At this time of year, it would not be unusual to find a Christmas album or two being presented for review and, indeed, “Colinde Netemperate” by Avant’n’Gard was presented as such in the minimalist press release that accompanied it. Based on Romanian carols, it said, and how would I know better with my non-existent command of Romanian?
Fortunately, this isn’t the kind of album that needs any kind of formal introduction. Initial impressions were of some straightforward ambient experimentation until the second song, “M‐a mânat maica la capre”, turned things strangely spiritual and the enchantment powering these songs suddenly became evident.
There is also a narration so there is a story being told and it is undoubtedly a dark one as fairy tales, whether festive or not, inevitably are but the recurring beauty and naturalness of Maria Balabaș’s voice made said story seem inspirational rather than cautionary and, despite the casual pacing and the no doubt intentional discord introduced by the mix of organic and synthetic sounds, it was likewise inevitable that I should be drawn inside the music.
Beauty does not require language to be understood and I did not understand a word within the walls of “Colinde Netemperate” yet I just knew that it was simply beautiful.
The album is available from Bandcamp amongst other places.