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Hannes Loschel: Edi Flaneur

Farrell Lowe By

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Given that Edi Flaneur is a collection of music created for children, composer Hannes Loschel must love and respect children very much—because the music presented on this disc is intelligent, provocative, sincere, and more fun than a can of glow worms!

On "4 facher Ollie" prepared piano themes intertwine wonderfully with environmental samples and violin phrases. By the time the high-strung children's guitar appears into the piece, it is obvious that this recording is something special. The second piece, "Verschub," combines elements of cabaret, classical, and circus music themes into a fusion of serious and silly that is immediately engaging. The next piece, "StraBenbahn," is a strange marriage between Phillip Glass and Carla Bley, where minimalist repetition slams headlong into the surrealistic musings of guitarist Wizlsperger. His slide guitar work is amazing throughout the entire album and reminiscent of a less distorted and tamer Sonny Sharrock.

What a strange album! This band is like the lost aural child of Cirque du Soleil; there are so many emotional, musical, and stylistic landscapes explored within the various pieces, which simultaneously weave a tremendously strong thematic thread throughout a variety of moods. The text and music are based on the suburban adventures of a boy in Vienna and are intended to convey the many flavors of that environment. In the live version of this program, the boy is the main character and tells stories of his experiences via video while the music is performed. As a compact disc the music must stand on its own without the aid of such visual stimuli, and it does so quite admirably—each piece is well composed, with inspired playing by everyone involved.

Four duets between various ensemble members and Loschel reveal a compositional style akin to the likes of Stephen Soundheim or David Byrne's forays into the world of theater. This perspective is expanded and developed throughout the album. Loschel fleshes out his theatric skeletons with a closet full of colorful clothes and a rich palette of musical make-up, and he has the vision to put it all together well.

Whether this music was composed for children or adults or extraterrestrials really doesn't matter in the end. What does matter is the composer's ability to convey his cinematic sophistication, coupled with his surrealistic juxtaposition of high art and low art into one vibrating mass. This album is very well done!

Visit the composer's site at: www.loewenhertz.at


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