AURIS MEDIA AUM 035 / VIALKA VIA-012 CD (2012)
La Roue is a new collaboration between French-Canadian Turbo-Punk band, Vialka, and the Israeli Avant/Hardcore/Klezmer/Karate band, Kruzenshtern & Parohod. While the bands previously worked together in 2006 on a split album (aum011), this release represents the first time they have collaborated on new tracks under the moniker KIV Orchestra.
The result is a highly original and varied five track EP which, as expected, given the roots of KIV, reflects any number of cultures and musical styles. The EP opens strongly with the powerful ‘Bad Bad Horror’, complete with Marylise Frecheville’s unmistakable vocal, and continues to build momentum throughout.
Fans of the accordion and clarinet certainly won’t be left disappointed, as the instruments appear on several of the tracks. When combined with Frecheville’s emotive vocal, much of the EP gives off a distinctly French vibe. However, there are also traces of Berlin-style cabaret from the 1920s and some traditional Russian classics, which have been modernised to give the EP a definitely modern slant.
In truth, there are times when the influence of so many cultures and voices result in a bit of a chaotic and random sound, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but does leave the EP lacking a certain coherence in places. This is especially true of the last track, ‘Po Shpalam’, a traditional Russian song given a screaming punk twist, which feels like it has muscled its way in from a whole different recording.
Overall, however, La Roue offers an accessible and interesting set of tracks that manage to evoke a traditional sound whilst also providing something new and innovative. This is just a sample of what fans and newcomers can expect from this ongoing collaborative effort; and no doubt any future releases will prove just as challenging, provocative and eclectic as this one.
This collection is an exciting introduction to the work of both Vialka and Kruzenshtern & Parohod, which no doubt many listeners will be inspired to further explore as they await the next release from KIV.