Exposé Online banner

Kristo Rodzevski — The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore
(Much Prefer MPR-003, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-07-03

The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore Cover art

The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore is an album that takes many listens to reveal itself, and even after maybe a dozen times through, I’m still not really sure what to make of it. Obviously I don’t dislike it, or I would have been able to write a negative review after one or two listens. On a conceptual level, I rather like it. Kristo Rodzevski strikes me primarily as a poet who sets his words to music, rather than a singer-songwriter. In this respect, he can be compared to Peter Blegvad or even Jim Carroll, and like those two, his voice is not the kind to win singing contests, being on the thin side and slightly quivery. What really sets him apart, and provides much of the album’s appeal, is the group of musicians he’s recruited to fill out the arrangements. In addition to his own acoustic guitar, we hear Mary Halvorson on electric guitar, Kris Davis on piano, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax, Brian Drye on trombone, Michael Blanco on double bass, and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson and Fujiwara we know from Thumbscrew, and the others are also known from the New York avant-jazz scene. Rodzevski (properly Rodževski) is from Macedonia, and there are hints of unusual phrasing and an accent in his English singing, though in general the lyrics are good — I think he repeats “Ralph Lipschitz, why did you change your name?” a few too many times in “Your Name,” but other songs feature many interesting turns of phrase. Musically, it’s Halvorson whose playing most defines the sound of the album, full of unusual voicings, dissonant intervals, and freaky effects, though with her signature semi-clean tone. The rhythmic backing from Blanco and Fujiwara is jazzy in an unclichéd way, with nods to rock rhythms due to the songs’ straight eighth notes. The horns put it firmly in the jazz camp, with parts that stray well outside what you’d normally hear in a singer-songwriter context. The really interesting thing about this music is that Rodzevski is not really a jazz singer, and the songs don’t really feel like jazz songs (admittedly a highly subjective statement), with some elements of Eastern European folk and a touch of art-punk in the mix. In short The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore is unlike anything you’re likely to have heard unless you’re familiar with Rodzevski’s two previous recordings with Halvorson, Blanco, and Fujiwara. Just don’t expect to get it on the first hearing, and give it the time to sink in.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Mary Halvorson, Kristo Rodževski

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/kristorodzevski3

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Charlemagne Palestine - A Sweet Quasimodo between Black Vampire Butterflies for Maybeck – In the 30 or so years that Charlemagne Palestine has been around, this writer has never heard any of his music until now. It was inevitable that one of his recordings would reach my ears eventually,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues