Aranos, "Live in Galway"

Two things are immediately important about this release. The first is that it is limited to only 99 copies and simultaneously serves as an excellent introduction to the breadth and depth of Petr Vastl's work as Aranos. The second is that, aside from an episode of the Eye, this is the only official video document of Aranos in existence and it's proof of his abilities as both a captivating performer and consumate musician.


Music from several points in Aranos' career is covered by this disc, reaching as far back as 1999's Making Love in Small Spaces and moving forward to music from Tango Mango. In the spanning of his solo musical career, Aranos exhibits all of his musical tendencies. His gypsy-like pop sensibilities are showcased next to his more experimental uses of gongs and digital noise. The shifts in style and pace highlight a perhaps underappreciated facet of Aranos ouvre, namely that is constant creative impulse makes for some deliciously diverse music. He may favor his violin, but no two albums have ever sounded the same and no two albums have ever relied on any formula to keep themselves moving along. Aranos is fundamentally unpredictable.

Photographer and film-maker Karin Wimmer keeps everything relatively simple, filming Aranos from a raised position and favoring his performance over the video made by Chris Wallis and projected onto a white sheet hanging above the stage. While the video may have been easier to see at the venue, the DVD doesn't do it much justice. Often times, when it seems as though all eyes should be on that projection, it's difficult to discern what is going on and so we're left with a rather still Aranos creating his unique brand of haunted drone and noise.

It would be excellent if Aranos could find a band that would keep up with his off-kilter songwriting and haphazard imagination, but because that's a difficult enough proposition, he has to rely on pre-recorded material to fill in behind him. At times it makes for better listening than watching, but at other times Aranos is funny and hypnotic simply because his musical performance is so magical. When he breaks out his flute on "A Day Shot," there's little chance of thinking his performance to be anything other than meditative. All things considered, the DVD succeeds the most because of Aranos' music and his intense style of music. While the DVD could have failed because of the lack of any real action on stage, Aranos' voice, playing, and sense of humor keep the entire package in tact. There are probably far less than 99 copies available by now, so if an introduction to Aranos is what is needed to open up his world, I'd highly reccomend this DVD. It's a great starting point for discovering the career of one of the world's most peculiar and individual musicians.