Sotos: Platypus (2002)
They’ve been in existence and actively performing since the late 90s, as this release represents the follow up to their well-received self-titled debut. Hence, the press and others have compared this outfit to some of the more prolific “RIO” (Rock in Opposition) groups such as “Univers Zero,” and “Present,” among other icons such as “King Crimson.”
During the seven parts that comprise the first piece titled “Malstrom,” the quintet embarks upon a trail consisting of quaint, avant-chamber type episodes and thrashing progressive rock movements. They dabble with some free improvisation to coincide with moments of intricately enacted and generally affecting themes. Guitarist Yan Hazera employs distortion and sustain techniques amid Nicolas Cazaux (violin) and Nadia Leclerc’s (cello) often cagily executed contemporary classical and jazz based motifs. With the twenty-seven minute opus “”Wu,” the group engages in rhythmically inclined unison choruses and free form jams. However, the first eight minutes or so signifies little more than an accumulation of uninteresting developments or something akin to patchwork style tinkering. On the other hand, this group proposes an offshoot or minor extension to the path well traveled. As the artists’ provide an air of intrigue largely due to their cleverly articulated cross-genre approach, despite a few lulls in the festivities.
Track Listing: Malstrom
Personnel: Nicolas Cazaux: violin