Exposé Online banner

Dialeto — Bartók in Rock
(Chromatic CMCD 001, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-29

Bartók in Rock Cover art

One only has to listen to a piece like “Mikrokosmos 113: Bulgarian Rhythm (I)” to realize that Béla Bartók has a direct relation to avant-progressive rock. (You can find a great arrangement for guitar here, and any number of piano renditions as well.) This little piano piece is clearly related to any number of tracks from King Crimson to Univers Zero and Present, and on Bartók in Rock, Brazilians Dialeto take the natural step of actually arranging it for a rock band. The result is the highlight of the album, and features violinist David Cross along with Nelson Coelho (guitar), Gabriel Costa (bass), and Fred Barley (drums), ripping it up with an aggressive rhythm in various meters. The original generally runs a little over a minute to perform, but they’ve expanded it into 4:21 of instrumental progressive rock, sharing the melody around between the violin and guitar, dividing the backing motif between different players at varying times, and using a variation of that riff to back improvised solos. Cross’s work is outstanding, his solo wild and totally appropriate for the rhythmic and tonal setting. Coelho, for his solo, takes a somewhat different tack, with longer notes mangled by effects. I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a let-down that the other nine tracks don’t feature Cross — more of his great playing would have enhanced the result greatly. Not that Coelho and company are slouches, mind you, but the violin would have provided a welcome change of pace from time to time from all the guitars. I say “guitars” because many of the tracks do involve overdubbed parts to fill out the sound, either providing a rhythmic backing or doubling a melody with a different tone. One more of the “Mikrokosmos” exercises is present, and six of the tracks comprise the “Six Romanian Folk Dances” suite composed in 1915, and they’re arranged in a variety of ways, sometimes resembling rocked-up English or Irish folk dances, sometimes more atmospheric. There are two selections from the “For Children” collection of simple piano pieces (1909), and while neither has the impact of “Mikrokosmos 113,” both “An Evening in the Village” and “The Young Bride” are well done, expanding Bartók’s sketches into full-fledged pieces that can stand on their own. Given the vast wealth of compositions the composer left us, this collection is just a taste of what can be done with such great source material. Even within the “Mikrokosmos” set, there are many that would work well in rock arrangements. For a fan of Bartók who is not averse to electric instruments, Dialeto’s album should work well, and for a progressive rock fan, it stands as just good music, and one of the best adaptations of a composer's music out there.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): David Cross, Dialeto

More info
http://dialeto.bandcamp.com/album/bart-k-in-rock

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gong - Camembert Eclectique – Seminal French space prog band Gong may be best known for their pioneering work in the early to mid 70s, as evidenced by the indispensable Radio Gnome Trilogy of albums: Flying Teapot, Angels Egg, and...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues