JAVI CANOVAS: Desert Dawn (2013)
“This is a lively exotic album where the percussions enchant in their roles prevailing on sequences, shaping rhythms of wild local dances”
1 Atlas 7:52
2 River Luccus 7:34
3 Thar 14:10
4 Blue Desert 5:28
5 Fez 5:53
6 Nouadibhou 12:47
(DDL 53:43) (V.F.)
Fans of a progressive EM style Berlin School or/and its derivatives have sometimes tepid ears. We like these long structures which perspire the improvisations all along rhythms unstitched by intuitive sequences which cross the ambiences of bluish ether that lead us near transitory dreams. Thus, when we learn that one of the true values wants to bring us to the borders of World Music, we have the ears which grimace. And nevertheless, we shouldn't. DESERT DAWN is an album of delicate Berber musical incantations where the tribal rhythms are swirling in the echoes of tom-toms and of their extremely tightened skins. Rhythms of silk which don't pour into techno nor brush it, giving an exotic musicality which sings through layers of synths and of their hybrid whistles to the charms of the warm Arabian nights.
Atlas invites us in the new musical fragrances of Javi Canovas with delicate arpeggios daydreaming on a rhythmic embryo livened up by an uncertain bass line and percussions Tablas. Very harmonious, the intro floats in oneiric vapors before being collided by strong percussions, struck with bedazzled hands, and by a bass line with throbbing chords. This combination structures a mesmerizing Arabian hip-hop where enchants a synth and its breaths of snake charmers. Blazing, Atlas offers a good mixture of percussions to eclectic tones which reminds me a little of Jean-Michel Jarre's rhythmic moods on his famous Egyptian night with more slamming percussions and a slightly stroboscopic structure which bites some more ethereal tribal atmospheres. River Luccus fills our ears with an almighty rhythm of West Indian folklore which swirls with exhilaration on the breaths of synth singing the charms of the Gobi Desert. This fusion of DESERT DAWN's World Music reaches its peak on River Luccus with a wild polka which sets our feet on fire, stamping on the harmonies which sing against the current. Delicious and very lively! Thar proposes then a very meditative intro with notes of a fanciful harp which roam in some musical winds carried by the heat of the deserts of Magreb. We hear well those clanic tom-toms trying to awaken the rhythm, but the dense synth layers are masking the pale rhythmic reflections. And it's bit by bit that Thar embraces the curves of a lascivious tribal dance with tom-toms more fed and notes of sitar which are flavoring a Bedouin dance wrapped in a suave heat of a synth to in melodious Arabian breaths which cannot contain the rhythmic heaviness that hugs Thar a little after its 10th minute.
Blue Desert begins the second part of Javi Canovas' incursion in the rhythms of the world with a lighter approach. Shimmering notes and Tablas percussions are ringing in harmonies, weaving a rhythm finely embroidered in intertwined filets that Arabian flutes caress of their soft tribal harmonies. I like Fez, while that initially it left me of ice. Its rhythm structure is heavy and rumbling, like on Atlas, but with an airier harmonious envelope where a piano is running there and dances of its xylophone keys under the breaths of the flutes which didn't leave the quiet ambiences of the title-track. It's quite nice and light. And the orchestrations save the day of a track that would be flat without them. Nouadibhou is what that it's closer to the territories of conventional EM with its delicate poetic intro where dusts of stars float in cosmic winds of ether. The synth layers are undulating lazily there, freeing fluty breezes on a cinematographic dune where are dragging some beatings of mislaid percussions and a chain of abrasive sequences which lose all sense of rhythm in these intense vapors of iodine. The rhythm wakes up at around the 5th minute. Arched on percussions to hollow timbres and graffiti of xylophone to tones of anvil, it swings its furtive tempo like a leg hanging in space, making sing the flutes of Babylon. This rhythm, at first sight furtive, espouses a clearly noisier tangent with an avalanche of tribal percussions which make resound their shimmering skins in a languishing approach of tribal waltz, there where are always singing these flutes charmer of snakes.
Like what one can be different and remain good! That's what comes to mind while listening to this last effort of Javi Canovas whose surprising intrusion in the Arabian spheres listens to with a disconcerting ease. Without kissing the paths of a techno to the disturbing rhythms of Turkey, DESERT DAWN is a lively exotic album where the percussions enchant in their roles prevailing on sequences, shaping rhythms of wild local dances. Synths are discreet, certainly! They weave Berber harmonies where the Arabic flutes are whipping the cosmic breezes and the dusts of dunes, creating the ideal balance for an album with the charms of the 1001 Arabian nights.
Sylvain Lupari (February 26th, 2013) *****