Non Credo - Happy Wretched


pid.2844118471 11/1/95 New

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Review Text Non Credo is the Los Angeles based duo of multi-instrumentalists Joseph Berardi and Kira Vollman. She's a singer, he's a drummer, but their musical palette extends well beyond the scope of their primary instruments. Clarinets, marimbas, accordions, cellos, broken down keyboards, cheap electronics, altered children's toys and anything else that falls into their path are utilized. Nothing is sacred, nothing is wasted. Layering sounds and textures, they create enchanting songs and evocative moods in the seclusion of their studio, Zauberklang. Kira's voice displays a remarkable range, both tonally and emotionally, and their musical landscape is equally far-reaching. From gothic thriller to film noir haze to disturbed fairy tale, their audience is led on a journey with many detours and dark alleys along the way. Colorful characters inhabit their world, telling tales of the mundane elements of everyday life...greed, lust, hatred, crippling fear. You are never sure where this journey will lead, but be prepared to get seasick, beaten up, thrown in jail, fall in love, contract an STD, have your heart broken, your wallet stolen, get shanghaied, hog tied and crucified. Non Credo's debut LP, "Reluctant Hosts", was released in 1988 by No Man's Land, the German affiliate of Recommended Records, and re-released on CD in 2000. In 1995 they released "Happy Wretched Family" on the noted Canadian label, Les Disques Victo. They have also appeared on several CD compilations in Europe and the USA, and have composed music for film, radio, dance and performance pieces. Their powerful live performances, which mix song with improvisation, have been presented in galleries, theatres, museums and rock clubs, and they have played New Music festivals in USA, Canada (Musique Actuelle) and Europe. Non Credo's influences are wide and varied. They draw from all styles and eras of music, from contemporary experimental forms to Saturday morning cartoons to film scores to pygmy war chants. But they can be equally excited by a page from Edward Gorey, a B movie full of smoke and fog, a twisted Bruegel landscape or an overheard conversation in a late-night diner. Improvisation can act as a springboard for their compositions, but they always pay close attention to their keen sense of structure. Their improvs usually take the form of "instant compositions", rather than freeform ramblings. ............... HAPPY WRETCHED FAMILY: Superb, simply superb, but also disorienting and disquieting: that's Happy Wretched Family, Non Credo's second album, seven years after Reluctant Hosts. The avant-pop format found on the first LP has evolved into twisted shards of pop intermingled with improvisation and experimentation. The voice of Kira Vollman remains the center of attention. The first track, 'Sporco Mutande,' is sung a cappella and illustrates her very wide operatic range. Her vocal palette lies somewhere between Fatima Miranda and Diamanda Galas. Arrangements are polyphonic and complex, and include keyboards, drums, percussion, clarinet, cello, and tapes. Vollman and partner Joseph Berardi handle all instruments, with Bernard Sauser-Hall playing extra keyboards on three tracks. Every piece is a little gem that has been polished for three years. The numerous overdubs give the impression of being in the presence of a ten-piece ensemble -- there is a lot happening. They reach peaks on 'Curious Couplings' (haunting melody), the strange half-awake dream 'Piano Urine,' and 'Miliza Three Flights Down' (with improvised nonsense vocals where Vollman turns into a female version of Phil Minton). Compared to Reluctant Hosts, Happy Wretched Family is the work of fully matured artists of exquisite originality. As deranged and avant-gardist as these songs are, given the chance, they will leave their mark in the listener's mind - if your voice is flexible enough, you might even sing them in the shower. All Music Guide EXPERT REVIEW -- François Couture ............... 33 rebellions per minut

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