The fourth album from this eclectic Belgium instrumental collective finds Aranis furthering its spooky, anxious sound with the introduction of percussion to complement the primary instruments of violin, flute, accordion, bass and viola. Aranis makes threatening music that cuts to the darker corners of your soul. I've listened to Roqueforte several times and still can't seem to come up with a better description than what's offered on the group's website:
The music is filled with contrasts and opposing themes. It's dark and light at the same time. It's beautiful and nasty, simple and complex. It has a personality of its own and nevertheless you can hear the influences from a multitude of different genres and styles. Never heard before, and yet recognizable.
Songs flow into one another while adhering to a mysterious Middle-Eastern template. "Roque," well, rocks as it reaches its finale, and four sections of the quietly enchanting "Ade" are spread throughout the disc — separated by airy, upbeat pieces ("Past," with unexpected dashes of peppy piano) and somber, emotive ones ("Noise," not to be confused with the more expansive "Naise"). Then there's the accordion-heavy "Tissim."
The album's over-reliance on strings does make Roqueforte start to sound redundant over the course of 58 minutes. But if you let it, this can be a fresh and rewarding experience for serious listeners.
2) Ade I
4) Ade II
6) Ade III
8) Ade IV