"Lithuanian's work stands on the edge of being a masochistic pleasureOne of the many fascinating things about art is that any piece can be deconstructed and given a new life by means of interpretation and, if one were to create something that draws attention to a previous work, reinterpretation. To
a great extent, there is no originality and perhaps this is what makes the arts a bottomless fountain of imagination, for where the tiniest trigger exists, the possibilities are innumerable. When it comes to music, I tend to believe it has a more powerful ability to transport one to another realm, for it does not employ any visual acuity; the only visible images are the ones born in our mind's eye. And yet, sometimes artists decide to take the liberty of imagination away from the audience by offering a product so complete that no additions or subtractions can be made, and this is true in the case of Lithuanian Martin Rach, who with the aid of His Imaginary Band put together Year of the Goat.
The album as a whole is one of defects, but it is these deficiencies where the beauty of it lies. Difficult to sit through, Year of the Goat is draining because of its half organic, half electronic quality, like a weird robot in human skin that we take for a friend but is there to destroy us. The eight tracks present a melange of jazz instruments, interrupted by various schizophrenic noise/loops/electronica that conjure cracks in an otherwise perfect painting. Although Rach acknowledges that it is indeed the cracks, the imperfections that make something individual, his take on creating the sound one hears while listening to their teeth being drilled into on the dentist chair could not possibly tickle everybody's taste buds. Therefore, a subjective interpretation might suggest that the Lithuanian's work stands on the edge of being a masochistic pleasure, rather than a thoroughly enjoyable experience.Rach's 'jazz, interrupted', appears to be talking about the intrusion of artificiality in our lives and the numbing effect it has. The tracks have light interludes where all we can hear is the organic, but the breaks are short and do not let us catch our breath, like a sudden beat skipped amidst an adrenaline rush. The album is a celebration of sound and senses, a tribute paid both to free jazz and experimental music, but much in detriment to those who expected something lighter, more logical and that allows to fill in some gaps. Year of the Goat has no such gaps, and the approach to it is not to listen, but to think about the meaning of its construction, to delve deeper into the pleasures of analyzing rather being entertained; that is the only way the listener will not forget about this album the day after she has listened to it.The artist's tight compositions keep the audience between strong, possessive boundaries. Even though not cohesive as a whole, for the tracks follow different patterns, the album maintains the feel of a firm grip throughout. What one might hear in “Horns of Dionysus” is also recognizable in “Ballad for Typhon,” only that the inconsistent passages are inserted differently so that a feeling of confusion and, to some extent, even despair is created.Throughout, Year of the Goat is definitely an interesting piece to give a few spins to, but the more one listens to it and gets accustomed to its gimmicks, the more its maybe intended effect wears out. After a few listens, the listener may find herself starting to block out the noise and idiosyncrasies and become immersed in the jazz, in all that sounds a bit more familiar and calculated and that allows one to create something without being violently forbidden the access to imagination. An affair that, overall, defeats the aim of the album."-Diana Sitaru (of thesilentballet)
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