Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black Ox Orkestar

Every now and then a band has too much uniqueness even fit in with regular indie discourse. I feel like Black Ox Orkestar is one of those bands. Klezmer music is not something I've had any experience with in my life, nor anything to do with Yiddish. The songs crafted by the Montreal-based veterns that make up Black Ox Orkestar certainly bear out that they have. Pulling several members from Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band and one who was also in Godspeed You! Black Emperor, these guys have weighty post-rock credentials. However, this undertaking is not post-rock, but rather is a folk band throughly soaked with Jewishness. Their songs are sung in Yiddish and are about (or reworking of songs from) the dispora, specifically the Ashkenazim. As I understand it, they're attempting to place traditional Jewish musical culture into their contemporary lives. The well-versed musicianship of the members shines prominently throughout their albums. The mood of Ver tanzt? meandering and calm yet provoking as good folk music should be, whereas Nisht Azoy features more percussion and group singing to achieve the same end. The Yiddish lyrics gives the music more cultural grounding than the previously posted A Hawk And A Hacksaw, but I don't think it is fair to compare them too sharply as their goals are far from the same. I suggest this album for any persons who are partial to lovely folk music or something different even if you've no knowledge of Judaic culture.

To be had here:

Ver tanzt? (2004) @ 192 VBR kbps

Nisht Azoy (2006) @ 224 kbps

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