2008
Reviews

I'm a Navvy
Barnyard Drama | I'm a Navvy

Barnyard Records BR0302 • www.barnyardrecords.com

Barnyard Drama is voice instrumentalist Christine Duncan and drums/loops/turntablist Jean Martin who are joined on this recording by the two guitarists Justin Haynes and Bernard Falaise.

In "The Blues", Duncan's speaking voice goes instrumental and the piece transforms into a foot-stomping, electronic Mississippi delta blues in which the broadening strains of New Music also plausibly co-exist. This track exemplifies the group's fluent postmodern approach to sound, style, and musical meaning.

And in the simply expressed porno electronica of "Sigh, Me Good", where Duncan sings, "uh real good real good, uh real good ..." the two guitars prefer to respond indirectly and send out rings, peeps, and reverberating ping pong tones from remote corners of the tune. Within, a steady 4-note bass figure beats.

This music's origins are in jazz — but along with Dada performance, R&B, theatre, the visual and conceptual arts, film, New Music, and the blues, as discernible influences — this avant garde music certainly sounds different and, to these ears, even sounds accessible.

To their everlasting credit, these musicians don't make a business out of referencing historical styles — let's say a bar of Ellington here, or a few bars of New Orleans style over there — and so they avoid musical parody which, in some free jazz circles, can often end up sounding like a form of disrespect. No. These players always commit fully to the style of a piece and then allow their inventions to grow.

Such deeply satisfying music is the product of an obvious — and audible — group empathy, creativity, and fully operative intuition.

by David Fujino June 2008

The tracks
1. I'm a Navvy (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
2. It's Raining to Drink Standing (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
3. The Blues (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
4. Happy Fingers (F. Hollander)
5. Coda (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
6. Sigh, Me Good (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
7. Invisible (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
8. Butt'ry Burning (Martin, Duncan, Haynes, Falaise)
9. Little Girl Blue (Rogers and Hart)
The musicians
Christine Duncan — voice
Jean Martin — drums/loops/turntables
Justin Haynes — guitars
Bernard Falaise — guitars
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
davidfujino@thelivemusicreport.com
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