Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Exploring the CD Collection, No. 6

Yanni, Live at the Acropolis

OK, this post should serve to demolish any credibility I have gained as a music lover in past writings here, but I don't care. I will certainly not maintain that the music contained on Live at the Acropolis -- or on any Yanni disc, for that matter -- constitutes "artistic greatness". If I had to make a food metaphor, I'd compare Yanni to the chocolate-chip cookies one can get at the cookie joint at the food court in the local mall. They're gooey and fun, they're better than Chips Ahoy! or the other brands in the bags at the supermarket, but they're still not as good as home-made, even if Mom simply does nothing more than follow the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.

Yanni does the "pleasant New Age" thing, and he probably does it better than anybody else. This isn't demanding music; the harmonies aren't challenging at all, the rhythms are extremely straightforward, and the whole exercise can basically be described as "melody for melody's sake". Sometimes you're just in the mood for something like Yanni -- it's "turn down the lights and let it wash over you" music par excellence.

What happens in Live at the Acropolis, though, is, I think, something special. There seems to have been some kind of electricity in the air the night this thing was recorded (it was a live concert that's been a staple of PBS Pledge Weeks for a decade now), and the same tracks that are serviceable and pleasant on the original studio recordings (yes, I own three of them, sue me) take on new life in their live incarnations. There's a liveliness to the proceedings here that I find infectious as hell.

So if you want to wallow in sentiment and not feel totally dirty about it afterwards, Live at the Acropolis is for you. And the first track, "Santorini", is actually one of the best long tracks for driving purposes I've ever heard. Really. Put this in the car stereo, crank up the bass, and that's some good drivin'. Which isn't the worst reason I've ever heard to buy a CD, in any case.

By the way, someone at Amazon has offered the following review of Live at the Acropolis, which I reproduce in its entirety, because if you know the kind of thing Yanni does, this review is absolutely side-splitting:

Yanni, the originator of Grindcore, returns to his Death Metal roots with his second studio album (it's not really live : these are the DEMONS CHANTING AND CLAPPING WHILE PRAISING THE DARK OVERLORD !). This album is PURE EVIL FOR THE UNGODLIEST SOULS !

The music presented here is fast and loud, with demonic keyboards (containing subliminal messages, as always) exploding in this wall of BR00TAL NOISE !!! This is the soundtrack to depravity, sickness and AGONY ! Yanni's demonic symphony for satanic keyboards (he ONLY uses the satanic ones) is too heavy to bear for the normal ears ! You HAVE to be grim or kvlt (or both for extra caution) to appreciate this masterpiece !


This almost makes me feel guilty for liking this disc. Almost.

No comments: