Jelonek

Jelonek

Written by: DR on 17/11/2010 21:05:49

"Jelonek" is, unlike any album I've ever come across, centered around the violin; but, that's to be expected when the man at the helm, Michel Jelonek, has played over 1500 live performances and contributed to an array of albums. However, as the [right side of the] artwork alludes to, there's something darker about this "debut".

What does "darker" mean though? Well, let's see if I can explain it: it's classical music... meets hard rock/metal. Jelonek has taken all of his previous experience working in the orchestra and such settings and applied this to a hard rock/metal setting. Instead of a floating violin, you have the full force of that and a metal assault. A constant Eastern European vibe runs throughout, but he's eager to play with style. He never defers too far away from his fondness for the hard rock/metal undertone as the backdrop to his theatrical violin, but there are nods towards something in the vein of funk/jazz. It all sounds a bit hectic, no? That's because it is. PP very accurately observed "sounds fuckin' insane", and that's about the most succint way to describe it.

The opener "BaRock" is not one of the strongest points on the album, although despite this, it does "ease" you into the album. The following track, "B.East", has a more prominent Eastern European influence that balances well the with power-metal (is that even a thing?) pummelling of the guitars. "Venodome 1212" is one of the highlights and more memorable songs on the album; the violin-work is incredibly fast and intricate, and the heavy-ness underneath that was fairly over-powering in the first two tracks seems to take a step back to allow the track room to breathe. Songs like "Akka" and "Steppe" take a more downtempo turn, and as not to clutter up the soundscape he's trying to create, are less complex and hectic. Arguably the two finest moments are crafted not when the violin is centre stage, well not alone, but when in battle with a guitar: the "wah" in "War In The Kids Room" being a suprising yet clever touch, and "Mosquito Flight" it sounds like a jam-session recorded whilst the guitarist was high, as Southern-American music is being pumped into one ear and psychedelia in the other.

There is technical ability in abundance to be heard, but, and I'm writing openly as not a typical fan of this metal-inspired music, over the course of 14 songs it goes on for too long. It takes a brave and also skilled musician to be able to present the violin as the focal point for an album and pull it off - Jelonek ticks both of these boxes - however, the top songs were those that allowed it to overlap with the lead guitar: these songs come at the end of the album, which perk your attention back up after a disappointing middle that lags. Still, it's a promising start and a fully deserved:

7

Download: Venodome 1212, Mosquito Flight, War In The Kids Room
For The Fans of: an instrumental Diablo Swing Orchestra
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 08.02.2010
Mystic Production

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