Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sleutelbos - Hang 'Em High

Hear The Track Here

It's ok, you can stop donning the poncho, false bristles and much chomped cigar butt, this has nothing whatsoever to do with spaghetti westerns in general or the fil of the same name scored by the great Ennio Morricone. In fact, this Hang 'em High is about as far removed from the noisy violence of those movies as you can get, consisting entirely - as it does - of chamber music. Yep, the land of penguin suits, ladies weighed down by tons of tom foolery (think about it) and dead white dudes. As always with classical rooted tracks, the one thing I am going to demand as a listener is that most important attribute fidelity.

Not, of course, the married kind.

See, I actually do like a great deal of classical music, up to and including larges chunks of chamber music although if I had to state a preference I would far rather hear music like this live - because of the fidelity thing. It's very difficult to record these kinds of instruments, especially when it's the tone and timbre that often makes all the difference in a live context. Seeing as ol' Sleuty lives in the Netherlands, hearing this peice live would be difficult but he surmounts the very first obstacle very neatly because the sounds of the instruments are captured very adequately. As usual, there is the usual dither about whether these actually are live sounds or samples that have been touched up. Whichever it is, I can't see any loose seams to pick at.

As you know, I'm quite good at that.

Sleutelbos also puts a neat little slant on the usual chamber music we know and love and part of that is down to instrument selection. In point of fact, not only is Hang 'em High very short (one and a half minutes) it's a bit sparse instrumentally too. featuring an excellently rendered cello for the low Chamber music parts and what sounds like a recorder giving this a distinct 16th century feel that makes this track work for me. Just to clarify, here in the UK we have an instrument that is taught in schools called a recorder. It sounds a little like a deeper toned flute but plays like a clarinet and it is indeed what they used to play with in the 16th Century. So as short as this track is, it's well up there in terms of production/performance technique amd - more importantly - authenticity.

Highly Recommended classical style, with a neat slant.

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