Exposé Online banner

Iva Bittová — Ne Nehledej
(Ariola 74321 24858 2, 1994, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1996-03-01

Ne Nehledej Cover artIva is a Czech violinist/vocalist who worked with drummer Pavel Fajt on two stupendous albums (Bittova & Fajt and Svatba) before going it alone. This is her third solo work. (Caution: on her first two, there is about a 50% overlap in material between them, as there is with the two duet albums). It is ludicrous to me why she isn't more famous, especially among the crowd who follow the chamber-rock contingent: Univers Zero and all the other music descended from Eastern European composers like Bartok. I've never heard anyone make use of odd meters so gracefully and effortlessly. Surely Iva's cultural background (she is one-half Moravian, one-half Slovakian) plays a part in bringing Balkan folkloric elements to her playing. But I'm no ethnomusicologist. The way she so tastefully blends these elements with extended vocal techniques and dark, sometimes macabre lyrical imagery is absolutely breathtaking to hear. The absence of a backing band is a virtue, allowing every vocal nuance, and all the rich timbres of her sonorous violin to sparkle brilliantly. Bass and guitar would certainly obscure most of this. Besides, Iva's persona is so intense, there isn't much sonic space leftover. Ne Nehledej finds her in a somewhat more becalmed mood: the violin's presence is downplayed, while ethnic instruments, piano, and Pavel's guest drumming have crept into the mix. Furthermore she is experimenting with some ethereal textures and repetitious forms. Though I prefer her earlier, more impassioned work, I realize she has to go somewhere from there. All of her music is essential listening.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Iva Bittová

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

G.P. Hall - Marks on the Air – This recording serves two masters. First, it presents soundscape artist G.P. Hall live on stage, and secondly, it demonstrates the binaural recording process. Binaural recording places two small...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues