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

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Poor Richard - Knees, Reins & Feet – As the debate over the meaning of the word "progressive" (as it applies to rock music) continues, the loosest interpretations generally define it as anything that eschews the mainstream...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues