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Welsh Connections Single Review: Zirenz – Un Bel Di

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Welsh Connections Single Review: Zirenz – Un Bel Di

Artist : Zirenz
Title : Un Bel Dei (March 2020)
Label : Afterworld Recordings (AWREC 1060)

Anyone reckless enough to check out my music collection would soon discover to their horror the complete absence of certain key genres such as rap, jazz, house, reggae and heavy metal. What else is missing is a single album of Classical music. Not because I dislike it, it’s just that since it’s been classical for a very long time and likely to stay that way, I’d rather focus on what is contemporary right now, meaning pop, dance and techno. Many of you have probably stopped reading given the distaste felt for machine-manufactured music, but given the choice of a guitar strumming by the gas fire or someone let loose on a strobe-lit synthesiser, I know where my heart and ears would lie.

Blue skies + morning sunshine + orange juice and toast + a dash of Giorgio Moroder for me spells the essential ingredients for a perfect start to the day. Even a bit of Michael Zager would go nicely too.So it is with genuine surprise and utter delight that thanks to Zirenz, classical music is finally being played in my house, albeit fused with electronica. Something to shock the neighbours I guess after years of Blancmange, Thompson Twins, William Orbit, Orbital and Eat Static among others now streaming through their walls courtesy of Alexa.

Zirenz, comprised of Bex Hazard and Cat Llewelyn, have already achieved chart success with previous dance/electronica releases, but with Un Bel Di they’ve excelled themselves by merging that particular song from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly with their own original and very modern techno sound. And their voices!

If Heaven had a discotheque (which I hope it does), that’s where their singing belongs as to describe it as divine would be a gross understatement. Not quite angels on steroids but close enough. Yes, I know Malcolm McClaren got there first back in the early eighties with his Fans album by mixing Puccini’s Madam Butterfly with R & B, but that was almost thirty-six years ago and a modern reboot’s been definitely on the cards since his untimely demise. However, reboot or not, Zirenz’s distinctive sound is in a world of its own and owes nothing to similar efforts.  Quite simply, hearing classical tunes given an electronic make-over with a dance beat to die for, plus those voices – it’s sadly sayonara to hot rotation plays like Bananarama and Mika and bonjour Zirenz.

Keith Williams

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