| Artist: Corvus Corax|
CD Title: Best of Corvus Corax
Label: Noir Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Blending dance and electronic production elements with medieval/renaissance music born of authentic handcrafted traditional instruments, Germany's Corvus Corax (Latin for "The Raven") create an enchanting concoction of the past and the present on their newly released "best of" compilation. Spanning a decade, Best of Corvus Corax includes 13 audio tracks and a bonus CD-ROM video track taken from the band's Gaudia Vite Live DVD.
Most of the material here focuses on bagpipes and layered percussion enhanced by a slew of other instruments and occasional vocals, the most obvious exception being the predominantly string and flute based "palästinalied". Every song here boasts excellent production and spectacular musicianship, from the electronic-tinged studio tracks to the impressive live acoustic performances that round out the set. Standouts include the echoing background accents and exceptional danceable layered percussion of the breathtaking "filii neidhardi" and the steady, thunderous, industrial-esque percussion and bass, choral chants, and snaking bagpipe melody of "mille anni passi sunt". Dead Can Dance fans may also recognize the traditional "Saltarello", although Corvus Corax's version is a raucous up-tempo live rendition with an impressive level of audience participation.
Highly recommended for lovers of modernized traditional medieval/renaissance music, Best of Corvus Corax is a terrific compilation that combines the powerful and melodic, the past and the present, into a remarkably cohesive set that's undeniably impressive. It's a primal, intuitive, and danceable yet deep and richly textured work that serves as both an introduction to the band and a spectacular album in its own right.
Corvus Corax website: www.corvuscorax.de
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