Barry Adamson

    Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case

    7
    5RC/Kill Rock Stars (CD); DoggPony (vinyl) - October 11, 2005

    The
    commercial music industry serves up plenty of pretty-boy James Dean
    types who make big splashes as they hurtle themselves toward an early
    end, but where these poster boys fail is in taking up the cause of
    their rebellious young listeners and then speaking directly to them.
    That’s left to “underground” music, and that’s why Brendan Fowler,
    a.k.a. BARR (“B is for political, A is for drums, R is for music and R
    is for right now”), picks up a microphone in front of punk kids,
    skaters, arty gallery-goers and whoever else is listening and gives
    them a good talking-to. But not in the parental way, and not, he’ll
    insist, in the underground-hip-hop way. Sure, the latter of these
    classifications seems logical: Fowler has described his music as
    “fairly aggressive talking over drums” and he was the deejay in New
    York’s uber-chic Lower East Side hip-hop outfit Dogg and Pony before he
    moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. But the way he sees it, free jazz
    is where it’s at.

    [more:]

     

    But
    this ain’t your late-night public-radio free jazz. This is verbal
    information shared over complex time signatures. Confident enough in
    his creative endeavors to be fully punk rock and free jazz at the same
    time, Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case (his first LP on
    5RC) being called “the self-actualization album of the year” is less a
    quirky promotional line than the gosh-darn truth. One who always knows
    what’s next in creativity, as evidenced by his past role at New York’s
    Alleged Gallery and current role as one of the influential triumvirate
    who launched ANP Quarterly magazine this year, Fowler
    already has a captive audience. But his goal, as expressed in his
    lyrics, is to speak to suburban kids and those iconoclasts outside the
    safe haven of cityscapes. They’re young and weird and Fowler wants to
    inform them of their destiny as creative types. Opener “A Cover”
    provides some basic instructions: “How do you start something? You
    start it.” And from there it’s all hectic delivery of what ails
    intellectual youth in the struggle to identify their place in the
    homogenized world.

     

    This
    is not to say that those old enough to wear their special artiness on
    their sleeves will not find comfort in the music and performance.
    Recorded by Stab City Slit Wrists’ Greg Casebeer (who also plays on the
    album) in Flagstaff, Arizona, Fowler has applied the science of free
    jazz and spoken word to the raw expression of punk rock. Like 5RC
    labelmate Xiu Xiu, Fowler’s is a turbulent story, but the album is
    equal parts inspiring with its clear impression of BARR’s performance.
    Often this conversation between “talker” and listener sounds as if it
    has its roots in live shows, particularly on “My List of Demands,” when
    Fowler arranges to meet a heckler in his audience back at his place so
    he can belittle him in his personal space the way he ravaged BARR on
    stage. Now that’s hardcore, but with a free jazz philosophy.

    Artist’s Site: http://www.barrbarr.com

     

    5RC site: http://www.5RC.com

     

    Kill Rock Stars site: http://www.killrockstars.com    

     

    DoggPony site: http://www.dnp006.com

     

    Link to MP3 of Is All for Updated: http://www.buyolympia.com/killrockstars/Item=GER046

     

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