VONJ – RUACH
Rauch is a CD that UK based, Kenya born Vonj puts a lot of heart and soul into another album with all he’s got, along with guitarist Garry Milhouse and others. All of which are great musicians in their own right, and play together with major chemistry on what contains an awful lot of variety. And that means everything from Latic and spiritual music to a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
It has thirteen cuts that go all over the map and get under your skin, leaving chills in their path. This is no rookie at anything being explored whether or not anything all that new is applied. It all seems like it comes full circle for Vonj. Not being familiar with all of his work I wouldn’t know, but there is no reason not to want to hear the whole Vonj collection after this. It’s so enjoyable the opening track is not to be forgotten for the push it gives to make sure you don’t ponder turning it off, like many albums these days can do. This is a breath of fresh air to hear, really. It’s a culturally delightful jam. A true way to ring in a meaningful set of all out gusty but accessible numbers. There is no holding back when you come on like this. And they answer it back with the even gustier “Out Of The Mire” with its place standing anywhere alongside the thirteen killer tracks to be found on the whole disc. And it loses nothing anywhere. It has all kinds of stuff that sticks together and gets far away too. With examples like the very complex “Vox Poluli” that is almost beyond description in everything from structure to finishing textures. This isn’t something you can emulate, it’s prog inclined jazz fusion music. Not your pop radio station album. It gets wild in parts but also slows back down on some acoustic tracks to give it a lot of musicality beyond the Vonj messages. This is very easy to detect between the former and “New-Times” but even more so on other moments. A thing that renders it full of such avenues for the ears to travel. And you can go there and back as many times over as you want without burning out. If there is any comparing this it would be to such instrumental-driven supergroups like The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and very few others. But does it reach their marks of beauty in history is the question. Well, too much comparison will bring that up, so, best to let Vonj rest on their own standards, of which they do reach without comparing. Especially with neither such around to do that with anymore. This isn’t the 70s, but it’s nice to know some still keep one foot in it while trying to expand the barriers of rock and other forms of music, and even blend them with any success and be satisfied as musicians and consumers of quality music.
Other tracks worth nothing are “River Nun” with its great twangy guitar sound and pretty horn and jazz drumming. It has a sound worth washing all over you, with some commanding vocals. It reminds of bands like It’s A Beuatiful Day, and even the Groundhogs. Also War, and Third World(without being reggae). But of course it’s only inflections of the old weaved into something new. Music working its own tricks on the ears, for the most part. But it also makes you think while it makes you move. And that is a superior trick. And don’t miss the talking part of this. It brings the whole album together and reminds you it is really all about something.