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SURFIN' USSR

Farmers Market

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars Almost 13 long months passed since I found out about this wonderful norwegian band and suggested them into the Archives, and I'm glad that they're finally here!

I was already a fan of balkan and gypsy music (Goran Bregovic, Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra, Mahala Rai Banda, etc.), because of the energy and complexity that these styles show. However, I was already looking for something even more challenging within these styles (to play and listen), and I luckily found out about Farmers Market in Last.fm while browsing Mike Patton's Ipecac label site.

It's amazing that Farmers Market was founded by Trondheim Conservatory students as a free jazz quintet, and evolved into a unique blend of balkan, bulgarian music and jazz, which I enjoy so much.

"Surfin' USSR" is the band's fourth album (after a live one, a studio album and another released under Stian Cartensen's name), perhaps it's a concept album, or the song titles are conceptually inspired in a somehow hilarious 'occidental view' of the now defunct USSR, just like if comedian Jakov Smirnoff himself had suggested the names of the compositions.

The album shows the band in an excellent shape, playing compositions that feature lots of sudden breaks, incredibly weird time signatures and musical scales.

It's also incredibly eclectic, always from a Balkan/Bulgarian base, the songs range from vocal pieces such as Yagoda or the amazing Dissident Harmony Sisters' Camel Call and surf-rock? in the first part of the self-titled song to incredibly wild jazz-tinged pieces like Red Square Dance or a weird version of Gerry Mardsen's Ferry 'Cross The Mersey, with vocals sung in... Bulgarian? (if somebody knows, please let me know); and anything in between.

Fans of Balkan, Bulgarian and extremely challenging virtuoso musicianship should not miss this amazing album.

It's of the most original things I've ever heard, and I strongly recommend it, and if you are not convinced enough, just look for the song Surfin' USSR in Youtube, there is a jaw-dropping version in which they play with Trondheim's Radio and TV orchestra that will probably stun you and leave you with need for more.

Five trips to Hell and Baku!

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Send comments to Lima96 (BETA) | Report this review (#784331)
Posted Sunday, July 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the greatest discoveries I've made on these Archives. Farmers Market loves mixing all sorts of genres in a fusion framework to hilarious and excellent results, and this is shown here to maximum effect. Here they mix jazz, surf rock, Slavic folk music, and all sorts of other tidbits into a side splitting piece of strange, parodic, and wonderful music. They build off of parodies of the classics of surf rock and Bond themes - notably, of course, the two title tracks, and "Lodtschitze Mini Maritza", which has strings that clearly take off from "You Only Live Twice". The track titles often belie the funny nature of the music, with gems such as "One Day, Son, All I Own Will Still Belong To The State" and "Anyone Who Remembers Vladiwoodstock Wasn't There". The sound revolves from folky to jazzy to rocking all in a single track. Very energetic, too. And all brilliantly played. Just one of the greatest albums of all time, this is a spectacular and humourous romp I recommend to everyone. Serf's up!

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Send comments to Lear'sFool (BETA) | Report this review (#1326247)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2014 | Review Permalink

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