Hailing from Montreal, multi-instrumentalists Tamara Sandor and Ian Jarvis are the experimental pop group KRABA. They’ve been collaborating since 2016; 2020’s eponymous EP KRABA is their debut release.
The four-song set is atmospheric and new-agey--almost mystical in nature. Their lyrics, delivered in a storytelling, almost folk style, invoke mythological figures and draw inspiration from, as they say, “pre-Christian Northern European myth.”
I may not be fluent in this subgenre of mythology, but I can state that the music that KRABA has created is enchanting. The opening track “GRANI” offers a soothing atmospheric start that leads into Sandor’s beautiful opening melody. It’s flowing-water music, with a soothing, oceanic feel. Amazingly, there’s just one chord and tone center used for the whole track, but it never gets boring. KRABA keeps us interested by varying the texture with assorted percussion sounds and other tones.
“KRABA” follows. Here the band uses a lo-fi drum loop and a minor chord progression to support more beautiful singing. Texture and interest again come from percussion tracks and varied synth tones. The singing is layered with certain parts reminiscent of Dido. The synths could have come from an Oingo Boingo mid-‘80s movie soundtrack. The lyrics sound great with the words just melting over the track.
The third track “LORELEI” combined aspects of the first two tracks. There’s a low-fi drum loop over a one-chord song. With the interesting timbres and beautiful singing, who needs anything but C major anyway? “ASLAUG” finishes the set. The vocals shine here: the track starts with a chant, and the mix is spectacular with three distinct vocal parts left, right, and center. The percussion is appropriately thunderous and spooky, and KRABA leaves us with a fine experience after this EP spin.
A full album is in the works for late 2020/early 2021, and I look forward to hearing more from KRABA then!
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