This unorthodox trio combines an upright bass, mechanical electronic percussion, two women singing, violin and accordion to produce music undefined by genre.
Bela Karoli swelled from a solo project to a trio when Julie Davis (bass, soft instruments, vocals) began playing with Brigid McAuliffe (accordion, vocals) and Carrie Beeder (violin and cello) in the summer of 2006. Bela Karoli’s music has been described as nakedly beautiful, gorgeously affected, stunning and emotionally resonant, but most listeners agree that it’s hard to classify the band’s compelling mix of modern electronica with old-world acoustic music.
Julie Davis: upright bass, soft instruments, vocals
Brigid McAuliffe: accordion, vocals
Carrie Beeder: violin, cello
Furnished Rooms - 2007
Commute - 2006
bluebook - 2006
"Furnished Rooms" review on NPR
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Bela Karoli is an unusual trio featuring upright bass, violin and accordion. The all-women group's l...Bela Karoli is an unusual trio featuring upright bass, violin and accordion. The all-women group's latest album, Furnished Rooms, is a stunning set of jazzy acoustic compositions with touches of subtle electronics. The album is filled with beautifully structured dynamics and captivating sonic twists.
The Denver-based trio explores the connection between the organic and the machine. Julie Davis' upright bass and Carrie Breeder's cello fill their sound with low-to-the-ground, resonating tones. The dramatic violin on their rendition of Emily Dickinson's poem "Some Things That Fly There Be" sets an imaginatively dark soundscape.
The most noticeably electronic arrangement is TS Eliot's "Prelude 2." With crunching micro beats, it paints ominous images of being born in a modern, mechanical world. Cool, laid-back vocals and creeping bass add a sluggish vibe to Gershwin's "Summertime." Singer Julie Davis wrote most of the original lyrics on the album while riding in a car. On the featured track, "Invertebrate," she sings evocative lyrics that fit with the album's mechanical theme: "we are soft cells / we have metal shells."
NPR.org, Second Stage
December 7, 2007
"Furnished Rooms" review on tinymixtapes.com
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"'Furnished Rooms' may just be a fable of machine’s domination over nature. But regardless of the in..."'Furnished Rooms' may just be a fable of machine’s domination over nature. But regardless of the interpretation, Bela Karoli’s ability to tastefully forge such a concept out of other sources is their biggest asset....the band’s predilection for conceptual songwriting over the gratification of untainted chamber pop makes this a formidable record."
"Can't pin label on Bela Karoli" feature in The Denver Post
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Davis' Denver-based trio… gets fitted with all kinds of awkward tags - trip-hop, indie-folk, electro...Davis' Denver-based trio… gets fitted with all kinds of awkward tags - trip-hop, indie-folk, electro-acoustic - but the deceptively simple, intricately rendered songs stir up words like "haunted" and "gorgeous" more often than not.”
"Furnished Rooms”…will prove both its versatility and inability to be labeled. Anyone who has experienced "Invertebrate" or "Carnage" live knows the sublime qualities of the band's melody-drenched compositions.
The record is a marvel of sequencing and production - to say nothing of the songs' quality - and already a contender for the best Colorado release of 2007.
[Bela Karoli has] refined its sound to a crystalline, moonshine-strength spirit. Davis' poetic lyrics flow inextricably from the music, the interplay sounding organic because it is.
- John Wenzel, Denver Post
"Bela Karoli’s music is a thing of beauty" feature in The Westword
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Furnished Rooms” is startlingly good. Mating organic instrumentation — the interplay of Davis's upri...Furnished Rooms” is startlingly good. Mating organic instrumentation — the interplay of Davis's upright bass, Beeder's expressive violin and McAuliffe's tasteful accordion accents — with mechanical percussion, the act effectively conjures Thom Yorke's dour, Eraser-era landscapes as seen through the lens of Beth Gibbons. Over the top, Davis and McAuliffe's vocals swirl together in smoke-like plumes, casting a pall that's bleak and unsettling, yet starkly beautiful and oddly soothing.
