Even before the virtuoso violinist/composer Wouter Vandenabeele had his master degree he had already established this chamber-music band balancing between folk, classical and world music. Olla Vogola continued to exist and changed its shape with time.
For this new album, Wouter made a concept around a fish called Marcel, (as a figure chosen with some humour, while it is also a very serious occasion to associate experiences), which for me also sounds like a metaphor for the band's interesting mobility which, just like the mysterious life's evolution which scientists believe was almost inevitable to take this form and evolutions, as they still believe, to ever more complex forms, -if this really is the case with man's consuming and pollutions-, anyhow this is without knowing what step will come next. The World Music references are gone, but the band is pretty much is a "Belgian" band now, which means that the chosen poetry, which hangs together with the theme of the unsure fish who does not know what would come next in the unknown waters, are either French or Flemish/Dutch. The uncertainty of the conditions for the fish, is not the approach of the music, band or composer. The orchestrations hang very well together, and holds the middle between classical educated compositional techniques, jazz, and perhaps rock and tango, and an element of songwriting. Strings and brass, slide-guitar and accordion all bring in their own character and ideas (brass and strings are mostly very cooperative). The female vocalist (Soetkin Baptist) sounds very classical, slightly old music/operatic (with somewhere some vocal experiments) or fado-like, while the song by Ludo Vandeau sounds more like singer-songwriter styled.
Maybe magazines and radio will have once more difficulties to categorize this, while it is this kind of nu-chamber music that is much more original, qualitative and interesting than what fits so perfect within the defining of traditionalised styles.
Gerald Van Waes - progressive.homestead.com