MENNO VON BRUCKEN FOCK

CII: SECOND SON (NL+E)

Artiest / Band: 
17 PYGMIES
17 PYGMIES

17 Pygmies is een Amerikaans gezelschap dat draait om Jackson Del Rey (gitaar, synths, bas) en Meg Maryatt (zang, piano, synth). Samen met Jeff Brenneman (gitaar, synth, zang) en Dirk Doucette (drums, gitaar, synth, bas, zang) maakt de band uiterst gevoelige muziek die is geworteld in de psychedelische sfeer van de jaren zestig, maar met een hedendaags geluid. De bandleden zijn al heel lang actief in de muziek, want 17 Pygmies werd al in 1982 opgericht. CII: Second Son, fraai verpakt in een verzegeld envelopje en met een mooi boekje, is de opvolger van Celestina (2008), dat losjes is gebaseerd op het middeleeuwse La Celestina. Del Rey is niet alleen geïnspireerd door de filmmuziek uit de jaren vijftig en zestig, maar vooral door de psychedelische progressieve muziek, waarbij je vooral zangtechnisch aan het geluid moet denken van artiesten van het roemruchte 4AD-label. Het resultaat is een mijns inziens schitterend, gevoelig en dromerig album met zweverige, maar niet al te gecompliceerde melodieën, prachtige soundscapes en minimale begeleiding van vooral toetsen. Tijdens het lezen van het boekje kun je je eigen film erbij fantaseren. Mooi orkestraal klinkt Celestina XVIII met de aangename stem van Meg Maryatt, die slechts in enkele tracks te horen is. Op het einde hoor je wat Kraftwerk-achtige geluidjes van telefoontoetsen en gastmuzikant Heather Lockie op viool. Het enige stevige stukje zit in de laatste minuut van dit krap drie kwartier klokkende schijfje. CII: Second Son is een aanrader voor fans van dromerige en zweverige muziek!

ENGLISH:

17 Pygmies hails from the USA. The main composer and instrumentalist is Jackson Del Rey (guitar, synths, bass). With his partner Meg Maryatt (vocals, piano, synth, Jeff Brenneman (guitar, synth, vocals) and Dirk Doucette (drums, guitar, synth, bass, vocals) he created CII: Second Son as the successor to Celestina (2008). The musicians are highly experienced because they have been active in the music business since 1982. Del Rey takes an exceptional interest in the Twilight Zone, soundtracks and psychedelic music from the sixties. All these influences can be distinguished quite clearly in the music on this album. It takes a certain state of mind to really appreciate it, but once you get into the music, you're 'lost' and you're well away to a voyage, a trip to cosmic psychedelica. Haunting sounds set the tone of the music as soaring winds are followed by the gentle sound of a 'musical box' and some string arrangements. Celestina XIII is an awesome ballad carried by the sweet and soothing voice of Meg Maryatt. You'll hear a slow rhythm, subtle drumming, keyboards and violins in this track. Celestina XIV is a melodic interlude, beginning like a soundtrack but turning into a nice psychedelic atmosphere and a melody played by flutes accompanied by keyboards. Celestina XV and Celestina XVI are in the same key as Celestina XIII : rather dark music but still melodic and the musical box is in contrast with the more orchestral passages. The low 'drone' can be heard throughout these tracks and several others too by the way. Celestina XVII is partly a reprise from Celestina XIII, also nicely sung by Meg Maryatt. The first part of Celestina XVIII is dark, ambient, like a soundtrack for a somewhat scary movie. In the second part there's also a piece full of strings and far more melodic. The drone-like E bass-sound, as heard before, is the basis for some whining violins and a more melodic part with Maryatt's vocals in Celestina XIX. What a lovely voice she has! Celestina XX is a subtle chill out tune with slow drums, keyboards and some violins and guitar. Celestina XXI contains very accessible melodies and some classical influences because of the piano. The music's fading away nicely and this would have been a fine end of the album in my opinion. Instead you got this somewhat strange alternative ending with organ, synths and unexpectedly raw guitars and hammering synth sounds, to fade away smoothly fortunately.

The album comes in a lush, highly original package, nice booklet, delicately wrapped with a seal, a feast for the eye and nothing like I have ever seen before. Maybe a bit strange, but still a very enjoyable album combining ambient, chill out, soundtrack and symphonic music in a very original mixture with a touch of psychedelic influences from the sixties.