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earthly paradise


music review :: o paradis :: cuando el tiempo sopla :: punch records

i'm not sure why o paradis get lumped in with the whole "neo-folk" movement. other than the combination of acoustic instruments and electronics (which is cutting a pretty broad swath), and a tendency towards a "softer" tone, there isn't much to link them. really, o paradis is part of a much more interesting group of artists (including ait!, novy svet, mushroom's patience and a few others) who have established a new sort of sound with elements of traditional, cabaret/ lounge, and experimental music that is as geographically rooted in southern europe as pure noise is in japan, coldwave is in germany or power electronics is in england.

of this group of artists, o paradis stands out as the most lyrical and the most emotional. this isn't the sort of contrived melancholy one gets from many artists, at times raw and unflinching enough to be uncomfortable, but moving in its complete honesty.

"cuando.." is o paradis' most experimental album to date, with the production and atmospheric sounds taking a more prominent place than previously, but it still falls back on the same key element: sole proprietor demian is a superb songwriter. that's a greater accomplishment than you might think, since it's fairly easy to dress up mediocre songwriting with effects and trickery and, if you're reading this blog, chances are that not everything in your music collection relies on the fragile mix of melody and harmony.

the fact that there is a greater range of elements at play here makes this a more diverse work than previous albums and allows it to float effortlessly between the world of reality and the world of dream. (nowhere is this established more clearly than on the first track, where the blissful intro dissipates into a rhythmic morass of industrial noises and finally into the sound of an alarm clock.)

fans of this school of music will recognise the hyper-distinctive vocals of jurgen weber (novy svet) and tairy ceron (ait!) and there are contributions on vocals and instrumentation from a few others, but, at the end, this is a one man show- deeply personal, exquisitely executed and exuding romance in all senses of the word.

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