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Net Feature/ Slon: "Jelenka EP"

img  Tobias
“It always rains around here”, the Dire Straits once sang – where they referring to Vienna, maybe? Slon are one of the many bands growing on the fertile, but autumnally coloured instrumental rock grounds of the Austrian capital, which has already given birth to labels like Mosz and band such as Radian and Lokai. Not that one necessarily needs to draw comparisons to these projects when writing about the “Jelenka EP”.

Based around a solid core of guitar, bass, drums and embellished by cello and electronics, this fourpiece has definitely developed a vocabulary of its own. Their sombre guitarstring-themes and recursive harmonies are stilly pointed in the direction of post-whatever, but their lyrical poetry and brittle structures are both different from the harsher edges of the genre as well as from its mathematically founded art-jazz experiments: Slon are not giving up on vocals for philosophical or fundamental reasons, but because their gently expressive acoustic pencil drawings simply do not need any.

And yet, “Jelenka” is by no means a collection of songs without words. Simplicity and ambition do go hand in hand on these tracks, which range from short, concrete episodes like the chambermusical opener “Stillleben” to the cinematic and ephemeral Ambient noctune “Um leere Räume zu füllen”, which opens with a solitary Piano drifting over a bed of humble pulsations and changes into a lugubrious lullaby half-way.

The title track, with its air of molten melancholy, as well as “The Negroni Massacre”, with its aggressive and effervescent attacks of powerchord punk, are bent more towards rock than experimentalism, but their either whispered or hollered echoes reverberate harmonically with the rest of the material. The band is capable of touching upon different genres in a completely relaxed and honest way, finding a common ground between various styles by using an emotional compass.

A full-length album by this fourpiece would be nice, yes, but it has to be said that the compact format of an EP suits their intensely quiet sound extremely well. Like a short poem, it feeds from associations rather than clear-cut precision and constantly comes close to disappearing completely. Slon are tightrope artists with an inutitive timing, which keeps their breakable compositions alive – extending them beyond their natrual dimensions would risk tearing them apart.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: 12 Recordings
Homepage: Slon at MySpace

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