The dZihan & Kamien Orchestra :: Live in Vienna
That technology leads us back in time is no coincidence. The idea computers will erase human tradition in a variety of endeavors - work, play, creation - is stock idealism for science fiction fantasia, barely applicable to reality. Like any human invention, they complement evolving lifestyles. In terms of computer-based music, plenty of musicians rely heavily on these instruments in the manufacturing of music. The best often arrive at an artistic meeting point where musicians fuse live instruments with digital flourishing.
When Sarajevo native Vlado dZihan and Vienna-based Mario Kamien met at music school, they would go onto to create three albums of digitally dense, bass-heavy dance and lounge floor music: Freaks & Icons, Refreaked and Gran Riserva. On all three the duo was heavily influenced by global music, especially Arabic percussion and Brazilian downtempo. Needing to up the ante - both are musicians by trade - they assembled a 20-piece orchestra to retranslate electronic works in the very city they first met. Live in Vienna proves their instinctive artistry, catapulting them from respected studio engineers to respectably innovative showmen.
Live percussion, provided by darbuka player Misirli Ahmet and percussionist Sammy Figueroa, take center stage (as on record). Kit drummer Andrew Small plays against bassist Willi Langer commendably, rounding out the low end. On higher notes, Kamien jumps on guitar and sampler while dZihan tinkles the ivory, underlying a score of violinists, as well as sax, cello, trumpet, trombone and kaval. Scratching the tech side, DJ "Mangito" Mango assumes position behind the decks, while sampled vocals randomly appear. Most warranted are lyricists, however, as Ma.Dita and özden öksüz play the role gorgeously.
Dita's duties on "Thrill" and "Drophere," the latter bouncing off öksüz, create an element of intimacy in an otherwise instrumental-heavy concert. The groove never bores, and versions of "Basmati" and "Just You & I," both club hits in their own right, translate well. The grand strings of Arabic folk swoon heavily on "Ford Transit," and Ahmet follows quickly with a heavy-handed drum solo on "Slidub." Packaged with a six-track remix disc, Live in Vienna, both concert and recording, hit you from two angles at once. When the blow is delivered, they merge effortlessly into one solid punch.