private cdr Barbez (=was preview for new release 'insignificance') (US,2005)****°
Barbez's new release has a different, more subtle approach, with strong compositional ideas, brilliant song leads, and attention to separately contributing instruments that are used to stimulate the musical evolutions, in an emotionality strong way. I'm delighted to see this change, even when I liked already the earlier album.
On the first three tracks : “As for the Little Grey Rabbit...” (-a Russian folk song), “Strange” and "Fear of Commitment", the band sound is emerged into a more progressive / psychedelic vibrant rock drive, with arrangements that come and go with a pulsating evolution. Instead of a cabaret-like theatre performance, on these tracks it’s a more psychedelic and emotionally rewarding direction. The fourth track, "Song of the Moldau” introduced by theremin, shows another emotion. Also here the arrangements (=lots of theremin, mixed with chimes,..) are thought over, and serve the compositional evolution well. This interpretation is a brilliant transformation of a Eisler /Brecht song. "A Melancholic Picnic" is emotionally similar. Also "Insignificance" shows a brilliant play of the theremin. It starts with a beautiful, violin-pitched- like theremin, and concludes this song with so controlled, in fact really brilliant arrangements with the same theremin. It made me also wonder which type of theremin Pamela Kurstin used here*, besides it is the result of talent. "The Sea Spread Wide" is a Russian folk song. This is performed like Underground Russian (Folk)Rock. Still with a Russian flavour is “Pain”, the longest track, which builds up tensions with song, guitars, drums, vibes and theremin, in a kind of mix of elements recognisable to Barbez.
"The Portrait" after that, is a more pleasant melodic instrumental track featuring the whole group but, again, with a special touch by the theremin. Strangely enough this seems to be a composition by the brilliant contemporary composer Schnittke, because I am not able to recognize his, what I considered as a very dramatic, style.
"Like Snowflakes, some sort of Red" starting up as a more melancholic track, builds up an emotional rock drive, with additional funny ideas of yodelling, and all different kinds of rhythms and rhythm evolutions.
Concluding track, "Gnossienne #3" is a brilliant art-rock Satie interpretation, with drums, guitars, theremin and chimes. A musician friend just told me that Satie, like Debussy was very much inspired by a gamelan concert he saw in his days. In some way both Debussy and Satie had used the silence and an underlying rhythmical pulse of sound in their compositions, which in their time was a completely new approach to composition. It's also the idea that rhythm has its own compositional idea. If one interprets Satie that way, like the group does here, with leading chimes and additional tones by theremin, in some way, without realising, reinvents the compositional structure with the original thought from where it was developed from.
Talented ! Highly recommended !!
Dutch review I did for Kindamuzik here.
PS. This release finally was released in 2006 (still listed as 2005) on Important Records.
I found out on the net Pamelas theremin seems to be an Etherwave Pro, not sure if it's basically very different from most theremins : http://www.moogmusic.com/...