Elida

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Lynch
Words like "approachable" and "engaging" are rarely invoked when describing the work of so-called avant-garde musicians, and it sometimes seems true that avant experimentalists bend over backwards to push mainstream listeners away rather than welcome them. Not so Iva Bittová, a composer, violinist, and vocalist who proves that the avant-garde can be broadly appealing without compromising its adventurous spirit. On Elida, Bittová succeeds in humanizing the Bang on a Can All-Stars, that collective of New Yorkers often primarily noted for mind-boggling technical skills when tackling the formidable minimalist and post-minimalist works of modern composers like Louis Andriessen ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Dave Lynch
Words like "approachable" and "engaging" are rarely invoked when describing the work of so-called avant-garde musicians, and it sometimes seems true that avant experimentalists bend over backwards to push mainstream listeners away rather than welcome them. Not so Iva Bittová, a composer, violinist, and vocalist who proves that the avant-garde can be broadly appealing without compromising its adventurous spirit. On Elida, Bittová succeeds in humanizing the Bang on a Can All-Stars, that collective of New Yorkers often primarily noted for mind-boggling technical skills when tackling the formidable minimalist and post-minimalist works of modern composers like Louis Andriessen and the Bang on a Can collective's own Michael Gordon. Here, a six-piece incarnation of the All-Stars is her backing band, and the musicians prove to be ideally suited to the task, a dose of Bittová's Eastern European folk, chamber music, and cabaret proving the ideal formula to reveal their softer and more intimate sides. That is not to suggest that the All-Stars have lost their edge here, or that Bittová's unbridled exuberance is not on full display. Thankfully, Bittová's singing in her native Czech remains far from the plastic posturing of the typical mid-2000s pop diva, yet her catalog of wild vocal techniques is not avant-garde for the sake of being avant-garde -- it seems a natural and effortless outgrowth of her music's core melodies and rhythms and the artfully yearning images painted by her lyricists Richard Müller, Vladimír Václavek, and Vera Chase. The album follows a thoughtful and well-conceived trajectory, with Bittová's shouting, babbling, and skittering vocals making an early entrance on "Malíri V Parízi" Painters in Paris but seeming to slide gracefully into a mature beauty before the listener's ears as the album progresses, although she never completely abandons her childlike playful qualities. Likewise, her violin assumes increasing prominence as Elida's initial cabaret atmosphere with Lisa Moore's wonderful pianisms on full display makes way for a fuller -- yet often delicate and understated -- ensemble sound. Bittová dips into idiosyncratic yet compelling jazz-like scatting on "Bolís Me, Lásko" You're Hurting Me Babe, while the two-part "Zapíshej" Whistle, an album highlight, displays her wonderful talents in synchronous singing and violin playing, both in the uptempo folk dance-like opening and the piece's centerpiece, a beautiful extended 5/4 vamp taken at a measured pace, colored by a mysterious guitar motif, driven by subtle bass and brushed drums, and embellished with pizzicato strings. Gypsy flavors can be heard in both "Zapíshej" and "Hopáhop Tálitá," the album's two lengthiest pieces, particularly in Evan Ziporyn's clarinet lines, and one also hears echoes of Tom Cora in Wendy Sutter's cello on the title track, which flirts with avant European folk-rock and may have certain listeners recalling Nimal or Skeleton Crew an impression enhanced by some Fred Frith-like guitar from Mark Stewart, a member of Frith's Guitar Quartet. Elida is an essential release in Iva Bittová's catalog, and a fine introduction to her music for those unfamiliar with her. And it's a worthy Bang on a Can All-Stars entry, too, particularly if you're not in a mood for minimalism.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/14/2005
  • Label: Cantaloupe
  • UPC: 713746302726
  • Catalog Number: 21027
  • Sales rank: 164,024

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Malíri V Parízi (Painters in Paris) - Bang On A Can (2:44)
  2. 2 Bolís Me, Lásko (You're Hurting Me Babe) - Bang On A Can (5:50)
  3. 3 Ladná Celadná - Bang On A Can (4:19)
  4. 4 Samota (Loneliness) - Bang On A Can (4:09)
  5. 5 Hopáhop Tálitá - Bang On A Can (9:00)
  6. 6 Zapíshej (Whistle) - Bang On A Can (9:28)
  7. 7 Elida - Bang On A Can (5:09)
  8. 8 Presto - Bang On A Can (2:35)
  9. 9 Nejsi - Bang On A Can (3:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Iva Bittová Primary Artist, Violin, Vocals, Track Performer
Lisa Moore Piano
Evan Ziporyn Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
David Cossin Percussion, Drums
Wendy Sutter Cello
Robert Wilson Black Bass
Bang on a Can All-Stars Track Performer
Technical Credits
Iva Bittová Composer, Producer
Tom Lazarus Producer, Engineer
Kenny Savelson Executive Producer
David Lang Executive Producer
Julia Wolfe Executive Producer
Joe Yannece Mastering
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