Speakers Push Air

Polar Bear
October 15, 2008, 5:33 pm
Filed under: MP3

I know even less about Jewish music than I do about jazz, so I’d like to apologise to any Jews or jazz experts for this latest entry.

I briefly dabbled with acts like Acoustic Ladyland that were all modern and fusion without being THAT kind of fusion. The kind that makes you want to start shooting the hostages. Their track Iggy was great, but then I lost interest.

The hairy drummer from Acoustic Ladyland is also in Polar Bear, who are another modern, fusiony sort of jazz band, perhaps more conventionally ‘jazz’ than Acoustic Ladyland. Their Mercury-nominated album Held On The Tips Of Fingers didn’t really rock my world, apart from this one track, that I keep coming back to. I remember the first time I heard it, around the time it came out, I felt all trembly and possibly even a little tearful. It just….. soars.

it also puts me in mind of jewish wedding music or klezmer. I’m not enough of a musicologist (ie, I’m not in any way a musicologist) to explain why, but there’s something mournful and involving about this sort of stuff, even when it’s supposed to be happy music. Some tonal quality or a particular key. I’d be interested to get an explanation off someone who knows.

Anyway, to my ignorant little brain, Beartown by Polar Bear sounds like the exhilirating soundtrack to the saddest wedding in the world.

Polar Bear – Beartown
(on the Rub album Held On The Tips Of Fingers)

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi. I write a daily blog on Jewish music and thought I’d chime in. First, I’m with you that this is a very cool track and I hear the elements of the music that you’re associating with klezmer. That dark, chunky, minor key, rhythm with the sax providing the mournful melody is very much a klezmer thing. Strictly speaking it isn’t klezmer, it’s missing a number of other features, but definitely hear what you’re hearing. Great track.

If you dig this, there are a couple of other groups you might want to check out.
David Chevan’s solo work and his work with the Afro-Semetic Experience is doing some great Jewish jazz fusion material. In particular, check out his Days of Awe>/a> and Yiskor recordings.”
Sway Machinery brings a bit of a rock sensibility and stresses a Jewish cantorial (liturgical, vocal) sound over a klezmer sound, but very related. Check out their track V’Al Yedai Avodecha.
– Also, I’m a big fan of Daniel Hoffman’s jazz/chamber group Davka. Here’s a sample of their first album.

Best regards, Jack

Comment by Jack

Oh thanks so much, Jack – I wasn’t sure I’d get any serious responses but I’m glad I did. I’ll check out the blog and the artists you mentioned, really appreciate it.

Comment by dubversion

I just realized I managed to mistype my own blog address. Let me try again. It’s Teruah Jewish Music. Sorry about that.

Comment by Jack

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