The idea is not new. Since Wendy Carlos’ “Moogification” of Bach and Beethoven’s opuses(Switched on Bach/A Clockwork Orange OST) several electronic music composers have displayed their reverence to these old European or Russian composers whose portraits- hung on the walls of your Junior High’s music room- seemed to give you an austere glance whilst you were in the middle of a very personal intepretation of the theme from Beethoven’s 9th on the recorder.
Curd Duca has electronified Wagner’s grandiloquent themes, Akira Rabelais has micro-processed Erik Satie’s piano pieces, Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers have disintegrated Albinoni’s Adagio,even Depeche Mode has covered Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and I doubt your cellphone does not come with a couple of these famous themes as tinny 8 bit FM ringtones.
Nonetheless, the fact that covering Classical music pieces is nothing new in itself does not in any way detract from Makunouchi Bento’s approach’s flavour. The Romanian duo gives to eleven more or less well known pieces their signature sonic treatment. The sound is rich and ample, glitchy and at times surprising. Good suprises come when the reverence is not too overdone which gives some of the tracks a very original and appealing feel. A couple of pieces are sadly a bit more disapointing. The cover of the first Gymnopédie clashes with the overall quality of the approach on the other pieces.The echoed piano notes and the pretty annoying stream water sample is a little irritating.
This album is probably not a milestone in the (prolific) discography of Makunouchi-Bento but comforts the quality of the work of a duo which has, over the years, delivered one of the most interesting sound to the electronic music scene and has always given a visual touch to their sonic experiments. The album comes with a series of beautiful photo works from Adrian Leverkuhn and Katharine Mahali and a subtly enigmatic cover from Kaneel.