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    Janus – I Am Not

    Janus - I Am Not

    I am not going to begin this review with the sentence, “I am not going to begin this review with the sentence.” Oops, I just did–twice. I am not even going to tell you who Janus is. Just kidding. Janus was a “Roman god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, endings and time, whose double-faced image peers into the past and future,” and who was recently reincarnated as a new music power (outage) trio consisting of Amanda Baker on flute, percussion and vocals; Beth Meyers on viola, banjo, percussion, and vocals; and Nuiko Wadden on harp and percussion. I am not sure if they formed in 2002 to foster new works for the flute, harp and viola trio, but that’s what a large, flightless, carnivorous bird of prehistory called Phororhacos just chirped into my ear. I am not going to try to describe Janus’ debut album, I Am Not, because it’s so indescribable, I am not able to. Just kidding. “i” kicks it all off with Nuiko a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’ on a melodic harp line while Amanda attacks her flute with a round of heavy breathing and the girls all take turns speaking variations on a theme of the album title, such as, “I am not bored,” “I am not stupid,” “I am not old,” “I am not short,” and “I am not nice.” I am not sure what it all means, but it doesn’t matter, because I am not a stickler for finding meaning in every little thing.

    “Drawings For Meyoko” opens up a whole can of, not worms, but closet melodies with bales of buried banjo plucking and cherub singing with subtle crackles and barely-there drones. Plink-plonk tin can percussion supports a phalanx of flighty flute spurts and microtonal glissando in “Am.” “Gossamer Albatross” sprinkles out a melodic workout from all three players, ending with a round of prickly harp and harsh viola sawing. Beware of “Beware of,” as it staggers straight toward you at the buffet table, brandishing a piping hot flute with prickly, weird, effects-laden percussion and free-form breakdowns. “not” unfurls a knot of circular, minimal viola ribbons peppered with more blinking percussion, followed by a pile of melodic, melancholy almost-rock with hand claps that gets swept “Under the Rug.” I am drawing a blank about how this album ends. Oh yeah, it does so in a similar fashion to the previous song, with a closer called “(blank).” Overall, I am not sure if you will like this album, or if you will fire blanks at it, because I am not you. I am not able to honestly say I hate it, though–quite the opposite, really. I am not going to write another word.

    Label: New Amsterdam Records Catalog Number: NWAM024 Format: CD Packaging: Digi-Pak Tracks: 9 Total Time: 44:08 Country: United States Released: 2010 More: Amazon, Blogspot, New Amsterdam Records, Official, YouTube

    Text ©2011 Arcane Candy

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