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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Real Vocal String Quartet, Culture Kin

If the fourth album, Culture Kin (Hower Note Records), is any indication, the first three must be a good thing, for the fourth surely is. The music business would refer to this as a "crossover," and indeed I suppose it is, or in other words it is subject to "mixed category" consideration. It is well played string quartet music at the same time as it has modality and folk strains and it includes nicely burnished vocals as well as the string playing. The players sing, the singers play.

It is music with its very own unique sort of twists--like the Turtle Island String Quartet does things with jazz, so the Real Vocal String Quartet does things for folk and vernacular. Cajun, Irish, singer-songwriter songs, and almost anything else might pop up here in ways that are moving and "catchy" without pandering or trying to score big at the ATM. This feels quite natural, like these folks do this because that is what they feel comfortable and best with. Damned if they do not succeed very well indeed at it, too.

Some of it is quite lighthearted, some of it hold a bit more weight. It all has charm.

It is one of those albums that feels right because it is a very good idea musically and the quartet knows just how to pull it off! It is too contentful to be New Age but it also is melodically strong in ways that make for smiling and musing--and that is what New Age tries to do but sometimes fails? So get this if it strikes you that you'd want to hear it. The Real Vocal String Quartet have what it takes.

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