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Artist: ESPVALL HELENA & MASAKI BATOH
Title: Overloaded Ark
Format: Double LP
Label: Drag City
Country: USA
Price: $21.00
"Further along the path of musical friendship that Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh have discovered for themselves, we find Overloaded Ark ready to sail. And indeed, a new and better society might be provided for with all that theyve packed on board. These are end times, we are told. Often, though, the craft of Espvall & Batoh drifts through placid waters. In the distance, thunderheads raise up and lightning flashes. When the storms finally come raging, they blow through -- and, singular in purpose under skies of shifting color, the intrepid ark sails onward. Espvall & Batoh have come prepared for anything, armed with acoustic and electric guitars, cello, renaissance harp, organ, sho, banjo, electronics, recorders, piano, hurdy gurdy, frame drums and several more obscure instruments such as auschpfeife, crumhorn, cornamuse, darbuka, and rig. Listen for them! But look them up first, so you know what youre listening for. There are vocals as well, sung mostly by Helena but also with Batohs empathetic support. They are backed by two of Batohs Ghost-mates, Kazuo Ogino and Junzo Tateiwa, and joined by ancient music specialist Haruo Kondo. As on the first Espvall & Batoh album, Overloaded Ark features a trove of traditional and ancient music alongside self-composed explorations. Songs from many cultures and ages are in evidence, from Scandinavian folk to German madrigal to French and Italian medieval court dances and even a good old Latin hymn! Nearer our present day, Sueno Con Serpientes is a cautionary tale from the legendary Cuban protest singer Silvio Rodriguez, and Sham No Umi is a Batoh solo piece from the mid-90s. Espvall & Batoh endeavor to combine sounds from different times in history with an eye towards the creation of a peaceful new global village in the world of today. And indeed, Overloaded Ark is a gentle and expansive trip, fusing the sounds of east and west, new world and old into a new epic for all nations. Charted with grace and skill, Overloaded Ark is a human record, its passions focused under a stoic, enduring exterior." -Drag City

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