Donis - _Alexandreia_
(Autarkeia, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (9.5 out of 10)
Donis is the project of one Donatas Bielkauskas, of Wejdas fame. This didn't mean much to me, and it probably doesn't mean much to our cherished readers either. More's the pity, as this is possibly the most sublime ambient work I've heard so far this year.

The album is based on texts by Greek poet Konstantinos Petrou Kavaphes, whose work is recited over a luscious ambient backdrop. The poem is, unfortunately, in Greek, so its meaning is completely lost on me, but the poet is known for historical themes.

But this is peripheral; the true genius of this CD is not in paying tribute to bards of times past, but in creating and sustaining an enchanting atmosphere quite unlike anything else I have heard. This is largely (but not completely) due to the use of a variety of traditional instruments, such as birbyne and duda ("traditional Lithuanian folk wind instruments") in addition to the mesmerizing beat of the zvangulim (traditional percussion). The mere presence of such instruments is obviously not enough to make this a memorable album; but the manner in which they are used, and in this can find little to fault.

A lot of the poetic nuances are clearly lost to those outside Greece, but there is still much present to enjoy in this audio treasure. I cannot conceive how this might be better (apart from being in English; my loss, not theirs). This is not due to a dearth of imagination on my part, but a comment on his skill.


(article published 5/4/2007)

4/25/2007 Q Kalis 4 Donis - Vacuum
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