25

The Snobs: Ekho’s Wheeling in Thespiae

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
The Snobs are a wildly talented art-rock duo hailing from France. Mad Rabbit and Duck Feeling are brothers who have released ten innovative recordings, including the excellent Massive Liquidity (Bam Balam, 2011), which features the poetry and performance of the peerless Steve Dalachinsky. On their release Ekho's Wheeling in Thespiae, their music is, as always, a delectable blend of influences, including Krautrock, industrial percussion, and ambient music, rounded off by Miles Davis' On the Corner (Columbia, 1972) and James Brown's The Payback (Polydor, 1973). If that sounds interesting, that's because it is: the Snobs have an uncanny ability to combine the best of the best, creating something delightfully fresh and one-of-a-kind.

The three pieces on Ekho are dynamic constructions that shape-shift throughout. The music gleefully changes tempo and rhythm and instrumentation, with surprises around every corner: energetic grooves, electronic stylings, deep textures, dreamy rock vibings, worldly beats, free-jazz sax explosions, sinewy poetry, pounding percussion, gorgeous electronic torques, plus a full palette of drones and buzzes and beeps. And yet there's always an exquisite cohesion behind the movement; the Snobs have a facility for taking an idea, motif, or lyric, and exploring it from multiple angles. They like to play in the fields of repetition and reverberation, allowing the echoes to bounce inside their own edifices. The music is even more impressive in that it's eminently danceable, maintaining vigorous grooves no matter how the music is traveling.

The three songs have an added depth in that each has its seeds in literature and mythology. The opening piece, "The Youthful Look of a Charming Boy," concerns Gustav von Aschenbach, the main character in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, whose obsession with a young boy leads to suicide; "Narcissus and His Beloved Sister" is a contemplation of the Greek legend of the nymph Ekho, who was rejected by Narcissus in favor of his twin sister; and "John, You May Kiss the Groom" is inspired by the image of John the Baptist leading Jesus to the wedding altar. The lyrics explore these archetypal stories from a unique angle: a narrative exists, and yet the lyrics simultaneously function as a kind of language poetry, an exploration of sound as sound. The lyrics are also given a lift by the Snobs' vocal abilities. The brothers are powerful performers, able to use their voices in a wide range of moods and qualities: mechanical and cold, heartbreakingly tender, forcefully urgent, or harmonic as choirboys.

In addition to their musical and lyrical talents, the Snobs also make videos, including a film and two animations of the three songs on Ekho's Wheeling in Thespiae. The dreamy, sometimes stark imagery add yet another layer of richness to these wondrous aural concoctions.

The Snobs are gifted sonic architects, creators of evocative universes that are passionate and organized, burning and haunted, intelligent and downright mischievous. All three songs have a tremendous beauty, a richness that can be explored over and over again.

Track Listing: The Youthful Look of a Charming Boy; Narcissus and His Beloved Sister; John You May Kiss the Groom.

Personnel: Mad Rabbit: vocals, lyrics, samples, electronics, montage, mixage, visuals; Duck Feeling: guitar, bass, saxophone, electronics, synthesizer, piano, percussions.

Title: Ekho’s Wheeling in Thespiae | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Humanity" CD/LP/Track Review Humanity
by Jim Olin
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.