Country : Latvia Label : Mothland Genres and styles : Avant Folk / Baroque Pop / Chamber Folk / Chamber Pop / Electronic / Folktronica / Orchestral Folk / Pop Year : 2022

Elizabete Balčus – Hotel Universe

· by Luc Marchessault

From the shores of the Baltic Sea comes Elizabete Balčus, author, composer, and performer of protean songs. In Rome, Ms. Balčus studied operatic singing at an illustrious conservatory called Santa Cecilia, which once had a certain Ennio Morricone as a student. In Riga, Latvia, she studied pop and jazz at the Jāzeps Vītols School of Music. In 2011, she released Wooden Horses, an EP with a rather folk leaning. Then in 2016 Elizabete Balčus released Conarium, a lush collection with twelve original songs and a cover by CocoRosie. And here, six years later, is Hotel Universe, an album of ten disturbingly beautiful pieces. Is this auditory experience comparable to listening to a Loreena McKennitt album on LSD? Would the Celtic melodies of the Ontarian bard be adorned with the unheard percussions, the various synthetic laces, the concupiscent sax, and the Dionysian flutes of Elizabete Balčus? Still, we are dealing here with a creator that the abundant arrangements do not repel. Through songs with names that are both evocative and zany, similar to the names of works by Pedro Almodóvar or Margaret Atwood (“Until You’re Flesh Free,” “Narcissism Purgatory,” “The Skin I Live in,” “Ouroboros,” “Get Naked,” “Venus Flytrap” or, my favorite, “Asparagus or Brussels Sprouts?”), Miss Balčus makes us hear all kinds of things. She goes foraging here at Björk, there at Laurie Anderson, without ever lingering. The musicophiles who are fond of taxonomy might get a headache here, as the pieces touch various sub-genres without ever settling down: synth-pop, folktronica, chamber folk, chamber pop, electroacoustic, baroque folk, electronica, art-pop, ambient-pop, and tutti quanti. Elizabete Balčus is an elusive creator, and that is to her artistic credit.

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