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Viktor Krauss

II – 2007 (Back Porch)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Viktor Krauss

Instead of that unassuming number, Viktor Krauss could easily have taken the title of his second album from one of its songs, "Ecotone," a term denoting a border or transition point between two ecological areas that often includes characteristics of each of those surroundings while adding its own. That's a rough, but apt descriptor for Krauss's music, which works the borders between twang, jazz and limpid pop and arrives at an atmospheric blending of elements of all of them.

Krauss is known primarily as a bassist, but he grabs a fistful of other instruments besides his primary one here and composes most of the songs as well. The music is mostly, but not entirely, instrumental: Lyle Lovett (with whom Krauss had a long tenure as a member of his Large Band) contributes vocals on a cover of Tracy Nelson's "(I Could Have Been) Your Best Friend" and Shawn Colvin on a wistful take on Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Even more arresting, though, are Indian singer Shweta Jhaveri's mesmerizing wordless vocalizings on several tracks. If you're a fan of Bill Frisell's country excursions, you should love this music.