Aviva — Peer Gynt in Favour
(Musea FGBG 4855, 2010, CD)
by Alan K. Lipton, Published 2011-06-01
It’s a shock to hear music you've known all your life bent in new directions for new purposes. I still remember envisioning how my four-year-old self would have wept at The Residents’ deconstruction of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” It's that same feeling with this reboot of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite. It’s the third album by Aviva, a.k.a. Russian multi-instrumentalist Dmitri A. Loukanienko, with a few uncredited guests, and these are new interpretations of familiar themes from Grieg’s 1875 opus. Some, like the universally recognized “Peer Gynt’s Morning,” involve cut and paste remixes of original orchestral recordings or, as on “Ingrid,” the florid piano of a modern interpreter like Gian Piero Reverberi. “Skalds’ Hymn” is a short electronic tone poem capturing the mysteries of ancient Norse legends. Progressive rock arrangements feed a 70s sound into a millennial mash-up on “Mountain King and His Daughter,” which sounds like Mannheim Steamroller offroading through a boreal landscape with Groupa, Hoven Droven, and other heavy Nordic roots bands. “Anitra” becomes a synthed up Eurodisco nightmare via Art of Noise. “Ese” is the clearest display of Loukanienko’s M.O.: adapt a classical theme for prog band a la Emerson, Wakeman, and other keyboard rebels, then tear it all apart in a delighted tantrum of dissonance and anti-structure. The final track, “In Favour,” feels like an apology for all these pranks, a gently building piece with a Windham Hill jazz flavor, something that might soothe the jangled nerves of Grieg and those who love him.
Related artist(s): Aviva / Aviva Omnibus
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more