Barnaby Bennett
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Barnaby Bennett

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"Shadows & Reflections Experimedia Review"

This is an absolute trip. And so goes the story of unknown folk hero, Barnaby Bennett. "Shadows and Reflections" covers a lot of ground and will serve as a perfect introduction to the world that Bennett inhabits and creates. As an anthology, it's not surprising that the songs are all over the place, but that diversity in line-up, approach, and fidelity becomes on of "Shadows and Reflections" greatest strengths. From the woozy cut-up loops of opener "A Satisfied Mind" through the clandestine auto-tune of "Waltz Away" and muted intimacy of "Whiskey Road," Bennett is a shapeshifter moonlighting as folk troubadour. Sparse electronics lead to a time-warp on the short but great "Sleep," and assistance from M. Geddes Gengras adds some serious bass thud to cosmic murk of "Dengue Fever." In addition to Gengras, Barnaby enlists help from Nashville session legends Charlie McCoy, Wayne Moss, Jim Isbell, Russ Hicks (Ween, Bob Dylan, Elvis, etc..) & Johnny Cash's niece Lorrie Carter Bennett. It's hard to know what to make of "Shadows and Reflections" beyond wanting to get lost in it over and over. Good stuff. - Experimedia


"Barnaby Bennett is a busybody: it’s always an adventure with this Alberta experimenter"

Published May 31, 2012 by Devin Friesen in Music Previews

Say this five times fast: Barnaby Bennett is a busybody. Incidental tongue twisters aside, 2012 has thus far been a packed year for Bennett, and with no signs of letting up. Whether trying to figure out what to play while touring across Europe, co-ordinating events under the MTT banner (including MTT Fest last March), or preparing concept albums to be recorded on the West Coast — and that’s just a few of the things he mentions over a pint — he maintains an air of excitability. Fittingly, it’s a bit tough to keep him on one subject, with conversation about his upcoming set at Broken City on May 31 often veering into discussions about anything from folk music of the early 1900s, to contemporary electronica.

First on the horizon — after the aforementioned show — is a new record tentatively titled Shuffle, to be recorded with M. Geddes Gengras in Los Angeles this June. Having met Gengras (along with Cameron Stallones, a.k.a. Sun Araw, with whom Gengras accompanied on the recent FRKWYS Vol. 9 album) at MTT Fest, the musicians quickly found common ground.

“We hung out after meeting at [MTT Fest]. M. Geddes runs Green Machine, [which is] his home studio, where he has lots of this cool old-school analog stuff, and weird, esoteric and exotic instruments,” Bennett explains. “It looked like a good place to record.”

The idea for Shuffle, loosely based around brief snippets of sound textures and assorted samples to be played in random order, was initially conceived while in Berlin last February.

“I went to a conference that talked about the way we digest music in the digital age, as well as some interesting things about electronic music, like sampling and the recontextualization of previous sounds, even just little beeps on your computer or cellphone — taking that type of thing and incorporating it into music — as well as how we listen to things so much differently now that you can download everything so easily.”

As a listening experience, Bennett uses terms like “quantum experience” and “textural landscapes” to convey themes of unpredictability and rapid change.

“If you listen to it on shuffle, it’s like — you don’t know what will go next, but all the tracks segue into each other. It’s very rapid,” says Bennett. “Bruce Palmer’s The Cycle is Complete and Spectrum/Sonic Boom, his Forever Alien album — it was influenced by those albums.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bennett’s live show is also a hodgepodge of assorted directions and ideas, but he does offer the following as a loose framework:

“Some of what I’ll be doing is more electronic-focused — not like party dubstep or anything, but sort of more droney electronic stuff. I do a lot of live looping, and sort of build soundscapes, but I also play acoustic — like old traditional music. I was on tour in mainland Europe in March, but I spent the month before sort of experimenting, so I was really thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to do all this electronic music,’ but mostly what I ended up doing was electronic-ish reinterpretations of really old, like 1930s and earlier, music,” Bennett laughs.

“It’s like traditional music through modern production sensibilities or something. It makes sense to me, but it’s definitely — I don’t really play the same show twice ever, so it’s always an adventure as to what sort of mood I’ll be in.” - FFWD Weekly


Discography

Shadows and Reflections: An Anthology
Nov 2012

Nyabinghi Summer
Aug 2012

Fläshbax
Jan 2012

The Good Neighbour Get-Together Revisited [Music of The Carter Family] (Vol. 1)
Oct 2010

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Bio

Barnaby Bennett is a Canadian musician with a prolific track record of late. His catalog is a deep, genre-hopping body of work that is full of forays into everything from traditional folk, psychedelic pop & country rock, to experimental synthesizer music. At times, his tracks are a kaleidoscopic patchwork of all these types of sounds.

Barnaby's forthcoming Umor Rex Records release Shadows & Reflections: An Anthology is a 20 track collection highlighting some of the brightest moments from his back catalog. Shadows & Reflections also marks the debut release of two songs recorded in summer 2011 at Wayne Moss' legendary Cinderella Sound studios in Nashville, TN with Country Hall of Fame members Charlie McCoy & Russ Hicks, as well as Johnny Cash's niece - Lorrie Carter Bennett. These collaborations came about as a result of Barnaby's passion for the music of The Carter Family, which is he known to perform frequently in concert. He also has an ongoing series of records that consist solely of Carter Family material entitled The Good Neighbour Get-Together Revisited, volume 1 of which is available on bandcamp.

Another track from the new album, Dengue Fever, was recorded in Los Angeles this summer with M. Geddes Gengras. They also recorded a forthcoming record together called Shuffle which consists of multiple short modular synthesizer pieces, designed to be played on shuffle in order to create a unique listening experience every time its heard.

His live performances are also quite unique - on any given evening you could see him leading a full rock & roll band, performing acoustic guitar music, or playing to electronic accompaniment which is constructed on the fly before the audience's eyes. He has played shows all over North America & Europe, and shared the stage with the likes of Sonic Boom, Prince Rama, Blitzen Trapper, Sun Araw, BRAIDS and more. In addition to the collaborators listed earlier, he has made music alongside Damo Suzuki, Julia Holter, Amos Garrett & P.F. Sloan. Barnaby is an exciting & refreshing performer who is fully engaged with the sounds & technology of today, while consistently pointing back to the rich musical past from which he draws inspiration. He will be on the road a lot in the coming months; touring Canada in December, Europe in January/February, and the United States in March 2013.

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