donderdag 28 mei 2015

review of "Versa" in Classical Guitar Magazine (USA)

Versa Teyata
(Jan Sanen and An Volders)
 teyata.be

A refreshing and inspired disc of modern post-minimalism In this debut CD by a youthful duo based in Belgium, the packaging is one of those arty creations that is pleasing to the eye but contains little information on the performers or the music. However, in a letter received with the review copy, we learn that Jan Sanen and An Volders are graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and that they took their collective name from the work by Stephen Wingfield that closes this disc. After a spaced-out electronic introduction to the opening “Fly,” the duo embark on a program whose prevailing language often falls under the loose heading of post minimalist. This deliberately vague term is a safe refuge for the reviewer, since the issue of what counts as genuine minimalism is a minefield of long-standing. Wingfield’s work arguably comes closest to meeting the criteria, while the duo’s own offerings employ a wider canvas in which the more lyrical side of ’70s progressive rock is a recurring spectral presence. Electric guitars make an occasional appearance, but the classical guitars (by Philipp Neumann and Zbigniew Gnatek) are clearly the tools of choice. The result is engaging and at times quirky; the improvisation over a fixed chord riff that is central to “Empty Swimming Pool” transporting us back to the hazy ambience of a student common room late in the evening. One matter that must be raised is the statement that “all music [is] composed by Teyata, except ‘Teyat√° by Stephen Wingfield.” This is more than a little disingenuous, in that the track titled “BEGGA, Never a frown with golden brown” is essentially an extended arrangement of “Golden Brown,” which was a 1982 hit single for the Stranglers in the UK and elsewhere. Although a sizeable chunk of new material is introduced, Teyata devote almost a minute to directly quoting the original. However, this unwarranted act of misrepresentation is the only disappointing aspect of an otherwise refreshing and inspired release. —Paul Fowles

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