Nu: compilation of nu Slovak artists
Published by: Millenium Records
Available at: most music stores
READERS do not expect objectivity in music reviews. Instead, they want an informed opinion. This is a mistake. Just like other people, reviewers have tastes for certain styles of music to the disadvantage of others.
Cue the word nu. As the insert to this compilation notes, journalists use the prefix to identify a sound that is like an old style but new and reinterpreted.
When music is called "nu" anything, I am hesitant. This is for the same reason I distrust any food item whose name is purposely misspelled: The label indicates to me that the product has been doctored to the detriment of its original wholesome flavour.
But labels shouldn't be the problem of artists, and a reviewer shouldn't judge music based on the reputation of a genre, but on the way it sounds.
What enriches the flavour of the contemporary lounge music served on this album is the combination of live jazz instrumentation with relaxed electronic beats. A few other common ingredients to the presented songs are Latin rhythms, cascading keys, tinkling rows of triangles, and little sparkly noises. When such additives are overused, subtlety is sometimes lost.
Overall, the mood is one of easy listening, though there are moments where the music loses its smoothness and snags the ear. One highlight is Marcel Buntaj's falsetto voice on wentilator liptowsky as he sings scat and wordless harmonies over a mysterious mechanical rattling, piano, and a bit of a bass beat.
On chcem sa hrať (I Want to Play), Home Made Mutant lays compelling vocals and instrumentation to a downtempo beat, though over-spiced with electronic frills and sparkles.
Later on, MAT Project sets an ultra-pop foundation on cancao do loco solitario and uses it to showcase supermarket tones with the kind of twist that makes them worth listening to.
Similarly, metro garage revives elements of drum 'n' bass from the late 1990s on its songs, cuts the beat to a quarter, and overlays the result with synth keys wonky enough to sound new. I won't hazard to say whether it sounds nu.
7. Jun 2004 at 0:00 | Eric Smillie