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KAT VIPERS – Mother Superior (Py Records)

Posted: February 21st, 2006, by Dave Stockwell

Yeesh; bit of a weird one this one. The prodigiously talented Ms Vipers wrote, arranged, performed and produced this 6-song, 3-track, 26-ish minute “single”, which calls to mind Kate Bush, This Mortal Coil, opera singers, prog rock and god knows what else. Primarily driven by pianos and a gusty set of lungs, this release is guaranteed to sound out of kilter with pretty much everything else musical you would encounter in an average day.

Kat Vipers comes from Greece, and (inevitably enough) is very much classically trained. Trained enough to tire of just doing all that classical crap and start experimenting with songs herself, apparently throwing in “alternative rock”-influenced catchy bits (I think I must have missed those) and “jazz”y flourishes in something of an over-rich cavalcade of music inspired by many sources. The resulting mixture is certainly thick and voluminous. The tracks on the CD range from seven to eleven minutes long, each incorporating two distinct movements. The longest, closing track is one long overblown epic which goes all over the place like some never-ending story of a song. Her music is very difficult to do justice to in print – I suggest visiting her website and sampling some music for yourself if you’re thus far intrigued.

This said; I’d better make some effort to give you an idea of what you should expect though. Consider some key elements: First of all there’s Ms Vipers’ incredibly surreal, warbling voice, coming on a little like a husky Kate Bush with an extended vocal range. There’s a hell of a lot of pseudo-classical and Tori Amos-inspired piano. Ghostly wailing background vocals pop in and out, even predominating from time to time. The first song has an annoying bunch of wind chimes, and the last song has a drum kit popping up here and there to complement and emphasise sections. Oh, and don’t forget a bunch of synthesised strings popping up every so often to punctuate and unctuate with abandon. The construction of the music itself is certainly hard to pin down – there’s little pop-conventional repetition of phrases or melody, and there’s a lot of meandering minimalism and soaring vocals.

Mix together these ingredients and see what comes out: self-indulgent prog nonsense or refreshingly ambitious idiosyncratic music? Whatever your initial reaction, you’ll certainly need a few listens to digest and process such a rich soup fully. You should probably decide whether you want to risk indigestion for yourself.



Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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