- Dave Herrera, Westword
"Furnished Rooms" review in The Onion
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"Drawing inspiration from Thom Yorke, Emily Dickinson, and the songs of cicadas on summer evenings, ..."Drawing inspiration from Thom Yorke, Emily Dickinson, and the songs of cicadas on summer evenings, Denver’s Bela Karoli has a sound full of joyous eccentricity….The band’s musicianship and cohesion allows it to move easily though genres, textures, and moods."-- Cassie Schoon for The A.V. Club, The Onion
"Furnished Rooms" Review on reaxmusic.com
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"What makes Bela Karoli feel like 21st century cafe music is...in the overall vibe they exude....Bel..."What makes Bela Karoli feel like 21st century cafe music is...in the overall vibe they exude....Bela Karoli is more concerned with making elegant, dreamy music that's contemporary but timeless." -- Jason Ferguson,
Bela Karoli on brainwashed.com
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Furnished Rooms is an album of elegant chamber pop by a trio who use stringed instruments, an accord...Furnished Rooms is an album of elegant chamber pop by a trio who use stringed instruments, an accordion, voices, and subtle electronics to create music that sounds refined yet contemporary. The group’s methodology is fairly uniform throughout, but they use it to their advantage in the creation of a unique sound.
Main songwriter Julie Davis leads the group with her voice and upright bass, with support from Carrie Beeder's violin and cello and Brigid McAuliffe's accordion. The first few songs encapsulate the album's overall feel, with few changes thereafter. Most of the arrangements are a vague mix between jazz and gypsy folk with vocals sung in a somewhat blasé manner. While the majority of the tracks are originals, they also cover "Summertime" and "Old Man River" and use the poetry of T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson for lyrics on "Prelude 2" and "Some Things That Fly There Be" respectively. All are more or less effective in asserting the group’s aesthetic on the material.
The album benefits greatly from the pristine recording quality. Although the electronics are apparent, they blend so well in the mix that there isn't an obvious audio difference between them and the acoustic instruments, which is not always an easy feat to pull off. The voices are uniformly strong, and there are obvious distinctions between the other instruments. Everything is well balanced for clarity, yet the minimal instrumentation never sounds bare or sparse.
My only complaint is that so many of the tracks sound alike. I would have preferred more variation of the tempos, arrangements, and vocal delivery because some of the songs start blending together by the time the album finishes. Still, the group does a great job of establishing and maintaining a mood all their own.
Bela Karoli, "Furnished Rooms"
Sunday, 02 December 2007
Bela Karoli on Fox
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One of Denver's best and most interesting bands Bela Karoli's dark syrupy music is a welcome antidot...One of Denver's best and most interesting bands Bela Karoli's dark syrupy music is a welcome antidote to today's pop-music scene.
- Fox 31, myfoxcolorado.com
"Furnished Rooms" review on musicemissions.com
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"Denver’s Bela Karoli sounds like some house band from an Eastern European dive bar. It is that geog..."Denver’s Bela Karoli sounds like some house band from an Eastern European dive bar. It is that geographical ambiguity that fuels “Furnished Rooms.” Drawing on chamber music, electroacoustic, jazz, dark blues and a little cabaret, the band is literally all over the musical map."
"They straddle the light and dark with ease, creating the tension between the two that makes for the best music. "--Mike Wood
"Que Bela" Bela Karoli in the Santa Fe Reporter
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"There’s one band that sings about odd things in quirky voices, and it is doing everything right to ..."There’s one band that sings about odd things in quirky voices, and it is doing everything right to keep music fresh and interesting. Denver’s Bela Karoli, a trio that plays an upright bass, a violin and an accordion, is standing at the freak folk precipice with decidedly spare orchestration and aloof vocals, and yet produces disarmingly beautiful and complex songs. The band’s recent release, Furnished Rooms, is a 12-song collection that straddles eastern European folk music and a modern backbeat. It’s a like a twisted version of Siouxsie and the Banshees on downers, without trying too hard." -- GG
A typical Bela Karoli set will last 30-45 minutes. however, we have two hours of material to fill several sets.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.