JANEL & ANTHONY – Where Is Home


Janel Leppin: cello, loops, electronics, voice; Anthony Pirog: guitar, loops, electronics (both artists play numerous additional instruments, varying from track to track).

First Cuneiform release for this good-looking duo hailing from the Washington area, predominantly animated by a concourse of personal occurrences and echoes from the days of yonder.

In the initial “Big Sur” the contrapuntal tightness is entirely palatable, instrumental nimbleness supported by warm feelings. Lots of influences get competently amalgamated in transcontinental aesthetics, virtuosity displayed unpretentiously. “Leaving The Woods” settles on peaceful melodies imbued with nostalgic richness and quiet doubt. Modulations that in a different place might be considered as flavorless sound up to standard, empathy remaining conspicuous in the harmonically comfortable passages.

“Lily In The Garden” reveals traces of remote locations and dissolving aspirations. The copiousness of colors does not conceal lack of substance, provided that you’re not searching for new messiahs; we take no notice of the malicious messages from the critical mind, preferring the enjoyment of a gift of acoustic cuteness. The program is also typified by shorter episodes such as “The Clearing”, “Stay With Me” and “Finale” nourished by looping soundscapes and consonant derivations. In “Mustang Song”, and elsewhere, attempts are made to engage larger audiences in private dreams; this does not imply a loss of dignity. These pleasant recipes are not going to origin second thoughts when thinking back about the record, though “groundbreaking” is an adjective that cannot be exercised in this environment.

“A Viennesian Life” shows a substantial balance between sloping complexness and economic dimensionality; the sudden debut of an engrossing bass line instantly transports the track towards a deeper level of conduction of dear memories. The CD’s finest contents reside in this neighborhood: in the subsequent “Broome’s Orchard” we discover a reserved elegance not deprived of true sentiment, Lappin and Pirog’s commitment still vivid in spite of a thoughtful composure; a beauteous episode, perhaps the release’s top. The duo’s specialty lies in their capacity of combining “desolate America” landscaping and charming exotic recollection; I wouldn’t be surprised if their music gets in demand for soundtracks one day. Certain movies would definitely gain from that service.

“Cross The Williamsburg Bridge” is a touching brief vignette whose opening caused an instantaneous Dan Ar Bras reminiscence, heaven knows why. “Where Will We Go” adds an ounce of inscrutability, a clever compounding of tuneful themes and slightly unquiet backgrounds completed by an improvisation with swelling noises and textural inflammations, the lone authentically dissonant moment of the entire disc.

In essence, the project works fine enough. These confident players articulate multiple stylistic issues, on various scales of value, in a reasonably rewarding continuum. In any case, the orchestral talent of Janel & Anthony is undeniable.

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