Barbez - Insignificance
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Barbez
Insignificance

Insignificance is a true melting-pot release, both in style and in terms of the different musicians behind it. The six members of the group have at one time or another worked with everyone from Brian Eno to the Boredoms and Bang On A Can, while their instrumentation includes a marimba, a theremin, a modified palm-pilot, cabaret vocals from Russian singer Ksenia Vidyaykina, and just about everything else you can think of.

If you had to throw the group under some sort of a genre, it would be plenty easy to label them with a fitting hodge podge like Eastern Block Chamber Punk, but even that doesn't quite get to the bottom of their unique sound. "As For The Little Grey Rabbit" opens the release with what sounds like a traditional folk song turned into an almost tribal, rhythmic chant while "Strange" follows with a more traditional opening (replete with banjo and marimba) before slowly swirling into a massive, rollicking track that brings together all six musicians for something that rivals the furious crescendos of groups like Godspeed You Black Emperor.

Elsewhere, "Song Of The Moldau" mixes Hammond organ, some truly great theremin, weird electronics and limber drumming into a piece that at one time might have been a torch song but has since been turned into a slightly creepy, almost punk-rock carny sideshow song. As they demonstrate on the nearly eleven-minute "Pain," the group isn't afraid of tackling a long-form composition, swerving through several different movements in that time period (and lyrics in two different languages) while ranging musically from quite and sparse to dense and thundering.

At nearly an hour in running length, Insignificance drags a bit in places, but given the wide-ranging interests and backgrounds of the musicians involved (they've covered The Residents, Kurt Weill, and others), things never stay boring for two long. Keeping with their history of interesting covers, the album closes out with a re-interpretation of Eric Satie's "Gnossienne #3," which sounds pretty darn amazing on theremin, vibes, and quiet percussion. There's a little bit of everyone from The Dresden Dolls to Black Ox Orchestar (as well as a slew of other influences) on Insignificance, so if you're into the eclectic, it's as good as any place to start.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2005-08-25 00:00:00