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Daniel Bernard Roumain: Etudes4violin&electronix

Mark Corroto By

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If you were drawing a musical continuum, classical music would certainly be placed quite a distance from hip- hop. Violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) turns that straight-line continuum into a circle, and in doing so merges the world of hip-hop and classical, plus rock, funk, and electronics.

Ever since Stuff Smith stepped on a bandstand in the 1920s, jazz has made room for the violin as a tool for the amalgamation of classical and/or folk music with jazz. Think of Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, Billy Bang and Kahil El' Zabar, and of course the fusion violin of Jean-Luc Ponty.

The classically trained DBR is a perfect fit with Thirsty Ear's Blue Series experiments directed by label chief Peter Gordon and artistic director Matthew Shipp. Etudes4violin&electronix is a fine introduction to this artist, whose interests and directions are many. While he borrows from many styles, none overshadow his purpose here. The spacey opener reverberates with the sub-woofer thunder and electronic effects of DJ Spooky, yet maintains its identity throughout with a crisp violin line. DBR shares the melody with Peter Gordon's flute on this chilled track.

Next up is a straight duo with pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto entitled "The Need To Be. The pair relate a simple chamber piece, an intertwined cinematic vision of technically beautiful playing. Later the pair return with an ECM inspired duo on "The Need To Follow. If you were drawing a musical continuum, classical music would certainly be placed quite a distance from hip-hop. Violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) turns that straight-line continuum into a circle, and in doing so merges the world of hip-hop and classical, plus rock, funk, and electronics.

Ever since Stuff Smith stepped on a bandstand in the 1920s, jazz has made room for the violin as a tool for the amalgamation of classical and/or folk music with jazz. Think of Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, Billy Bang and Kahil El' Zabar, and the fusion of Jean-Luc Ponty.

The classically trained DBR is a perfect fit with Thirsty Ear's Blue Series experiments directed by label chief Peter Gordon and artistic director Matthew Shipp. Etudes4violin&electronix is a fine introduction to this artist, whose interests and directions are many. While he borrows from many styles, none overshadow his purpose here. The spacey opener reverberates with the sub-woofer thunder and electronic effects of DJ Spooky, yet maintains its identity throughout with a crisp violin line. DBR shares the melody with Peter Gordon's flute on this chilled track.

DBR and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto relate a simple chamber piece, an intertwined cinematic vision of technically beautiful playing on the duo track, "The Need To Be, later returning with an ECM-nspired duo on "The Need To Follow.

DBR's "Divergence, played with Philip Glass,could be mistaken for one of Glass' signature pieces. Elsewhere, the restlessness of youth is displayed on "The La La Song, a whimsical piece combining household objects including glass, keys and forks over an infectious handmade street beat. He continues the beats, employing Christian A. Davis aka DJ Scientific for an electronic hip-hop experience. The disc ends with a chilled ambient piece that begs for expansion into an entire album's worth of sound.

Daniel Bernard Roumain's amalgamation of classical and folk finds the contemporary version of folk music to be hip-hop, electronica, jazz, and ambient music. His soundscapes defy the derogatory term fusion, for a unified concept of music making.


Track Listing: Black Man Singing; The Need To Be; Resonance; The Need To Follow; Divergence; Metamorphosis; The La La Song; Fayetteville; Lava.

Personnel: Daniel Bernard Roumain: violin, vox, effects, piano, synth, percussive elements; DJ Spooky: beats, bass, effects, synths; Peter Gordon: flutes, effects, electronics, ambient textures; Ryuichi Sakamoto: piano; Philip Glass: piano; Daniel Louis Roumain: vox; Christian A. Davis: beats, bass, synths.

Title: Etudes4Violin&Electronix | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


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