Monday, December 14, 2015


Victoria, B.C.'s Astrocolor mess with the classics, turning them inside out and clearly modern, but at the same time still recognizable. Retaining the bare essentials of each song, carols and kids' favourites then get deconstructed into electro, jazz and lounge. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! lopes along with a reggae bass, a couple of lines of familiar melody on guitar, some sax soloing, and then the Let It Snow vocal is dropped in, suitably manipulated by electronics.

For the first few bars, you often have no idea what song you're about to hear, with a much different rhythm cooked up, and some programming, keys or guitar offered up in a few scattered lines. But then that well-known melody line comes in, just one usually, but its enough that you immediately know the song, and what's happening with it.

One song starts off with a sultry vocal, "You be my king," and then slips into a deep groove, before the bass slides into what we recognize as We Three Kings. And Little Drummer Boy finally gets the big drums it's always deserved. There are lots of moments of beauty, some musically-sophisticated re-arrangements, and in total, a unique way to experience the holiday canon.

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