RAIN
A Dream Unthreatened

[Rain Cloud, www.rain-cloud.net]

LIO
1980 - 2005: 25 Years in Pop - Pop Songs & Ballades

[ZE Records, www.zerecords.com]


For years, French scene has been ripe with pop artists of the highest calibre.
Rain is a trio that simply attack the pop format with a whimper, rather than a full-on blast. Nothing is loud on their fourth album "A Dream Unthreatened". Sounds come in gulps and bits. This is moody pop music that falls all over the map. There are certain folk elements but the most flavourful ingredient is that of electronica. Subtle samples and soothing synths gently permeate the songs. There's never anything obtrusive happening that makes you stop and say - 'how the hell did that end up on this song?' The music is dreary and sounds somewhat tired. A sense of gloom is apparent on a few of the tracks. The vocalist has the chords of someone who is truly tired and disillusioned. He evokes his words with great care, going at a turtle's pace. As the record winds down, I'm left with an unanswered question - would this sound better if it'd been sung in French?

Lio was [and still is!] a French chanteuse [and an actress] that burned on screen as well as on stage. Her real name is Wanda de Vasconcelos [Portugese descent never stopped her from making a career in France]. During the 80's and 90's, she released a slew of dance records that mostly sold in Europe, though outside [places like Canada and Japan] she had millions of followers as well. Many of her old records have been out of print and this is where ZE Records comes to the rescue. To celebrate Lio's quarter century in the show biz, they're reissuing her back-catalogue [along with a fat box set that will include a DVD]. If that weren't enough, ZE Records has also issued her greatest hits collection "1980 - 2005: 25 Years in Pop - Pop Songs & Ballades". This serves as a rather compact and easy to carry bite-size morsel of her life long career. At the beginning, her voice was that of a waif. Check out the tweeky, cute-as-a-button pop sounds of "Suite Sixtine". Later on in her career, she developed a confident voice that was equally as sweet. Her racy version of "La Bamba" has as much punch and power as the one that propelled Los Lobos to superstardom in the mid 80's. "The Girl from Ipanema" gets a straight from heaven, luscious disco treatment. Her take on the ballads is as lovely as the pop songs.
Listening to these ballads, I'm struck at the strength and the vulnerability she exposes. She must have been barely a teenager when she recorded some of these tracks. Did she really know anything about love, despair, loneliness or how fucked up the recording industry is and how it rapes its own? Other than the politics of it all, the music is pure pop, infused with strings and some keyboards. Listen as she softly whimpers on "Je M'ennuie De Toi". She's giving Viagra a run for its money. All of this music is easy to digest and pleasant on the stomach. As with anything in life, the only danger here is an overkill you may get from all the sugar.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Muzyka z Drogi - Pieśni z Polski, Ukrainy i Rosji
+ Werchowyna - Pieśni święte i Grzeszne
+ Ethno Trio Troitsa - Żurawy
+ Odpust Zupełny - Renesans średniowiecza
+ Pop Ambient 2006
+ Antonelli - The Black Quintet
+ Boxer Compilation
+ Susanne Brokesch - Emerald Stars
+ Boards Of Canada - The Campfire Headphone
+ Compilation 01
+ Dakar & Grinser - Triumph Of Flesh
+ Duplex - Late Night Driving
+ Electric President - s/t
+ Expression - DJ Mix Series Vol.1: Compiled And Mixed By Jesper Dahlback
+ B.Fleischmann - The Humbucking Coil
+ John Foxx - Cathedral Oceans III
+ Francisco - Music Business
+ Freude-Am-Tanzen Showcase: DJ Koze - Light Spuba / Onur Ozer - Freak Disko / Mark Henning - Yeah But No But
+ Gadgets - Key Moments
+ North Quartet - Malamute
+ Satanicpornocultshop - Orochi under the Straight Edge Leaves
+ Shalabi Effect - Pink Abyss
+ Makoto Kawabata - Your Voice from the Moon
+ Impression Sampler Series - Vol. 1
+ Judith Juillerat - Soliloquy
+ Musik Krause Showcase: Robag Wruhme - Wortkabular Rmxs / Ian Simmonds - International Songs / Krause Duo - Remmi Demmi
+ Nation 12. - Electrofear
+ Optic Nerve - Metal Images
+ The Orb - Orbsessions Vol. 1
+ c/o pop
+ Quio - Like Oooh!
+ Random Noise Generation - Reign
+ Angie Reed - XYZ Frequency
+ +minus - L'écoute libéré
+ I treni inerti - Aerea
+ Marcus Schmickler/John Tilbury - Variety
+ Tisha Mukarji - D is for Din
+ Barry Weisblat/Alfredo Costa Monteiro/Ernesto Rodrigues - Diafon
+ Birgit Ulher/Gino Robair - Sputter
+ Cyril Epinat/Mathias Forge/Jérôme Bertholon - Duo...
+ Larry Tee feat. Princess Julia - The Noughties
+ Andi Teichmann - Fades
+ The Vandermark 5 - Alchemia / The Vandermark 5 - koncert w Scenie Na Piętrze / Ken Vandermark feat. Marcin Oleś i Bartłomiej Brat Oleś - Ideas
+ Toktok Records Showcase
+ Transit Kings - Token
+ Tresor 13 - It`s Not Over

