Netherland Dwarf – Moi Moi

Released by the well-regarded modern prog label Musea, Netherland Dwarf is a one-man act from Tokyo, and that’s about all the information we’re given about it. ‘Moi Moi’ is the debut album from this project, and by all appearances, it has the sound of a European band. Disregarded the fact that the music is being distributed by a French company, Netherland Dwarf focuses its music around Western classical music, particularly the Baroque oratorios of Handel. Performing this music through a variety of different electronic instruments, the result is a quirky piece of neoclassical music that’s sure to inspire a few smiles on the face of the listener.

The sound of Netherland Dwarf is fairly narrow, but it’s quite fun and enjoyable. At times even flirting with avant-garde experimentation, Netherland Dwarf may be best labelled as an electronic act, even though there are live instruments in the sound as well. Fuzzy electric guitars are there to add a little extra punch, but the keyboard work is where ‘Moi Moi’ hits its stride. With renditions of many pieces of baroque classical music- particularly Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’- Netherland Dwarf is not creating something new, but rather putting a fresh spin on something classic. The heavy focus on synthesizers and quirky keyboards makes me think of the Japanese legends Yellow Magic Orchestra, and their pioneering take on synthpop. Western listeners should find many of the ideas here as being derived from classical music. Netherland Dwarf does compose some of its own music in the same style, although there is little distinction between the covers and originals. The defining trait of Netherland Dwarf is its intense arrangement of sound.

Netherland Dwarf is an adventurous act in regards to neoclassical composition, but it’s also very fun to listen to. The song ‘Salad Bowl’ is possibly my favourite, bringing in a Hawaiian luau sound into the Ozric Tentacles-soundalike instrumental mesh. Although this is an electronic work first and foremost, there is some impressive complexity to the performance and ideas throughout the album. Although the Handel influence is overbearing at times, Netherland Dwarf has an impressive grasp both of spacey psychedelia and neoclassical rock.

Tracklist:

1. Alone in the Blizzard Dawn (10:27)
2. Ruslan and Ludmilla. Overture (5:20)
3. Salad Bowl (6:24)
4. Messiah HWV 56 Part II No. 44. Hallelujah (4:16)
5. Netherland Dwarf (2:34)
6. Moi Moi (1:23)
7. Samson and Delilah. Bacchanale (7:23)
8. Alone in the Twilight Orange (6:18)
9. Symphony No. 104 In D Major London. IV. Finale. Spiritoso (6:39)

Line-up:

* Netherland Dwarf – all instruments
With:
* Hans Lundin – keyboards

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/netherlanddwarf

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