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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Hamster Theatre website  Hamster Theatre - The Public Execution Of Mister Personality [Cuneiform - 2006]

American composer and multi-instrumentalist Dave Wiley, who lived in Europe for some time where he recorded a self-released cassette named Songs From The Hamster Theatre, inspired by a lot of musical styles. When he moved back to the US he formed this band to perform these pieces.

The band’s name suggests quirky, funny-sounding music. Which is true, but only in part. Over the course of this double disc set you will taken through a colourful musical landscape with many moods. The list of musical heroes is endless: Frank Zappa, Beatles, Taraf De Haïdouks, Miles Davis, Devo, Faust, Erik Satie, Henry Cow, John Zorn etcetera etcetera. Not that this is one of those genre-hopping bands, in the end we find a fairly consistent sound, mostly rather acoustic in nature. Electric guitar is there too, but it melds comfortably in the overall sound, only to step forward when things get darker and scarier.

The first disc, the one titled The Public Execution Of Mister Personality is the studio-album. The thirteen tracks reveal an imaginative mind and the music has a strong theatrical aspect. Hamster Theatre tells stories without explicitely telling you one, as the music is instrumental. But you’re invited to think up your own, with music to match all kinds of events. Happy and violent scenes, romance, a funeral and many other thrilling adventures. The music is complex in structure but never for the sake of it, it all comes across quite naturally thanks to the level of musicianship.

Quasi Day Room: Live At The Moore Theatre is a live CD. I think that this disc has a more energetic performance than the studio disc, which seems logical. I must say that this part of the album grabbed me first. More than disc one, although getting acquainted with Quasy Day Room shed a different light on the first disc. The better sound, albeit richer in detail, did take a cut on spontaneity a bit.

Despite all the very different influences, the clarinet and accordeon in particular keep everything together in a tighly knit patchwork than will keep you interested quiet easily. Although the title speaks of a ‘public execution’ the overall vibe is much more positive and thoroughly entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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