Exposé Online banner

Kabaret Makaber — Kabaret Makaber
(Apollon Records AP020, 2017, CD / LP / DL)

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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Taal - Skymind – I know it may seem like a glamorous life to be a music critic, getting all those free CDs, getting into shows for free, hobnobbing with the stars. But I assure you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues