The problem I have with so much music today, both popular and even much of the less so, is that it really just sounds a lot alike. Rap and hip hop and most mainstream pop acts working today really just sound like a bunch of the same stuff being released under a different artist's name. It seems that mainstream music and art has found its way of clawing back to relevancy by operating under the assumption that if you make something that sounds catchy enough, people will be awed by it and you’ll be able to make a proper living and not have to get a day job like the rest of us.
Despite all this nonsense going on in the mainstream and underground there are still times when one comes across an artist who is truly trying to explore new territories. One such artist is the Melbourne, Australia contemporary violinist XANI. XANI brings to the contemporary violin and contemporary music in general a certain flair of excitement that seems to have gotten lost in music over the years. In the past XANI has released two EP’s, one which sought out the violin environs of Nashville country and on the other exploring the nuances of contemporary pop.
Now with her first full length record Three she uses an amalgam of different genres which range from classical and jazz to Argentinian tango and Celtic. This is an explosive record right from the start but also one that requires deep listening for Three is not a background record, put on to function as noise at a café or a party.
This is clear from the opening track “Red Violet Lake” which from the beginning offers sharp insights into XANI’S working aesthetics. This you realize soon enough as the eight-plus-minute composition begins to pick up speed is not your average violinist but someone who has a keen and precise understanding of the many directions that music can be taken. Next is the beautifully wrought “Dark Shade of Pink” she plays moods on her violin that are simply at times beautiful and chaotic. Throughout this record she takes things to ever higher peaks using loops and effects to make her violin sound like the biggest instrument in the world like it does at times during the ten-plus-minute fugue of “CODE ORANGE.”
I can’t stress enough how important this record seems to me in the showcasing of where there is still left to go in contemporary music. It gives me faith in life and art to know that there are artists like XANI who are out there continuing to stretch the limits of everything they touch.
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