First of all, no I don't know how to pronounce the band's name, and second of all, it's a genus of parrots in the Arini tribe according to Wikipedia. Pyrrhura is a folk act out of Slovakia, so it has that "not made in America or Canada" thing going on that almost guarantees some hardcore fans. But, like every act from a country I forget exists, it's important to ask yourself do I enjoy this because of where it's from or because it's just that good?
Milan T., Jr., the brainchild behind this collection of rustic, acoustic-based music, has most definitely got the chops and organizational skills to put him at the forefront of folk artists who approach music with a lo-fi aesthetic. Most of the songs on his EP In the middle of the forest sound like they were recorded in an attic (actually, they were recorded at Milan T.’s house as well as in a classroom) and feature a bunch of weird little synthesized sound effects, often accompanied by piano, drums, guitar and other percussive instruments. Because of the sparseness of sound space and the simplicity of the compositions and the trembling vocals of Milan T., the album conveys a very personal journey from musician to listener. "Wonderland" features in-and-out your ear synthesizer lines that border on dub while Milan T. recites bizarre poetry like "big river will rush into the sea/and the flowers will be big as they used to be/gotta be resolute if I want to see." The qualities of his lyrics aren't the greatest, but they do have that creative freedom I enjoy hearing. Many of the imagery seems to stem from free-form association, though it isn't surprising; Milan T. freely admits on the Bandcamp page that dreams, fears, delights and worries influenced the album.
Going off that, the music assumes many forms, from the baroque (the piano-driven "Ocean of blogs), tribalism (the creepy "Allow") and of course the verdant (the soothing "Trees with no leaves"). The album's closer "Trees with many leaves" is a muted festival, with graceful violin and skittish piano-playing ending the musical journey as Milan T. whispers, from behind a moving wall of electronics, "How I wish to be in a forest now" and the closing notes are so quiet, so sad, you wish you could join him.
Minimalistic folktronica seems to be a tough sell nowadays. Audiences who wish for a more dynamic, louder sound will be disappointed, though that leaves more room for the rest of us to bask in the earthy swirls Pyrrhura generates. Sometimes that's all you really want to do.
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