DUO ANNE NIEPOLD & GWEN CRESENS
(2016 - Sabam - Belgium)
A lofty and fluid intermingle of both diatonic and chromatic accordions, in this advanced duo's recording of 14 compositions. The captivating music rolls from majestic to celebrative, hyper, gypsy dance, and all things in between. If you think two lone yet contrasting accordion players can't be exciting, then lay your ears on this. Also see the live performance clips above on You Tube link. (you should also check all the other clips with Anne and company).
Since I have followed Anne Niepold for over a decade now, I already knew the capabilities. For the ones unfamiliar, all you need to do is take one chance and listen. Her stage acts are a beautiful combination of theatre and music at its best. And all with occasional props and accordion, among guest artists who further enhance the experience. Although not quite as avant-garde as Lars Hollmer, the same fans will love Anne. I am not so familiar with Gwen Cresesns (who is also a Belgian accordionist plus bandoneonist and composer, and previously played in Orquesta Tanguedio and Trio Dor) but his performance won me over instantly. The huge variety of musicians of many styles from many regions, that Anne has worked with is simply outstanding.
I found no lulls or moments where I was not glued to the music. Each tune produces rich images, movies in the mind, and colors in the air that twirl, float, and fly. I keep asking myself how can Anne be so prolific?. She wrote 5 of the pieces, Gwen wrote 2, they co-write 1, and the others are covers, including oddities like 'Smells Like" by Curt Cobain (Nirvana), and works by Vilvaldi, Nazareth, Telson, Galliano, Piazzolla, Jormin, and Parisi. So you can try and imagine the overall sound, but do not underestimate or assume anything except the entire presentation as both brilliant and first rate. Like watching a wonderful movie with numerous emotions, a moment of sadness, animation and mystery, lots of cheer, something zany, a bit of comedy, and even a touch of dreamtime.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 3 - 20 - 2017