Album Review Asgeir & Mo - Danza de Andalucia
At Audioreview we are regularly asked for an album review. Most of the time the requests come from Dutch artists who are new to the business. When we have time for it, we are often willing to honor that request. This time we received a request from a norwegian artist who wants to promote his debut album. For me, when something comes from Scandinavia, it has an advantage. I love the Nordic style. However this album differs extremely from the Nordic style. The artists we are talking about are Asgeir and Mo and the album title is "Danza de Andalucia".
The creative mind behind this work is Asgeir Aarøen. Asgeir is a classically trained guitarist and here he mixes flamenco with classical, Latin and Eastern European styles and at a couple of tracks even arabic influences. The result is a strange mix that fits together like it always had to be so, name it "flamenco new style".
Together with Bjarte Mo on violin, and a diverse number of other musicians from Spain, Serbia, Norway and even Colombia, they have shaped this album to the max.
The strength of this album lies in the consistency of the numbers. There are simply no weak tracks on it. I have a few favorites. The ones that stand out are "Dine Hender i Mine" (Your Hand in Mine), "Minner frå Enerhaug" (Memories of Enerhaug) and "Tur langs Elva" (Stroll Along the River), but as already mentioned, that is a personal thing. They are the more easy going tracks on the album that appeal to me more.
The last song, "Sommarsong" (Summer Song), is different from the rest. I guess it's the reason that it is put on the end of the album. It is also the only track with lyrics. It's basically a pop song and has no Latino or gipsy style, but is very nice. The voice of Aina Schøld is marvelous and you can see and feel that summer she is singing about. For me, "Sommarsong" the best song on the album.
The recordings are technically ok, but imho there are some flaws in it. The recording technique is good, however, in the first few songs, the violin a little "dry" compared to the rest. It seems as if it's recorded afterwards or in another studio. The guitar has a great stage, while the violin occasionally sounds a bit too much up front. From 5 number on this is no longer an issue and the violin is part of the band.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine what the guitar is made of. Occasionally you think that maybe cardboard and later it sounds like a Taylor or Burguet. The last weakness imho is when the music gets to an end or rest point, a synthetic reverb is very present. You can't determine properly in which environment the musicians are playing. Is it a living room or is it a cave? For example, in some occasions the violin has no reverb at all, while the guitar and the flute do have a reverb. That is a little bit disturbing.
In terms of technical skills of the players, I can only say there are masters of the instruments playing. Timing, touch and empathy are at an exceptionally high level. Also with the fast songs you hear that the musicians are having great fun playing making music and entertaining the audience.
The guitar "shoots" when it's appropriate and is played subtle when it has to. The violin plays tight, lightning fast and open. The percussion is of world class. The flute could have a more prominent role, because I like the combination with the guitar better than the combination guitar/violin.
When the guitar and the violin are playing together, you get a sound you do not expect. Flamenco / Latin with a Balkan twist! For those who are afraid there is no flamenco dancing on the record, they will not be disappointed. On a couple of tracks there is. Not prominently up front, but subtle as part of the percussion section. Nice. The only thing I missed were the castanets. "Missed" is perhaps the wrong word. I think "expected" would be the better word.
In conclusion I can say that this album has surprised me positively. As a lover of flamenco, this album is extremely nice to listen to and even non-Latino music lovers will appreciate this album.
Asgeir & Mo - Danza de Andalucia
Label: West Audio ASG201
Running time: 65'00 "
1] Sommarflørt (Summer Flirt) - 3'54 "
2] Arabisk Samba (Samba Arabian) - 3'41 "
3] Dine Hender i Mine (Your Hand in Mine) - 6'38 "
4] I Netanya Natt (Night in Netanya) - 3'55 "
5] På Eventyr (Walkabout) - 6'27 "
6] En La Playa (On the Beach) - 1'55 "
7] Danza de Andalucia (Andalucian Dance) - 8'18 "
8] Tango - 4'53 "
9] Minner Frå Enerhaug (Memories of Enerhaug) - 7'12 "
10] Grito de los Andes (Cry from the Andes) - 5'04 "
11] Mot Mitnatt (Towards Midnight) - 4'35 "
12] Tur langs Elva (Stroll along the River) - 3'21 "
13] Sommarsong (Summer Song) - 4'59 "