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Vita Brevis
(2019 - self release - Belgium)

So much behind her, yet no doubt a vast frontier before her, as she has tackled so many dimensions of musical display, with solo work and ensembles that bask in invention, nostalgia brought back to life, and stage presentation that appears more as a well orchestrated circus act or thrilling theater performance. This album brings a bit of it all at once. 'Vita Brevis' (translation from Latin to English as 'brief life' or 'life is short')  has a concept of (in Anne's words) "I like the idea of the opposition of the one day-insect flying around a piece of wood or stone which is there for ages already. They co-exist, co function." The nice fold out 6 panel Cd package has related art of flying creatures around trees (wood), and adds a very pleasant visual to the affair.
Anne Niepold is on 'diatonique accordeon', along with  Hendrik Vanattenhoven on bass, and Etienne Plumer on drums. There are some different configurations of the three musicians, some solo, some as ensemble. On the vinyl issue there is one side solo, and the other side combo. The compact disc mixes them, which I found more attractive. A few covers are performed among her original compositions. All of the songs sound perfectly as they belong together.  As a puzzle that fits so nicely. The end product is best illustrated by the photo of Anne inside, smiling off to the right as she plays. She truly loves her music.

For the unfamiliar, Anne has been creating projects of 'accordeon' based music with various accompaniment for many years, all of surprisingly fresh takes. A world of sounds squeezed, fingered, and sometimes magically created, Niepold has made her varied 'accordeons' as brave at times as greats in the avant-garde/progressive/adventure circles such as Lars Hollmer (RIP) of Sweden and Maria Kalaniemi from Finland. As the tunes flow like a colorful carnival as rotating never tiring horses on a carousel, the accents of gold and mirrors are everywhere, giving off good vibes galore, and the mood of cheer never leaves the air.

Anne's masterful execution of her 'diatonique acordeon' swells, seduces, romances, teases, sometimes tricks and even invites you to jump out of your chair to dance. Add the other musicians brought in at the most ideal times, and the stories roam with proper images, shifting emotions and diverse exposures. Titles like 'Noeud Expletif' (track #3) has a double meaning built in as (noeud) "knot"and (expletif) "superficial", then also as "not needed".  Anne integrates the symbolism with making knots in ones head out of thoughts, a never ending story. 'Syncinesie' (track #6) explores synkinesis, a neurological symptom in which a voluntary muscle movement causes the simultaneous involuntary contraction of other muscles. More simply known as  associated automatic movement and as common as one walking and swinging their arms at the same time. A very rhythmic act. 'L’Dahu' (track #10) is about an imaginary animal living in the mountains, a little like the Yeti. Mountain people know it exists but have never really seen it. Anne tells the folklore tale in music, as all the other songs. 'Nyctalope' (track #11) does some musical embellishment of creatures that can see in the dark, such as cats and raccoons, and perhaps you can use your imagination for unknown species. So you can see the diversification of topics presented here. The results meld exotic moods with happy memories, the kind lost in today's reality. Thank you Anne Niepold for bringing this nostalgic warmth along with the entertainment of a brilliant carnival to us in the present time.   VERY MUCH RECOMMENDED.

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 8 - 2020

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