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The French Bellow Machine

Ooo look a free moment, that's novel. Time to review the next CD in the pile, namely Mamienco's self-titled EP.

Found Mamienco at Broadstairs Folk Festival during the summer, where they played a late night concert on the opening night programmed as "Where Gypsy Jazz and Rock meet". Clear influences of French gypsy folk, jazz and contemporary rock are all present here delivered through a blend of clarinet, acordeon, bass and drums with a good dose of eccentric dramatism. They're somewhat like a French cross between Bellowhead and Soft Machine, which has to be a winning combination.

They had an amazing amount of drive with which to set the atmosphere for the opening night of the festival, as shows through in tracks like "Too many", but with the ability to slow things down to dramatic effect as in "Vivre avec". "Celui qui marche" sees them at their most contemporary and most dramatic, somewhat like indie rock, but with a strong folk jazz twist. "Interlune" on the other hands takes them back to their folk roots, starting off with just the accordian playing a very dramatic French waltz with the other performers joining in as the track develops to layer even more contemporary drama on top.

The highlights of the album have to be "Too many", "Interlune" and "Celui qui marche", but the tracks are all so different that it's difficult to say that any one outshines the others.

Some of these tracks can be found on MySpace.

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