Sunday, October 12, 2008

Panic Ensemble - Wine and cheese and all that teasing....

A swirl of violin squabbling with an insistent baseline and tickity kick drum until they crash headlong, sending fragments of melodies scattering across a slow torch ballad about the physical fight or flight reaction underlying fear. Welcome to the world of Israel's Panic Ensemble. An ensemble that uses a cabaret aesthetic to ground an intersection of music styles anchored by driving jazz-rock and klezmer.

I'm showcasing the record release party video of their song Jewish Women, but it was a tough choice. I particularly like the their song Fear and tockity, bumpity Oldest Woman.

Panic Ensemble release gig- Jewish Women פאניק אנסמבל

I'm not sure why, but while I dig the Panic Ensemble, I found their performance a bit frustrating. It's not the eclecticism of the compositions. I enjoy it when a band tries to nail a couple of random bits together. I think its that the band doesn't seem (in my opinion) to know what's important and what isn't important in their arrangements. Am I supposed to be losing myself in the pulse of the rhythm? the narrative of melody and lyric? the shimmer of the electronics and additional percussion? I'm the kind of guy who will listen to a great song one time each for every instrument on the recording and is more than happy to have many things going on. But I want to feel that composition has as strong center somewhere that anchors it and gives it a personal identity. I dig each of the Panic Ensemble's songs, but have trouble finding that anchor point.

Maybe it's just the mixing in the live recording (e.g. the video). I haven't heard the studio recordings. But, honestly, I usually like live performances much better than studio recordings. I find live performances typically are less mannered and more likely to let that personal identity come through (if there is one).

Anyway, this is good stuff, even if not great stuff, and well worth the time to give them a listen. You can get more info on Panic Ensemble's MySpace page including pointers to free .MP3 downloads and their new album

1 comment:

Moshe said...

Jewish Women video clip