FREDO VIOLA: The Sad Song EP (Because Music)


Posted on Jan 7th 2008 12:26 am

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Fredo Viola: The Sad Song EP

The Sad Song
Because Music 2008
04 Tracks. 16mins23secs / 02 Tracks. 15mins36secs
Format: Digital, 10″ / 12″

Fredo Viola was born in London where he spent the first few years of his life before his parents moved to Rome and then New York and Los Angeles where he spent most of his formative years. He studied to become a film director, but music took him on a different path. Strong from a recent collaboration with Massive Attack, Viola follows a couple of MP3 releases with his debut EP, The Sad Song EP, on French imprint Because Music.

The Sad Song EP features three of Viola’s delicately crafted songs, showcasing quite a wide range of styles, starting with the elegant vocal layering and melody of the title track, with only discreet electronic textures added in the background. Found somewhere between Simon & Garfunkel and Animal Collective, The Sad Song swirls and develops from just a few vocal swathes into a dense ethereal construction. The piece’s melancholic tone is further highlighted toward the end with a wash of bleeps which draw in for a moment as the melody ebbs away. Hogwash, the second song, is a much more upbeat and playful offering. While poorer in vocal substance than its predecessor, the song captivates by Viola’s constant twists and turns, driving it from a fast paced intro to a much more subtle middle section to an even more energetic last part. Ether shows a much darker and demanding side to Fredo Viola’s work. The melody is much more complex and, at times difficult to pinpoint with precision, and the arrangements are at times manic, making it a slight oddity here, but one that curiously works and gives an insight into what a more extensive release could harbour to. The EP comes with a stunning remix of The Sad Song by folksters Tunng, who give the song a more acoustic feel by replacing much of the electronic textures with guitars, only retaining the gentle bleeps of the original but echoing them with their own instrumentation. Once again the voice is placed at the heart of the piece and

The 12″ offers two additional reworkings of The Sad Song. The first one, courtesy of German producer Roland Appel, whose recent release as Dark Soldier has gathered a fair amount of attention, is a slick and graceful exercise which uses Viola’s vocals as the basis for a rather splendid deep house piece. The driving beat and additional keyboard brushes only serve to unleash the most outgoing nature of Viola’s original and turns it into a superb dance floor filler. In contrast, the Norwegian Prins Thomas creates a brooding piece of electro which never veers much from its original path, yet manages to remain captivating all the way through. Thomas’s mid-tempo approach sticks to Viola’s original and allows Thomas to create a superb atmospheric version of the song.

Fredo Viola’s three tracks all showcase a very different side to his musical persona, but somehow, they all have a strong bond and have a definite personality, which has been captured in various ways by the three remixers, all adding to Viola’s sonic universe without disturbing it greatly. If this EP is anything to go by, Fredo Viola’s debut album, due out later in the spring, could prove a stunning offering.


Icon: arrow Fredo Viola | Because Music

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