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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Songs of the Metropolis

World Village 450024



1. Paris
2. Tel Aviv
3. Buenos Aires
4. Vienna
5. Manhattan
6. Scarborough
7. Moscow
8. Somewhere in Italy
9. Berlin

Gilad Atzmon - Alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet, accordion, vocals
Frank Harrison - Piano, Fender Rhodes, harmonium, synthesizer, glockenspiel, vocals
Yaron Stavi - Double bass, vocals
Eddie Hick - Drums, vocals

I tend to think of Gilad Atzmon as a noisy - even raucous - sort of performer, but this album starts with a slow atmospheric piece, with hints of a Paris boulevardier. Gilad gets an unusual hollow sound from his clarinet and at one point there is an accordion to accentuate the atmosphere of Paris. Tel Aviv has an oriental feel. It starts cheerfully but becomes more and more agitated.

Atzmon says "This album is a pursuit of the sound of the city" and some tracks capture the mood of a particular place, while others seem to have no connection with their cities. For instance, Buenos Aires has no feeling of Latin America but instead sounds ominous. However, Manhattan has the spirited feel of a big city. Scarborough is a pensive interpretation of the folk song Scarborough Fair which grows more impassioned as it continues. Moscow is dark and threatening, while Berlin is almost a parody of German beer-hall music. Somewhere in Italy is a moody piece but it doesn't convey clearly which city it may refer to (Rome? Milan? Florence?).

If Gilad was trying with this album to evoke the moods of various cities, he has been only partially successful. Every track is interesting but not all of them could be called programme music.

Tony Augarde

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