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Matachin CD

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Sept. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Navigator Records
  • ASIN: B001DXNSV6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,371 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

STANDARD JEWEL CASE CD (12 page booklet).

This is a magnificently murky and rum-sodden collection of 11 traditional and original songs from an 11 piece band who defy easy categorization. Not many bands would have the courage to embrace this staggering range of songs or manage them with such enthusiasm and skill. But be advised, 'Matachin' is not for the faint hearted. There are no whimsical maidens or gentle stories of love gone wrong. Instead you'll get dragged along on an exhilarating journey filled with Cholera, whiskey, the high-seas and the Cold War.

A truly collaborative affair, 'Matachin' is a self-produced album, which also bares the distinctive stamp of each of its highly accomplished band members. 'Matachin' is the follow-up to Bellowhead's debut album, 'Burlesque' (Westpark) which was praised to the rafters on release in 2006 and became one of The Guardian's 'Top 1000 Albums To Listen To Before You Die'.

Often described as a folk big band, the Bellowhead collective are much more than that. Blending folk, rock, ska, jazz, soul and world music influences with dashes of English Music Hall and cabaret, between them, the 11 musicians play more than 20 instruments, six of them sing and their arrangements are already the stuff of legend. Winners of numerous BBC Folk Awards (including an unparalled 3 for Best Live Act) they were recently announced as Band in Residence at London's prestigious Southbank Centre. Already having played everywhere from Glastonbury to The Big Chill, Bellowhead have recently headlined the first Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms Day dedicated to folk going down a storm!

Although they have only been in existence for a few years, Bellowhead have an ever increasingly fan-base including high-profile fans who range from the West Coast's Red Hot Chili Peppers to the West Country's Frank Skinner.

"The sound of 44 limbs in pursuit of countless more possibilities." - The Times

"One of the most kick-ass live bands around." - Observer Music Monthly

Review

One of the most kick-ass live bands around. -- Observer Music Monthly

The sound of 44 limbs in pursuit of countless more possibilities. -- The Times

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you have an ear each side of your head rather than a collection of labels, prejudices and musical anxieties, if your spirit is actually moved by music, if you got (any) rhythm, if you've heard/seen them live or haven't and wish their tour schedule was wider and longer, if ... hang on. Why are you still reading this? Try a few sample bits off iTunes or whatever and then buy the CD. You'll see it's not "just" folk yet grows from the tradition, and it doesn't mess folk up merely to be trendy. It's music with bottom and also plenty of top, bursting at the seams yet carefully considered and controlled, it tells stories but it doesn't ramble on with its finger in its ear, it can fight you and it can soothe you, it's highly entertaining and unexpected, it has real integrity it's...unique.
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Format: Audio CD
Fun, lively, sinister; pure Bellowhead. This is a wonderful album that really shows how the band has developed since Burlesque. Burlesque was good, but at times it felt like 'the Spiers and Boden band' rather than showing Bellowhead up in all its glory. Matachin rectifies this in style. The arrangements are well thought out and the ensemble is top notch, and full of the band's trademark quirkiness. I challenge you to keep still!
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Format: Audio CD
I love Bellowhead in a slightly unhealthy, groupie-like way - because they are not what I think of as traditional folk, but an altogether bouncier and more inspirational form of music (meaning no offence to die-hard folkies). The band themselves, of course, are knee-deep in the knowledge and tradition of British Folk - and it shows more clearly on this album than on Burlesque. Songs like Fakenham Fair and the others here will appeal strongly to the trad folk fans as well as the hardened Bellowhead-heads; but are slightly less foot-tapping than you might expect. The production also seems a little unbalanced, drowning Jon Boden's voice a little on those tracks where the narrative is especially important. For those likely to be disappointed by that, get the album on iTunes where there seems to be a funky extra track, Unclothed Nocturnal Manuscript Crisis, that doesn't appear on the CD.
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Format: Audio CD
Matachin suffers, IMHO, from too many cooks. Where Burlesque was very strongly directed by Spiers and Boden, this one seems to be a truly democratic and communal offering and as a result ends up just muddled at times. Pity, because the opener Fakenham Fair is as good as anything you'll ever hear. Stunning musicianship and harmonies, brass, strings and rhythm re-energizing a tuneful old folk song. Thereafter the song choice is not as consistently strong. Roll Her Down The Bay is repetitive and boring, Cholera Camp too long and meandering, Spectre Review and Widow's Curse unexceptional and cluttered, and the half minute Vignettes fairly pointless. In the other stronger moments, I Drew My Ship, Bruton Town and Trip to Bucharest, the arrangements seem more focused but the album lacks the lingering, catchy melodies of its predecessor and I suspect, sadly, that I won't listen to it very often. Another point, in terms of mixing and arrangement, Jon Boden's voice is often overpowered, and sometimes the original rhythm or theme of the track is lost amidst the complex counter orchestration, where less might be more. Unlike Burlesque then, Matachin veers perilously close to becoming a hybrid musical form and losing touch with its folk roots. It is perhaps trying to be just a bit too clever, but my feeling is that the material chosen isn't strong enough to support the huge weight of instrumentation and ideas. Still very good, mind.
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Format: Audio CD
The excellent CD booklet that comes with this CD informs us that the name Matachin is enigmatic and of uncertain origin .Originally thought to be Arabic and derived from the word mutawajjihin meaning "mask-wearer" though now it is considered to derive from the Italian mattaccino the diminutive of the meaning matto -mad or fool. This is more apt for this 11 piece band have a certain barmy frisson . There is also a hypothesis that the name comes from an old Spanish sword dance ! This album could make you dance though I suspect it will make your head spin and your knees pop out of their sockets if you do .
Bellowhead are for the uninitiated, which until listening to Matachin I was, like a burlesque collision between a folk band and a big band . The music is expansive and fervently expressive with cello, fiddle, violin, trumpet , trombone, oboe, pipes, mandolin, banjo , concertina and avid percussion. There are elements of jazz, music hall , cabaret, mariachi , traditional folk and it's all done with a playful vigour that doesn't subtract from the wonderfully individual performances.
That booklet also helpfully explains the origin of each song excluding the three short instrumental vignettes dubbed helpfully Vignette one , two , three. To be honest the album wouldn't lose anything if these hadn't been included. However the same cannot be said of tracks like "Widows Curse" a traditional song arranged by Pete Flood with emphatic burgeoning strings and a terrific twittering oboe. Or of "Kafoozalum/The Priests Miss" which again is a trad song arranged by the band and is so completely barmy it would make Jeremy Paxman jig. "Roll Her Down The Bay " a shanty arranged by Pete Flood seems a touch incoherent and slapdash but is actually cleverly arranged .
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