Barbez Insignificance

A blast of cabaret, Klezmer, Eastern European folk and just the slightest touch of abrasive rock, this album is a mighty strange brew. If there was one wonderful element that holds all of these disparate elements together, it is Russian-born singer Ksenia Vidyaykina’s powerful voice. Moving from a deep growl to a heavenly falsetto, one could easily imagine her walking among the tables in some Weimar club, taunting the customers with her wiles. Coming up just short of an hour, Insignificance is actually a bit much to swallow at times, as by the time free-jazz inflected "The Portrait” shows up, one’s patience is a little thin. Among the original tunes here, "Fear of Commitment” is the most intense and crazy, with a great marimba, vibes and guitar breakdown keeping Vidyaykina’s crystal voice at a brisk pace. The most loving cover here is that of Brecht’s "Song of the Moldau,” which uses electronic elements along with a surprisingly appropriate Theremin to enhance the piece. It’s here when Barbez’s purpose is at its most fully realised, as it brings together the dramatics of the cabaret era along with the instruments of today, seemingly fleshing out the emotions and longing that cabaret embraced. Intriguing. (Important)