- - - - - - - - -

+ THE TIPTONS - Tsunami / DEREK BAILEY / AMY DENIO / DENNIS PALMER - The Gospel Record: The Reference Edition
+ THE DRONES - Wait long by the river and the bodies of your enemies will float by
+ JUDITH JUILLERAT - Soliloquy
+ DEAF CENTER - Pale Ravine
>> RAIN - A Dream Unthreatened / LIO - 1980 - 2005: 25 Years in Pop - Pop Songs & Ballades
+ FRODE GJERSTAD / NICK STEPHENS - North Atlantic Drift / FAST COLOUR - Antwerp 1988: Suite for Johnny Mbizo Dyani / FRODE GJERSTAD / LOUIS MOHOLO / HASSE POULSEN / NICK STEPHENS - Calling Signals
+ STATIC - Re: Talking About Memories
+ HARALD SACK ZIEGLER - Punkt
+ PETER REHBERG - Fremdkoerper
+ TROUM - Tjukurrpa (Part Three: Rhythms and Pulsations)
+ CALIKA - Small Talk Kills Me / LIBRARY TAPES - Alone in the Bright Lights of a Shattered Life
+ LVXUS - Cloudland / LAWRENCE ENGLISH - Happiness Will Befall / GAUDI:TESTA - 1105 / KEMIALLISET YSTÄVÄT - Lumottu Karkkipurkki (Vapaa Systeemi) / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Freq_Out 2
+ ÖLVIS - The Blue Sound
+ YUMA NORA - Jewels in the Snakepit / ROBEDOOR - Grendel Glare
+ WHIP - Atheist Lovesongs to God
+ V.A. - Sonar Kollektiv 4 / V.A. - Secret Love 2 - Compiled by Jazzanova and Resoul / V.A. - Voices In The Wilderness: Dissenting Soundscapes and Songs of G.W.'s ; America / V.A. - Gospel for J.F.P. III - Tribute to Jaco Pastorius / V.A. - No Depression / V.A. - FPLCVL Sampler # 001
+ CHAOS BUTTERFLY - Three Living Things / JONATHAN SEGEL - Edgy Not Antsy
+ LOKAI - 7 Million
+ PAAVOHARJU - Yhä hämärää
+ THEO JORGENSMANN - Fellowship
+ MAX NAGL ENSEMBLE - Quartier Du Faisan
+ YANNIS KYRIAKIDES - The Buffer Zone
+ FAT FREDDY'S DROP - Based on a True Story
+ PUSH THE TRIANGLE - Cos La Machina 1 / NEW AMERICAN WING - New American Wing / EARL HOWARD - Five Saxophone Solos / JOE ROSENBERG - The Long & Short Of It
+ DAVID 'FATHEAD' NEWMAN - I Remember Brother Ray / CURTIS FULLER - Keep It Simple / ENRICO RAVA - Tati / DAVID MURRAY 4TET & STRINGS - Waltz Again
+ COLOMA - Dovetail
+ THE ROYAL WE - The Royal We / URLAUB IN POLEN - White Spot / E:GUM - Keyboard Lies / ROMAN - So Ghost? / MAURACHER - Kissing My Grandma
+ MANDARIN MOVIE - Mandarin Movie / PARK ATTACK - Last Drop At Hideout / FUCK-OFF MACHETE - If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold / THE ETERNALS - Rawar Style

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Mick Harris - wywiad
+ WEF 2005: Andrij Kiryczenko w Zachęcie