Tim Hagans / BobBelden – Re-Animation: Live in Montreal

Tim Hagans / BobBelden Tim Hagans / BobBelden
Re-Animation: Live in Montreal
(Blue Note – 2000)
by John Barrett

The first thing we hear is a French announcer; the second thing we hear is a mess of samples (courtesy of Tribal Tech’s Scott Kinsey.) Bob Belden’s sax snakes through the air, followed by muted horn; the synth then whoops like a horn section. Images whoosh by, like trains in a crowded station … the ride has just begun.

Tiny themes appear here and there, but spontaneity prevails. When Kinsey plays video game noises on “Kingsize”, the drummer responds with a James Brown riff, and all turns funky. DJ Kingsize scratches a little, intertwines a lot of drum samples – as the crowd goes wild, we’re into another song. Under tense beats, Tim Hagans murmurs softly, then gives a nervous yelp. Belden is smoother, stretching in lines that take odd turns. Kinsey makes bleeps on his instrument, like ‘Seventies prog-rock; David Dyson follows his steps on a fuzzy bass, and we move in another direction. If this music is anything, it is definitely restless.

Starting with crunching noises, “28 If” builds by layers: drum machines, a barely-audible organ – then Hagans, calling out calmly. His moves are copied by Kinsey, for a contemplative sound. When Tim turns nervy, so does Scott, with a string of computer beeps. “Dark City”resounds with eerie whines; “Are You Threatening Me?” is a call-and-response blues, complete with ‘60s organ. (And a few psych effects – freaky!) The crowd gets into this one; likewise “Love’sLullaby”, a near-orchestral ballad. Hagans goes mellow, Kinsey’s keyboard moans like low brass, and the cymbals pour like mist. The concert seems to be over, but wait … the encore, “Trumpet Sandwich”, is fueled by hip-hop and served hot. Tim howls, the bass explodes; the samples multiply … the audience melts. At this show, many kinds of music collided, and the sparks flew.