CD Barbez [Digipak] (CD 1070994),
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Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 36
Barbez; Dan Kaufman; Barbez; Dan Kaufman
Martin Bisi; Martin Bisi
Barbez: David Kannenstine (bass instrument); Josh Matthews (drums); Dan Coates (computer); Danny Tunick, Ksenia Vidyaykina, Dan Kaufman.
Personnel: Nils Frykdahl, Ksenia Vidyaykina (vocals); Dan Kaufman (guitar); Sarah Bernstein (violin); Carl Maguire (accordion); Rebecca Moore (toy piano, music box, background vocals); Danny Tunick (vibraphone, marimba); Josh Matthews (drums); Diana Carter Coates (computer); Meredith Yayanos (Theremin).
Additional personnel: Tony Nozero (drums, percussion); Nils Frykdahl, Rebecca Moore, Carl Maguire, Meredith Yayanos.
Audio Mixer: Martin Bisi.
Recording information: B.C. Studios, Brooklyn, NY.
There was a time when Brooklyn, like Queens and the Bronx, was the butt of jokes among born-again neo-Manhattanites. While true New Yorkers never felt that way -- they knew all along that Brooklyn had a lot of character -- the smug, hipper-than-thou, pseudo-sophisticated neo-Manhattanites who had moved to the Big Apple from small-town America loved to carry on about how Brooklyn and Queens weren't cosmopolitan enough for them. But times have changed, and in the Big Apple's ultragentrified post-Rudy Giuliani era, Manhattan is so insanely overpriced that Brooklyn has become a fashionable destination for hipsters and people in the arts. These days, Brooklyn has a reputation for being hip, cutting-edge, and experimental, and one of the intriguing groups that has contributed to Brooklyn's vibrant music scene in the late '90s and 2000s is Barbez. This wildly experimental CD is not easy to categorize; perhaps Barbez is best described as avant-garde rock, but their influences certainly aren't limited to rock -- Barbez successfully combines avant rock with everything from East European music (Russian, Polish, Balkan, klezmer) to free jazz, avant-garde classical, German cabaret, and Argentine tango. A variety of comparisons come to mind when Barbez is letting loose -- sometimes PJ Harvey or Yoko Ono, sometimes Kitty Brazelton, Dadadah, Maroon, or Ann Dyer. And even though trumpeter Dave Douglas is primarily a jazz instrumentalist, there are a few parallels between the way he experiments with East European influences and the way Barbez's expressive lead singer Ksenia Vidyaykina experiments with them. Barbez can be quite abstract and self-indulgent, but they're also melodic and highly musical in their own quirky, left-of-center way -- in other words, there is always a method to their madness. This 2004 release isn't easy to absorb on the first listen, but ultimately, Barbez offers considerable rewards to those who are brave and daring enough to go along for the ride. ~ Alex Henderson
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Important Records 36
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