Farmers Market

Slav to the Rhythm

Written by: BV on 24/02/2013 16:43:31

Farmers Market is a Norwegian quintet that plays a peculiar blend of free-jazz, rock, avant-garde, bluegrass and Bulgarian folk music. – Just to mention a few of the genres they seem to dabble in. while their main focus of music seems difficult to pinpoint, there seems to be a strong fondness for the more ‘advanced’ musical areas like free-jazz but always with a touch of Bulgarian folk music.

“Slav to the Rhythm” – the band’s fifth album, is no exception. Across the variety of musical landscapes Farmers Market explores, there seems to be a consistent thread of Bulgarian folk music and jazz – even if it is just a little on some tracks. Now, this band is not easy to get into – they don’t possess pop-music accessibility and they certainly don’t seem to care. Farmers Market seems to be a passion project solely dedicated to making the music the band finds interesting to explore at the time, without greater worries about how to sell the album. Conceptually speaking, I am greatly reminded of notable Danish jazz/experimental/rock band Ibrahim Electric since their approach to making the music appears quite identical. Even though Farmers Market are not accessible as such, there are still quite a few tracks on this album that are, to say the least, quite catchy. A great example of this, is the track called “Shiny Happy Gizmos” which starts out with an epic orchestral sound, underlined by an almost 80’s like stadium rock guitar sound – a strange combination indeed. The rhythm that follows the intro though is by far the most interesting thing about the track, as the almost epic sounding intro gradually turns into a complicated, funky drumbeat before returning to the epic form.

The majority of the tracks on the album are instrumental, save for the occasional choir and such which allows for the instrumentation and the rhythm patterns to be that much more eclectic than usual, seeing as there are no lyrics that need to constrain the musical form of the track, it can basically go anywhere they would like it to go. The major exception to the instrumental dominance of this album, is the track called “Old Stuff Still Does the Trick” where the ever complex rhythms and the fantastic saxophone work of Farmers Market are joined by an eclectic, yet beautiful sounding piece of vocal work which I can only assume to be of Bulgarian origin - given my inability to even remotely understand the lyrics.

While I am utterly astounded and confused by many of the tracks on this album, I enjoyed listening to it quite a bit. This comes as no surprise to me though, since I am a fan of Ibrahim Electric, as well as the not so well-known Danish trio called Krumme Lanke, which also dabbles in experimental music and complicated rhythms. Slav to the Rhythm is a complex album, yet it is incredibly well made and produced. Even though complex music can have a tendency to get tiresome, I can’t really seem to get enough of Farmers Market. I might have to dig deeper into their back-catalogue and see what other musical gems they’ve got hidden, because I think they’ve got a quirky but cool thing going here.

Download: You’re the Prototypical, Old Stuff Still Does the Trick, Machines Rule
For The Fans Of: Ibrahim Electric, Krumme Lanke
Release Date 04.03.2013
Division Records

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