Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain probably reflects the relocation of Melissa Agate (aka Sanso-Xtro) to South Australia after a spell in London. There are no references to beaches, vineyards, mountains, Jenny Agutter’s derriere, or cricket, but the album has a natural yet otherworldly allure suggestive of insects boomeranging about a garden at night with micro-cymbals and tiny triangles attached to their joints. This intoxicating percussive sensibility, her spare, sensual vocals, and tiny hints of darker subject matter give the music shade and depth and prevent it from sounding as mechanical as the pleasant but superficial winding and release of a music box.
Apparently, in her live set-up, Sanso-Xtro is surrounded by a web of instruments which may include glockenspiel, a tape echo/delay player, micron synthesizer, a loop device, accordion, acoustic guitar, and various custom-made percussion contraptions. That enveloping image, and this very delicate and detailed record depict Sanso-Xtro in a subterranean world: part quasi-Gamelan sound, part fluttering dream-maze. It’s a fine place (and comparisons are odious) but hopefully she can break out as successfully as Bibio did from his own musical web.
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// Notes from the Road
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