“A Sprawling Fun Factory” is how music writer Tom Surowicz puts it, or “Monty Python goes to New Orleans” in the words of Tim, the doorman at Minneapolis’ legendary Viking Bar. The Brass Messengers are a ten piece group that formed from the marriage between street music and theater. It’s DIY punk in the purest sense, infectious dance music and a mobile party all packaged in a brass band.
The CD, “Metal Harvest” is a new and purely Minneapolis Sound. The Brass Messengers began in 2000 as a brass “cover band”, trying their hands at the Roma music of the Balkans, New Orleans street parade sounds, African Highlife and Jamaican Ska among others, but with this new release they have come into their own with a Minneapolis take on the brass street band. The twelve songs on “Metal Harvest” include seven originals and five original takes on songs by others. The music is a celebratory sound that is at times a joyous circus, at other times a train nearly derailed and sometimes a reflection of the beauty of this world.
The mix of songs on Metal Harvest range from the rich, infectious grooves of “Brass Forecast” and “E” to “Yana’s Sync o Swing” and “Momma Razzi” that hint at European folk roots but are firmly rooted in the American Midwest. The title track, Metal Harvest is a grinding sludge of low brass lava, while the Street Sweep Hangover is Nino Rota revived. The “covers” include a Cumbia-style twist on Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” to brass band updates to classic Italian and Turkish folk music. To finish it off, Booka B, of Wants vs. Needs provides a remixed dub style take on “Mask on the Mantle” from the Brass Messengers first Self Titled release.
1. Brass Forecast (Percussive Heavy and Samba-esque)
2. Yana’s Sync o Swing (MPLS Gypsy Swing)
3. Metal Harvest (Sludge of Molten Brass)
4. E (A tribute to Ethan, a Fall Brass Messenger)
5. I’m Your Man (A Cumbia take on Leonard Cohen)
6. Sole (A swirling dance round)
7. Momma Razzi (A new traditional)
8. Street Sweep Hangover (Nino Rotta revived)
9. Jumpin’ Beans (A brass band take on a Ska Classic)
10. Amara Terra Mia (A song of our ancestors lands)
11. Uskdar'a Giderken (A Turkish melody, R&Red)
12. Mask on the Mantle(Booka B Remix) (Dancehall remix from the Brass Messengers’ first CD)