Brinsk: A Hamster Speaks


A Hamster Speaks




A Hamster Speaks (Nowt Records NOWT-001)

Buy Track


Aryeh Kobrinsky (bass),

Jacob Wick (trumpet), Adam Dotson (euphonium), Evan Smith (sax), Jason Nazary (drums)


Composed by Aryeh Kobrinsky


Recorded: Montreal, Canada, October 26-27, 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

I don't know if I buy into the whole "vision of a metal/opera/cartoon with hamsters singing classical arias over metal-based rhythmic structures" concept as presented in the accompanying press release for this CD. That idea seems as if it was thought up in some group peyote experience. The comic CD cover art pushes the same proposition. (Too bad this wasn't 25 years ago so the art could be full LP size.) But my qualms about the inspiration of the piece aside, I do buy the music.

The material on A Hamster Speaks is quite engaging. In a strange way it reminds me of English humor you see in those programs PBS imports for U.S. viewing. Some of the material is funny, but it is always presented in a serious way. It's like a guy dressed in a tuxedo telling a fart joke. Speaking of which, there is a song on this album that may as well be named "Ode to Flatulence." I was laughing out loud. But it is actually good creative music played at a very high level. You would have to hear the tune to understand.

"A Hamster Speaks" includes all of the devices offered in the press release such as the use of polyrhythms, chamber music, free jazz, some metal and rock sensibilities, etc. The tune starts with an ingratiating and dramatic horn section unison riff. An African beat takes us into the 1930s Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan jungle for a bit before a more standard rhythm takes over as leader and bassist Aryeh Kobrinsky presents his prestigious acoustic chops from the canopy above. Soon every animal for miles around is screaming for its mama. (Okay, maybe even some hamsters.) The cool opening riff then returns to calm the setting by force.

I apologize for having usurped the band's motivation and for putting this particular tune in an entirely different story. But that is what I heard. Peyote can do that to you. (Just ask Carlos Castaneda.) But whatever you want to call this music or whatever the band based it on, "A Hamster Speaks" is original, creative and downright entertaining.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky


  • 1 Rad Yarjan // Sep 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM
    I agree. Jazz is a legitimate and unique genre which does not to be augmented with snippets or riffs from other genres to become authenitcated. Bird, Evans and Davis didn't do it and they were greats. Swingle Singers and Peter Neo did, and they are nowhere in annals of Jazz.