Ray Bartok is a duo from Paris, France featuring Tino Ray (piano, guitar, samples, vocals) and Phil Ray B (drums, beatbox, autoharp, banjo) and they just released Dirtyworks, which is their second album. First off, their album cover is cool yet disturbing. They look like a bunch of bad asses but what's with the dude without a shirt. The music these guys make is extremely original. They describe it as ”a kind of tribute to film noir, crime jazz, from elmer bernstein to ennio morricone through john zorn or the lounge lizards.” After listening to the album that description pretty much nails it.
It’s the music I want to hear in a fictional mystery crime dinner where I have to figure out who killed Mr. Mustard. The music is largely instrumental but also features some slick poetic beatnik style singing. It’s ripe with instruments like an upright fretless bass, mandolin, tuba and many more.
On top of that the production is top notch. All the instruments sit in their proper space and you can hear everything clearly.
The album kicks off with “Unlucky,” which starts with an unassuming piano riff. It doesn’t take much time for an organic, dry drum kick to get the swing and groove of the song established. It’s one of the more minimal pieces on the album that serves as a solid introduction to their sound. “Gioco giallo” has a bit more energy and contains vocals, fat sounding synth bass and a noir groove that had me sneaking around my kitchen while making a sandwich.
“James 77” is an experimental song flirting with free jazz. The structure is loosely held together by some brushwork as sounds interact with each other. “Sharks” features a sweet, walking bassline with a number of rim shots while the vocals are delivered in a way Tom Waits would approve of. “McCain” is a slower track intended to be played during a lovemaking session with a foreign spy while the closer “Work out in the zone” is the la noir dream you might have while getting chased by Dick Tracy.
I really, really want to this music too break. I’m not talking indie big I'm talking Justin Bieber big. How cool would it be if this music became the new “thing” instead of the half-baked EDM and the utter garbage that the likes of Taylor Swift and god help us Hilary Duff make. We could go to concerts dressed as spies and in suits. Hipsters would have to shave their moustaches and the world would once again be somewhat hip. I can always dream but until then I will spin Dirtyworks relentlessly.
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