Toronto's amazing husband & wife team drummer Jean Martin and unusual vocalist Christine Duncan with guest guitarist Justin Haynes and Bernard Falaise, recommended!
Barnyard Drama: Martin, Jean
I'm a Navvy
Released in: Canada
"For their second album as Barnyard Drama, husband-and-wife team Jean Martin (drums) and Christine Duncan (vocals) recruited two bold, creative, and highly compatible electric guitarists: Justin Haynes and Bernard Falaise. Fans of the latter's work in avant-prog groups like Miriodor and Les Projectionnistes may feel a bit at a loss when approaching this album, but those who know him for his involvement in various Ambiances Magnétiques-related improvisation projects will recognize here some of his best work of late in that vein.
Barnyard Drama's debut album (Memories and a List of Things to Do) was a fascinating variation on avant-jazz, focusing on Duncan's stunning range (from a seductive torch singer to a hysterical child) and Martin's light drumming and turntables. I'm a Navvy has a lot more bite, and not only thanks to the guitarists: Duncan is more exuberant, Martin occasionally pounds harder, and the group's sound as a whole is grittier and more urgent. The album contains nine songs -- yes, songs, with lyrics, melodies and developments -- even though improvisation also plays a key part in each one of them. Highlights include the scary title opener, the beat-driven "The Blues," and the near-epic "Invisible." Duncan's shapeshifting voice (extremely girlish in "Butt'ry Burning," animal in "I'm a Navvy," velvety in the Rodgers & Hart standard "Little Girl Blue") is always at the center of the music, revealing a unique singer and powerful performer.
This album is bursting with creativity and talent, while striking a good balance between odd songwriting and free playing. Simply put, I'm a Navvy is a must, and a very serious year-end list contender."-François Couture, All Music
"If anyone wanted a snapshot of improvisational music in Canada at its best, here it is. Longtime duo turned quartet, with the addition of guitarists Justin Haynes and Bernard Falaise, Barnyard Drama is the gold standard of new improvisation in this country, and probably elsewhere, as well, if we Canadians weren¹t so darned modest. Not only do they create soundscapes of profound breadth and depth, they imbue them with sonic and conceptual drama that subverts the group¹s self-effacing name.
Their tunes are dramatic with a capital D. Vocalist Christine Duncan defies vocal categorization; she¹s an instrumentalist who holds her own in the most abstract of improv settings. And the dual guitarists draw her formidable skills out, from lip-fiddling to throat Œyodeling¹, in ways that elude verbalization. And isn¹t this the point of music? To transcend the verbal? Drummer Jean Martin is capable of making music happen in the most unlikely ways. Yet, here, he is organically connected to the goings-on in a way that draws out his innate playfulness. And Martin¹s deft production expertise has rendered the whole proceedings haunting and ethereal.
Barnyard Drama has taken a bold step away from its duo inception. But the move looks super-good on them. The guitars bring out in the innate bluesiness of a group that could be mistaken for a neu-improv anomaly. Highly recommended."-Glen Hall, Exclaim Magazine
Related Categories of Interest:
Unusual Vocal Forms
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Toronto Area Improvisation
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Shipping Weight: 5.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Catalog ID: BR0302
Squidco Product Code: 11163
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded in Toronto, Ontario at Chemical Sound, March 10-11, 2005 by Ross Murray and James Heidebrecht.
Jean Martin-drums, turntables and loops
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1. I'm A Navvy 5:57
2. It's Raining To Drink Standing 10:12
3. The Blues 7:10
4. Happy Fingers 2:45
5. Coda 2:02
6. Sigh, Me Good 6:40
7. Invisible 9:07
8. Butt'ry Burning 5:22
9. Little Girl Blue 8:49