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Sol de Nit
B-91 00-SN
Clove 2000 (

cd cover On their debut recording, Catalan folk musicians Sol de Nit resolutely refuse to shout, a strategy that can easily lead to oblivion in an increasingly loud world. But if you can find a quiet niche and some time, B-91 00-SN can not only pleasantly fill it, but delight with its unusual combination of instruments: accordion, bagpipes, a flock of strings, and subtle percussion.

On the lead-off track, "Cibernètic," accordion and djembes lead into an easily rocking, common-time beat, violin and cello alternating on the melodic line whose simplicity highlights the peculiarity of the arrangement; a sort of folk-rock chamber quartet. Bagpipe and violin intro suggests a stuttery Balkan beat on "Soillarda," but soon resolve into a galloping waltz, whistles and violins playing off both Balkan and Irish pipes, the accordion backing it with a staccato pulse. There is a nice break where Jordi Vallverdú wrings a swooping, disciplined beauty from the pipes, tightly elaborated by Cati Plana's accordion. "De Nit S'Alça en Sol" is a sprightly calypso with lilting accordion on melodic lead, its light touch echoed by plucked strings. An unexpected trombone duet over dense hand percussion dominates the center of the piece, before the return of the main theme on mandolin and violin.

On "Xavier el Coixo," calm yet insistent percussion grounds violins and cellos in a haunting melody of sands and caravans. The starkness of the arrangement is impressive, the sole chording emanating from what sounds like a hurdy-gurdy. "Cercle de Tres Costats" is the long thematic heart of the recording, a nested descent and return, beginning with an inebriate accordion melody over hand claps and an eccentric walking bass, its tipsiness magnified by talking drums, transiting into a more sober beat reminiscent of "Cibernètic," and finally into a central percussion break, returning in reverse order.

B-91 00-SN is testament to the power of subtlety and beauty in music, and to the proverb that if you whisper, people will listen. - Jim Foley

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©2000 Sol de Nit, used by permission

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