David Krakauer & Socalled With Klezmer Madness!
Recorded November 4th to 9th at studio Gil Evans (Amiens).
Mixed February 2005 at studio Boxson (Paris).
Edited at Bova sound (Ottaw, Canada).
Text for "Bus Number 9999" was sampled and excerpted from "Ode to a bus driver" by 99 Hooker.
Dedicated to the memory of Bernice Bekowitz, Jean Herships Lieberman and Ida Epstein Krakauer.
David Krakauer could easily have carved out a career as a classical or traditional klezmer musician, but the clarinetist has always had grander ideas, and Bubbemeises is one of his grandest yet. Krakauer and his regular band, Klezmer Madness, team up here, as they did previously on 2004's Live In Krakow, with Canadian DJ/sample-meister Socalled (Josh Goldin), who co-produced Bubbemeises in addition to bringing in many of the outre sounds and beats that give the album its cutting-edge sonic flavors. The result crosses lines repeatedly: hip-hop sensibilities crash headlong into donya (Romanian folk music); avant-garde jazz and James Brown funk lines support spoken word samples from a Jewish stage actor of a bygone era (Herschel Bernardi). This is expectation-defying, genre-less music, to be sure, and if it weren't for Krakauer's superior way with his instrument and his uncanny ability to slap such disparate elements together and get them to make sense, it might all have been a big old mess. But it's not-it pulls together coherently and excitingly into a total work that raises the bar for modern Jewish music, music that pays homage to the past but squarely defies it. The title, Bubbemeises, refers to the old, exaggerated, often improbable tales and life lessons Jewish grandmothers of another era routinely gave the young. Krakauer uses them to draw attention to the greater untruths we face every day from those who would control our destiny. Its weighty message and underlying levity carry over to the title track's musicality as well: there's a giddiness to the rhythm but a seriousness to the deep bottom and densely layered samples that dance above the track's klezmer foundation. Further along, tracks like "B Flat A La Socalled" and "Turntable Pounding" (which updates the song "Table Pounding" that appeared on Krakauer's 2002 album The Twelve Tribes) flirt even more treacherously with tradition. Getting toward the end, "The Electric Sher" and, especially, the more familiar "Rumania, Rumania" (written by Aaron Lebedeff) show up to remind that this is, ostensibly, klezmer music. But just to make sure no one mistakes the album for a traditional recording, Krakauer and Socalled imbue the latter with sinister, brooding tones, free-jazz/quasi-metal improvisation and hellish samples. What bubbe would say is anyone's guess.
All Music Guide