Janus, “named after janus, the Roman god whose double-faced image peers into the past and future”, is a Brooklyn based ensemble formed in 2002 featuring Amanda Baker on flutes, Beth Meyers on viola, and Nuiko Wadden on harp.
Around the time the CD came out (November) I had seen a bunch of posts on Twitter and Facebook but I didn’t have any time to investigate and give it a listen. Fail.
Getting Janus’s debut CD “i am not”, last week, felt like bringing the sheep back inside the sheepfold before the first snow. A first listening brought up names like The Books or some toy miniaturists like Klimperei, or Pierre Bastien (notably on am not (Blank): II. am). By the next listen (on headphones) I could really enjoy the depth and the personality in Janus’s music.
In nine tracks by various composers (Caleb Burhans, Jason Treuting, etc.), Janus weaves a highly evocative tapestry of sounds and words, from shyly festive moods (Under the rug) to troubled reminiscences (Beware of).
I am usually very suspicious of electronics in chamber music (more about this later), but I am glad to admit that they are integrated with great taste and quite organically (Drawings for Meyoko). They add a vibrant emotional layer on a music that already carries a lot.
Some might argue that certain themes are too obvious, but I see spontaneity and a touching simplicity.
I could say more but I’d rather let your make your own mind by listening to some excerpts here.
Have a warm winter with Janus…