Exposé Online banner

Dialeto — Bartók in Rock
(Chromatic CMCD 001, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-29

Bartók in Rock Cover art

One only has to listen to a piece like “Mikrokosmos 113: Bulgarian Rhythm (I)” to realize that Béla Bartók has a direct relation to avant-progressive rock. (You can find a great arrangement for guitar here, and any number of piano renditions as well.) This little piano piece is clearly related to any number of tracks from King Crimson to Univers Zero and Present, and on Bartók in Rock, Brazilians Dialeto take the natural step of actually arranging it for a rock band. The result is the highlight of the album, and features violinist David Cross along with Nelson Coelho (guitar), Gabriel Costa (bass), and Fred Barley (drums), ripping it up with an aggressive rhythm in various meters. The original generally runs a little over a minute to perform, but they’ve expanded it into 4:21 of instrumental progressive rock, sharing the melody around between the violin and guitar, dividing the backing motif between different players at varying times, and using a variation of that riff to back improvised solos. Cross’s work is outstanding, his solo wild and totally appropriate for the rhythmic and tonal setting. Coelho, for his solo, takes a somewhat different tack, with longer notes mangled by effects. I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a let-down that the other nine tracks don’t feature Cross — more of his great playing would have enhanced the result greatly. Not that Coelho and company are slouches, mind you, but the violin would have provided a welcome change of pace from time to time from all the guitars. I say “guitars” because many of the tracks do involve overdubbed parts to fill out the sound, either providing a rhythmic backing or doubling a melody with a different tone. One more of the “Mikrokosmos” exercises is present, and six of the tracks comprise the “Six Romanian Folk Dances” suite composed in 1915, and they’re arranged in a variety of ways, sometimes resembling rocked-up English or Irish folk dances, sometimes more atmospheric. There are two selections from the “For Children” collection of simple piano pieces (1909), and while neither has the impact of “Mikrokosmos 113,” both “An Evening in the Village” and “The Young Bride” are well done, expanding Bartók’s sketches into full-fledged pieces that can stand on their own. Given the vast wealth of compositions the composer left us, this collection is just a taste of what can be done with such great source material. Even within the “Mikrokosmos” set, there are many that would work well in rock arrangements. For a fan of Bartók who is not averse to electric instruments, Dialeto’s album should work well, and for a progressive rock fan, it stands as just good music, and one of the best adaptations of a composer's music out there.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): David Cross, Dialeto

More info
http://dialeto.bandcamp.com/album/bart-k-in-rock

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Leo Küpper - Electro-Acoustic – You have to admit, with a title as academic sounding as this, one would not be unjustified in expecting a musical experience on the equivalent stimulation level of a botany lecture. That "new music"...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues