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ARTIST
TITLE
Hala Strana
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
DST 004LP DST 004LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
10/6/2017

Desastre present the first vinyl issue of Hala Strana's debut self-titled album, originally released in 2003. Hala Strana is a summation of Steven R. Smith's interest in the traditional folk musics of central and eastern Europe. By incorporating the melodies, scales, and instrumentation of the village music from areas such as Croatia, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Poland, Steven has pushed his music into yet another new territory. This is not ethnological preservation, but a starting point. In the same manner from which the band transformed the sounds of early Americana into their own brand of timeless music, Hala Strana has abstracted these melodies and turned them into something uniquely their own. Like his previous solo work, Hala Strana's richly layered sounds are carefully placed but have a spontaneous feel. Instruments like gourd guitar, clay flowerpots, harmonium, accordion, glockenspiel, violin, and even bottles find their way into the mix. Performed on an array of atypical instruments, the songs, all instrumentals, have a magnificent sweep and grandeur but also a Baroque sense of storytelling and commanding, sometimes mournful, introspection, a tension that persistently creates a mood of captivating dislocation. Hala Strana consistently locates the source of their esoteric power, the part that suggests specific cultural heritages. The brilliance of the album lies in where those evocations lead, to what ends they are taken -- luxurious, complicated cities of the imagination, landscapes at once tangible and unknowable. This marks the first vinyl reissue of Hala Strana. All elements from the original CD artwork have been used for the vinyl edition. The cover art is a detail from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) but the Hala Strana writing have been hand-made by Mathieu Tilly (Druidhigh Visuals), who is also France's drummer and the co-owner of the Standard In-Fi label. Tilly provided the new LP layout and insert (and the logo of Desastre label).