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Barbez - Barbez - CD

Barbez - Barbez - CD

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Imagine Kurt Veill chewing sausages with The Residents underneath the Williamsburg Bridge while watching a Russian wedding dance and you have some approximation of Barbez, Brooklyn's one-of-a-kind post-cabaret punk chamber ensemble. Provoked by such musics as Slavic folksong, Argentine tango, post-war classical and pre-MTV punk, Barbez wrings these disparate worlds into the band's own unique soundscape.

The group began five years ago, with members whose backgrounds were in dance, rock, jazz, electronics and avant-garde classical. Comprising this Brooklyn-based punk chamber ensemble are: voice/dance Ksenia Vidyaykina, guitar Dan Kaufman, marimba/vibes Danny Tunick (Bang On A Can Allstars), theremin Pamelia Kurstin (Geggy Tah, The Kurstins), palm pilot/electronics/bass Dan Coates, and drums Shahzad Ismaily. Barbez draws its unusual instrumetation into a haunting, original sound that can evoke everything from Swans and P.J. Harvey, to Lotte Lenya and Eastern European folk music.

This self titled release was produced by Martin Bisi (Swans/Sonic Youth/Brian Eno).

Frequent collaborations with other musicians, both live and in the studio, have included Eszter Balint, Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Anthony Nozero (Drums and Tuba), and the Lonesome Organist. They recently wrote and performed music for Chang In a Void Moon, by legendary avant-garde director and MacArthur Genius grant winner, John Jesurun. They will be touring constantly to support this release.

Barbez is also a constant, vibrant part of the New York music scene, and has shared the stage with such performers as Cat Power, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Angels Of Light, and Devendra Banhart.


1. Sacrifice Poles

2. The Defiant Bicycle

3. Wisconsin

4. Tango Ballade

5. Pirate Jenny

6. See the Insect

7. The Relationship Between Man and Bird

8. Persephone Rising

9. The Red Urchins

10. The Ultimate Disaster

11. Beauty

12. West Rogers Park


“Barbez includes a brilliant theremin player who smokes cigarettes and a full-throated Russian singer who comes across like Joan of Arc with a sense of humor. They cover everything from Bertolt Brecht to Black Sabbath, but the real attractions is their melodically haunting originals. With a folk-music sound located somewhere between turn-of-century Eastern Europe and modern America, it’s arty rock that moves between brooding and winking.” ~ The New Yorker

"The old world meets art rock in this Brooklyn band, which melds instruments from Marimba and vibes to Theremin and Palm Pilot for it's post-cabaret stew."  ~ Time Out New York

"A tight post-punk outfit with vague ethnic insinuations to their riffage and a suitable frontwoman named Ksenia."  ~ The Village Voice

 "A Brooklyn based collective that considers cafe decadence from a European point of view. Barbez takes the violin and accordion of tango and the sultry vocals of cabaret to skewed extremes; it's repertory includes the music of Kurt Veill and The Residents."  ~ The New Yorker

 "Compelling as she can be, Vidyaykina rarely overshadows the rest of the sextet. Despite their Balkan-Folk leanings, these players aren't authenticity junkies. They use rock-band dynamics to give their music heft while fleshing it out with all manner of instrumental antics." ~ Time Out New York

 "Tango and Palm Pilots. Theremin and Kurt Veill. Marimba and Russian Folk music. If anyone know's the meaning of cultural detritus it's Barbez: New York's chamber punk sextet."  ~ The Portland Mercury

 "Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the composers Erik Satie and Kurt Weill were still alive, and decided to form a rock band?"  ~ Indianapolis Nuvo

 "Uses traditional Eastern European and klezmer influences as easily as it does more traditional rock band instrumentation."  ~ The Onion

 "Seeing Barbez live is a little like seeing the Elephant Man- something disfigured but beautiful."  ~ The Brooklyn Rail

 "The worlds greatest living theremin player."  ~ Bob Moog about Pamelia Kurstin

 "A deviant strain of Europhile romanticism seems to have taken root in the artistic underbrush of the US where a few musicians yearn for a lost epoch of Dada Cabaret, sleazy Parisian touts, accordion dirges wafting from the Gypsy camp at the edge of the city, drop dead gorgeous Polish exiles with a weakness for opium and a taste for danger. Brooklyn's Barbez ventures down this musical back alley."  ~ Willamette Week

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