"....Wat mij betreft loopt het op dit album echt over van het ene hoogtepunt naar het andere. Het moge duidelijk zijn dat Aranis er voor de tweede keer op rij is in geslaagd om weer een verzameling sterke componisten te vinden die voor hen een nummer wilden schrijven. Ieder van hen is erin geslaagd om de perfecte Aranis-song te schrijven en dat kunnen we alleen maar bewonderen. Wat ikzelf overigens ook enorm toejuich, zijn de drie Intermezzo die je op dit album vindt. “Made In Belgium II” is op zich een heel heftige plaat en die rustpunten zijn meer dan welkom.

Met andere woorden: voor de zesde keer op rij is Aranis erin geslaagd om het perfecte chamber rock album af te leveren. En ik kan eigenlijk echt alleen maar mijn bewondering uiten voor de manier waarop ze voor de tweede maal met andere componisten werken en toch nog die typische Aranis-sound hebben kunnen bewaren. Dit vervolg op “Made In Belgium” is dan ook weer een groot succes. En wat meer is: dit is blijkbaar slechts het tweede deel van een drieluik! Er staat ons dus nog meer lekkers te wachten en ikzelf sta alvast te popelen daarvoor. Maar ondertussen kan ik deze “Made In Belgium II” eigenlijk alleen maar aanraden..."

Peter Van Haerenborgh

"Even after six albums, it’s difficult to offer a clear description of the music of Aranis. And Made in Belgium II proves that’s a good thing. It’s been two years since the Flemish band’s last album, and it once again adapts works by contemporary local composers. But Made in Belgium II doesn’t retrace familiar ground. Chamber music forms the cornerstone of the 13 songs, but Aranis also embraces folk, tango and punk, albeit with a mix of klezmer in the last case. The result varies between wildly ecstatic and subdued serenity. Another reminder that Aranis is a highly underrated outfit." ???? **** by Gerald van Waes (October 2014)

Aranis could only further continue their personal support towards the Belgian scene of R.I.O. and chamber folk. In Belgium most projects fall back on good will and free support. It is much more difficult to attract the attention of governmental support, which each year becomes less for the cultural sector, who today knows ownes much already to many volunteers. 

Peter Vermeersch (solo, Maximalist!, Simpletones & Kamagurka en de Vlaamse Primitieven, X-Legged Sally, A Group and the Flat Earth Society) luckily was involved this time too. This composition shows all the complexity that a good chamber music track with a rock drive and progressive feel, should have. The group took care of many surprising contrasts in the composition and mix (laughing voice, several varieties in leading instruments, a still loaded element of talking voices that still is mixed in a way it feels like a light addition, sudden acoustic guitar lead). It also features a soprano voice inclusion. The next track composed by Jan Kijcken/ Joris Vanvinckenroye (Aranis) perfectly adds a second part to it. Further on it has nice almost folk like light parts to it, while keeping the serious complexity underneath.

Tolles Pferd (Koen Van Roy) gives again attention to different instruments, like some violin and accordion (with piano) driven rhythms, which is again a welcome alternation. Also this track has a sung part, sung as if having a Berthold Brecht-like association (in German). Further on it keeps in the reference to the fast arpeggios of post-minimalism.
“DSK” is written by composer Maarten Van Ingelgem, who also teaches at the conservatorium in Antwerp. It is a more tempered composition compared to the previous ones.

“Kablamo” is written by Ananta Roosens, a tango-influenced composer. The composition can also be found on her project La Sieste Du Dromadaire, a CD where she explores the tango imagined from various viewpoints.

After a bowed bass intermezzo (Joris) it’s the place for a composition by Ward de Vleeschhouwer (Duo Dicto, Thelema Trio). This composition slowly builds up its repetitive rock drive from a classical area or composition, waltzing it’s way up like a scout hunter looking for it’s pray.
This is followed by another composition by Aranis (Joris), a happier serious waltz.

“Le Vague” by composer Walter Hus is about to bring back a sort of ascending and more repetitive rock power, with a distorted feeling in bass, but surprisingly changes it’s theme to a lighter and then shortly to more seriously engaging dance, while keeping on referring to rockier modes here and there too, before ending almost too soon, quickly after having shown all its swifts changes and surprises.

After a piano intermezzo by Pierre Chevalier, “Cell Stress” is listed by Kurt Budé (Panta Rhei, Univers Zero since 2010), brings back the Univers Zero connection a bit, without however adding too much darkness. It features a lighter part with piano/flute leads. The composition incorporates a few minimalist repetitions, while still finding back its serious basic theme, in which is shortly shown some stretching notes on electric guitar. It shows in fact more of Aranis' full band driven academic marks.

The last track, “Funambul” has of course the folk chamber associations of it’s composer, Aurélie Berzée, showing a rhythmical waltz composition led by accordion and cello mixed with violin and piano. A light and bright, almost filmic ending.

Aranis proves to mature further. Even by including other composers they succeed to bring it to a convincing cohesive compilation.

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Copyright 2017 - Maarten Lambrecht