Daniel Bernard Roumain

Woodbox: Beats & Balladry

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Haitian-born classical violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain has made a name for himself across the musical spectrum, performing with DJ Spooky, Emeline Michel, and Lady Gaga, composing work for dance companies, and, under his own banner, combining violin with electronics and programmed rhythms in a way that's no mere grafting of classical instrumentation to hip-hop à la Miri Ben-Ari, but a genuinely new sound. His beats are sparse and stuttering, and the occasional outbursts of turntable scratching are equally subtle and restrained, more in the style of DJ Krush than the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. His violin is both bowed and plucked, and subjected to various types of distortion and electronic manipulation. Some tracks erupt in bursts of outright noise. Occasionally other instruments, most notably piano, enter the mix, but there are no co-leaders and (mercifully) no vocalists; this is Roumain's show, and it's overwhelmingly a melancholy and quite beautiful one.

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