Exposé Online banner

Kabaret Makaber — Kabaret Makaber
(Apollon Records , 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-18

Kabaret Makaber Cover art

And now for something completely different… Bergen’s Kabaret Makaber is not the first band to bring together European cabaret music with more modern styles, but they do it in a way that’s all their own. In large part, that’s due to the instrumentation, which features two saxophones, marimba, and upright bass, along with a female vocalist and drums. It’s the drums that will grab you first: Tomas Myklebust starts the album with a burst of toms that leads you to expect a punk band more than what is to come. Then they settle down and we get a rousing triple-time romp that puts Marita Vangen Bratteteig’s outstanding vocals up front, Alexander Lund’s bass thumping away with infinite cool, and Torstein Åvar Sollien’s marimba providing the chordal framework. The two saxes (Morten Norheim on alto and Mads Lønnkvist on baritone) provide counterpoint, punctuation, insane solos, and an element of chaos. Bratteteig sings in Norwegian, and is a superb, highly flexible front to the music. At times she may coo breathlessly, almost whispering, only to launch into wild flights of powerful embellishment, growling, swooping wails, or anything else that might express her emotion. Through it all, she is never out of control, and never off pitch. It’s an amazing performance, and could likely carry the album even if the rest of the band were mediocre. Which they aren’t. I’ve already mentioned Myklebust’s drumming, but Lund locks in on the bass to provide for some infectious grooves that are kind of funky even if they’re really playing rhythms more like polkas and waltzes than rock or soul. The marimba performs multiple functions within the arrangements, sometimes doubling or embellishing the bass line, sometimes playing chords (the role a piano or accordion would normally handle), and sometimes working into melodic lines that complement the saxes. Norheim and Lønnkvist provide perfect foils for the vocals, every bit as capable of wild expression as Bratteteig, and taking Kabaret Makaber further from mere stylistic mimicry and into a realm all their own. It seems like I’ve been hearing a lot of music lately that takes its inspiration from eras prior to the advent of rock and roll (Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Microscopic Sextet, Ghost Train Orchestra, and so on), and Kabaret Makaber proves that it’s a well far from run dry.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Kabaret Makaber

More info
http://www.apollonrecords.no/product-page/kabaret-makaber-kabaret-makaber-lp

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Transi – Transi is the second release from this Japanese trio, fronted by talented keyboardist Keiko Kumagai. Writing all the music and commanding an arsenal of analog and digital keys, she leads the group...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues