The new Black Nail Cabaret album “Woodland Memoirs” is deliberately designed as a very different beauty from all the Hungarian avant-garde synth pop duo’s previous releases.
“Your music is all done by computers” is an undead notion that every band in the field of electronic music has heard in a myriad of variations many times over. As boring as this age old attempt at a sorry joke is, Black Nail Cabaret decided to come up with a creative answer: challenge accepted.
The thrilling outcome of their musing upon the nature of electronic and analogue music that the Hungarians engaged in is a one-off experiment for which Black Nail Cabaret enlisted the help of close musician friends: guitarist Tamás Számvéber, saxophone player Márton Barják, a former member of Hungarian ska act CsizmáSKAndúr, and Péter Laskay on drums.
Under the moniker Black Nail Cabaret and Friends, the Hungarians release a stunning full-length that is in many ways a part of their musical cosmos but at the same time an exciting side-project branching off from their regular works into an unexplored dimension.
Black Nail Cabaret hand-picked a total of eleven tracks from each of their previous releases. Those were transformed into Black Nail Cabaret and Friends songs by adding guitars, drums, and saxophone in a semi-live recording process that left room for improvisation and went with the flow. In order to stress the organic character of their own ‘cover versions’, the band added beautiful footage recorded in the pine woods at the Agostyán Arboretum, Hungary.
The results of the musical experiment could hardly have been more stunning: “Woodland Memoirs” allows the compositions of Black Nail Cabaret to shine in new light. It puts a bright spot on the power of vocalists Emèse Árvai-Illes amazing voice and adds clarity to the deep lyrical content. At the same time, the genius of Krisztián Árvai’s songwriting becomes far more apparent with the reduction of the electronic effects and their transfer into an organic context. The brilliance of the Hungarian duo’s previous works reveals itself in all its glory while metaphorically viewed through an analogue lens.
When Black Nail Cabaret emerged onto the international scene with their sophomore album “Gods Verging on Sanity” in 2020, the duo managed to rapidly spread their excellent reputation mainly through word of mouth despite the limitations enforced upon them by the global pandemic.
At the time, Black Nail Cabaret had already left an impressive mark upon the electronic music scene of their native Hungary with the self-released debut full-length “Pseudopop” (2018) that successfully fused art, pop, dark harmonies and powerful electronics.
From the start, Black Nail Cabaret are marked by a penchant for sexually explicit provocation. While the Hungarians avoid embarrassing cheap clichés, they artistically depict their living BDSM reality, which is framed by high aesthetic standards.’
With “Woodland Memoirs”, Black Nail Cabaret and Friends share a singular musical experiment with the world that has beautifully gone even far better than expected by happily transgressing genre and style and opening their music to ears both in and beyond the world of electronic sound.
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