line with contrapuntal oboe lines as well. Most of the other tracks started life as jams over odd time signatures. "Fur Munju" and "Antsong," the only two tracks which also appear on the live album, are in this category, as are "Gilmit" and "After Smrt." Vocals are at a minimum, appearing only on the "Voice Improvisation" (which was recorded at one of the concerts also featured on 1983 Live) and "After Smrt."

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