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MP3 Troy Banarzi - Euphonika

A creepy mélange of circus music and fairground sounds, minimalism and nostalgia for a time that never was. Sex dolls, talking statues, religious icons, dolls, Victorian fairgrounds and childhood, inspire this haunting music with a gothic sensibility.

8 MP3 Songs in this album (33:19) !
Related styles: Classical: Contemporary, Avant Garde: Experimental, Mood: Quirky

People who are interested in Danny Elfman Philip Glass Yann Teirson should consider this download.

This is the soundtrack from the legendary Hoxton Hall sound and vision performances, exploring the urge across cultures and religions to blur the distinctions between the animate and the inanimate.

Dolls, fantasies, fairgrounds, childhood obsessions and those of a darker and more unsettling nature are the inspirations behind this multi-layered, evocative, funny/strange soundscape. Sex dolls, miracles, talking statues, freaks, fetishism and testimonies from real agalmatophiliacs are accompanied by twisted music hall melodies and the music of memory.

Euphonika considers the ‘living statue’ as an historical cultural phenomenon, and looks at the varied attitudes held about believers - from the socially derogated to the spiritually exalted, from Hans Bellmer to Dennis Nilsen to the hight priests of Hinduism…

Sound on Sound CD (Sam Inglis):
Euphonika might well have been CD of the Month, but for the fact that Troy Banarzi already has an Arts Council grant to fund its production. There''s a lot of inverse snobbery and Philistinism around subsidised art, and a tendency to dismiss projects like Euphonika as pretentious or difficult. All I can say is that if you do so, you''re missing a treat.

The CD originated as the soundtrack to a "quasi-theatrical sound and vision performance", yet, unlike much ''soundtrack'' music, it feels perfectly complete even without the visual or dramatic elements. There''s a folk influence and a fairy-tale quality to Banarzi''s style of composition; often dark, yet always accessible, it expertly balances a string quartet against other instruments more associated with pop, such as the Hammond organ. Several of the pieces are overlaid with lengthy speech samples, and on the second track, ''Mother Machine'', the results are truly spine-chilling, even if some of the others stray slightly too far into schlock-horror territory to be as effective.

It''s also beautifully recorded. ''Toy'' instruments such as the melodica often come over as irritating novelties, but in this case they convey exactly the right blend of gaucheness and menace. I always like to hear string players who can bring out the potential of their instruments for brutality as well as sweetness and light, and the in-your-face sound suits the music perfectly. In a word: stunning.

Resonance FM:
“Euphonika uses real interviews with people who are weird and like dolls and stuff like that... It’s terrifically creepy and looks and sounds gorgeous”

"Euphonika pushes outwards, fusing unsettling imagery, serial killers, rudely obsessed doll fanatics within a vaudeville circus atmosphere, leaving this viewer disoriented, unsteady, yet thirsting for more"

Time Out:

The concept of Euphonika:

Euphonika explores through music and visuals the equivocal line between fantasy and reality,and how each of us defines our relationship with society according to where we place that line. It investigates mans relationship to dolls and statues, including cases of agalmatophilia – sexual attraction to nude mannequins and other physical representations of the human form. It draws from classic psychoanalytical texts on the subjects of fetishism, hysteria and the uncanny, utilising the nineteenth century fairground as a creative metaphor.

The Victorian fairground was a fantastic world of automation, waxworks and freak shows, where reality was suspended to make way for a multicoloured spectacle of heightened and excited extremes.

Euphonika is akin to a sonic fairground, in which the musical language and timbre of the automated carousel organ is reinvented and treated with contemporary compositional techniques to create a new and experimental musical genre. The instrumentation comprises of string quartet, harp, tuba, vibrandoneon (an accordion powered by breath), toy piano, hammond organ, laptop and surround speakers.

At the traditional fairground’s waxwork exhibitions, spectators were awe-struck by the life-like figures which confounded the audience’s ability to distinguish between the animate and the inanimate.

This links to a central theme running through the composition – man’s historical obsession with dolls and statues, and his aptitude to believe that they could be imbued with life. Parallels to the Victorian freak show with its human anomalies are revealed, with the use of recorded interviews of people whose internal balance between reality and fantasy has resulted in behaviour that many consider extreme.

Euphonika explores man’s historical relationship to dolls and statues, and the religious, fetishistic, recreational, and more recently, scientific and artistic roles they have played in various cultures. The doll dates from prehistoric times, and was born from mans primitive ability to discern the human form in freaks of nature. Originally coarse blocks of stone or clay, barely recognisable to contemporary observers as having a human form, they have evolved into highly sophisticated and realistic representations.

Throughout history and mythology there have been examples of Pygmalion-like statues considered to be living beings and often held in higher regard to humans. Primitive man, in his attempt to control the unknown forces of nature, made and worshipped sculptures of his ancestors, in which he believed their spirits resided.

It is thought that as these cultures became more civilised, and belief eventually faded in the idols, they were given to children to play with, and so the toy doll was born. Like primitive cultures, young children, who are yet to develop their ability to distinguish between what is animate and what is inanimate, believe their dolls to be just as alive as the people around them.

A recent incarnation of the toy doll is a Tamagotchi cyberpet, a micro-screen on a keychain about the size of a watch that comes with the responsibilities of a real pet – it must be fed, cleaned up after, played with and disciplined. To meet the demand for a growing number of owners taking the welfare of their cyberpets to extremes, day care centres have opened in some Asian cities.

Euphonika gives voice to those of the Hindu faith, who believe the deities they worship to be real manifestations of god, and provide them with new clothes, food, and daily baths. It takes a look at the Roman Catholic religion, whose culture abounds with stories of statues of the Virgin Mary weeping tears of blood or scented oil, or speaking and moving as a living person.

In recent years, dolls as sex toys have become increasingly popular, the last 20 years having witnessed a significant improvement in realism, with companies such as Real Doll providing metal skeletons allowing for complete articulation, and life-like skin and flesh made from silicone rubber.

Euphonika hones in on a further subculture of doll owners who believe their dolls to be real friends or partners, and commune to swap stories and fantasies on web fora and internet newsgroups. British serial killer Denis Nilsen shared the comparable fantasy of his dead victims being alive, and would sometimes talk to them for hours, or exhume their corpses from beneath the floorboards so that they could watch television together.

Euphonika considers the “living statue” as a historical cultural phenomenon, and looks at the varied attitudes held in regard to the believers – from the socially derogated to the spiritually exalted.

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