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The idea is to mix the roots of American music with the various forms of world music to create an unusual otherworldly sound. The result is unique!
With the energy of a Romanian brass band, blues, country, jazz, pop and soul of the 1920s and ’30s to the ’50s and ’60s meets Klezmer, Jamaican calypso, New Orleans R, swing, avant-garde jazz, Tuvan-Mongolian ballads and Middle Eastern fables.
Duel harmonicas, guitar, trumpet and a drum/tuba rhythm section back vocals of real originality, guests add Romanian cimbalom, electric banjitar, contrabass sax, claviola and bass marimba, while a gang of genuine Tuvan throat singers round it all out. Totally unique, highly recommended.
Hazmat Modine draws from the rich soil of American music of the 20’s and 30’s through to the 50’s and early 60’s, blending elements of early Blues, Hokum Jugband, Swing, Klezmer, New Orleans R & B, and Jamaican Rocksteady. The band is fronted by two harmonicas which use call and response, harmony, melody, and syncopated interweaving rhythms. The band includes tuba, guitar, and percussion, claviola and Hawaiian steel guitar. The band’s sound reflects musical influences ranging from Avant-garde Jazz to Rockabilly and Western Swing to Middle-Eastern, African, and Hawaiian musical styles.
This long-awaited debut CD is a uniquely intercontinental sonic collage encompassing a tremendous range of instrumental, vocal, and conceptual originality–all with a lot of soul and groove. Like the mythological beast of its title track, Hazmat Modine’s Bahamut holds the world in its eye. Its fourteen songs are steeped deep in American roots but merge influences as diverse as Romanian brass, Middle Eastern fable, Jamaican Calypso, and Tuvan-Mongolian ballad…
“[…] Bahamut is a raucous, raunchy, universally passionate celebration of life. ” John Noyd -Maximum Ink
“[…] Hazmat Modine is surely one of the most remarkable musical groups that has made one of the most remarkable records I’ve ever heard… My ears turned inside out in every direction to hear all of it. What fantastic music!” Bengt Eriksson – Roots, Denmark
“[…] Leader Wade Schuman is a fellow traveler, one who’s cashed in an unusually high number of frequent-flier miles pursuing his mojo. A dizzying harmonica player (check out his solo feature, “Lost Fox Train”) and soulful guitarist, Schuman steers a combo whose members have punched the clock in jazz, Latin, klezmer and Hawaiian-swing groups. No doubt that’s why Hazmat Modine sounds so comfortable crunching styles ranging from ska to Balkan brass raves and beyond, not to mention jamming with Tuvan overtone singers Huun-Huur-Tu on three tracks. Bahamut is thick with ear-tickling arrangements, such as the two harmonicas, two tubas, bass saxophone, Hawaiian steel guitar and cimbalom of “Who Walks in When I Walk Out?” Schuman’s winningly gruff vocals are well suited to a bluesman’s typically put-upon malaise. He also has a knack for turning a poetic phrase, as in “Dry Spell” (“You say that you’re so thirsty / You’d even drink my tears”). The disc is liberally soaked in whimsy, nowhere more so than on the title track: Even gargantuan fish gods of ancient lore get the blues, it seems.” Steve Smith – TimeOut New York
“[…] Dazzling also seems an appropriate adjective for this wildly eclectic NYC band. At first blush, Hazmat Modine is a blues band: harmonicas, resonator/slide guitars, drums, some horns. But then there’s the throat singing (of Huun Huur Tu) and Alexander Fedoriouk’s cimbalom. A disorienting moment later, you settle into a mysterious undiscovered country, a crossroad where the collision of Tuvan, Roma, and Americana not only makes sense, it’s inevitable. Imagine a plane carrying the Squrrel Nut Zippers and Bob Brozman crashing among a troupe of Roma encamped on the Tuvan steppe, and you’ll start to get the idea. It’s world music for blues/swing fans, Americana for world music junkies, and just damn good […]” Scott Stevens – SOUND ROOTS, U.S.
“Hazmat Modine’s newly issued Bahamut (Barbes/Geckophonic) provides a winning showcase for a harmonica-fronted, brass heavy band that mines an exotic blues from the farthest reaches of the planet.” TimeOut New York
“[…] Saying that it’s hard to define a musical genre for Bahamut would be a grave understatement. In fact that is, to me, one of it’s endearing qualities. Bahamut is a world music album in the best sense of the word: it draws inspiration from varied musical traditions around the world and blends them in a coherent and unique sound…. The breadth and variety of instrumentation and arrangements in Bahamut is astounding […]” Ben Felton – Planet Harmonica, France
“It lives and moves! Finding this CD was like stepping through a looking glass into a strange new world where the blues is a vital art form, world music has a beat, pop is interesting, jug bands have something to say, and the harmonica is an expressive musical instrument. I’m there, I’m listening and looking around, and I just can’t believe it’s real – but it must be, because I keep playing it, again and again. Lots of folks commenting on the many and eclectic influences of this new CD and it’s all true and clever but it is just more than the sum of its parts. May God and Wilson Pickett forgive me for saying so, but this CD has […] soul. It really has a real soul that lives and breathes and makes about a dozen crappy tired genres wake up, hug each other and dance. They dance together for the first time, and I suspect right now they are out having sex somewhere. I just hope they have kids.” Larry Rapoport of Eatingaway
“Equally good as ecstatic party record and headphone album, Bahamut is a lock for best full-length debut of 2006… It’ll be hard for anybody to beat the wild, dyonisian fun, spectacular musicianship and off-the-wall psychedelic outrageousness that frontman Wade Schuman and his army of cohorts have come up with here. Hazmat Modine’s sprawling, rustic, frequently hypnotic improvisational style defies categorization…If the Coen brothers ever made a Prohibition-era movie, Hazmat Modine would be the ideal band to do the soundtrack. The songs on this CD swing and slink through an amber half-light, like some 19th century medium lit up with a wormwood grin on the way to a triumphant post-seance bash.” TRIFECTAGRAM Choice Pick: Bahamut
“Wow. The hair on the back of my neck rises up every time I hear the title track. To try and classify this album under a handy-hyphenated genre name is to do it a disservice… Vocals that go from sweet and playful, to possessed and howling, with lyrics that are enchanted… the comfortable and familiar blended with sounds that fell from the moon. An album that’s reminiscent of favorites from your past, but is closer to that thing you thought you saw once, heard once, so long ago – or did you just imagine it? – And how does it pull off being so goofy and hot and fun, and strike me as being so spiritual? I hear tons of different, eclectic, unusual music all the time, vintage and new, from all over the map, and I want you to know that you need to hear this album. Honest.” Frank Mallis – WFM KALX Radio
“Hazmat Modine is the kind of ensemble that could have come only from New York. The core group consists of harmonica virtuosos Wade Schuman and Randy Weinstein, tuba player Joseph Daly, drummer Richard Huntley, guitarist Pete Smith, and Pamela Fleming on trumpet and flugelhorn. The fifteen-track CD presents an ensemble with a Sybil complex of multiple musical personalities. “Yesterday Morning” resembles a New Orleans funeral dirge with a reggae beat. “It Calls Me” melds the Mississippi Delta with Huun-Huur-Tu’s Asian-born Tuvan throat singing. The exotic array of instruments includes the Romanian cimbalon, zamponia, Hawaiian steel guitar, electric banjitar, contrabass sax, claviola, and bass marimba. In the hands of lesser musicians this stuff would sound like a mess, but these guys make it work, with dancing diplomacy that would put the U.N. to shame. If this isn’t world music, I don’t know what is.” Eugene Holley, Jr. – Amazon.com