November 06, 2003

bexar bexar 'haralambos'

Instrumental music often runs the risk of becoming painfully anonymous. I mean, you know that it's going to be limited to some extent--it is instrumental music, after all, and even the loudest screaming guitar parts and blazing drums and burning-up synths can get real boring real quick-like, especially if the musical style in question doesn't really change. True, some have made careers out of making light, tight instrumental music--Yanni, Tortoise, Harold Budd (yeah, i know, he read poems over his, it ain't the same thing, bucko) all have made their millions off of the genre.

Bexar Bexar's the lastest band to come to the table, and though they only know one trick, they do it really well, and their debut album, Haralambos, is nothing short of pleasant. It's apparent that they're aware of the anonymity of being an all-instrumental band, because they do their best to be as anonymous as possible. There's no details on who is in the band, or if Bexar Bexar even is a band. There's nothing save for some blurry photos of people on the beach, but even those look like they could have been taken thirty years ago. Nope, all we get on the cover is the tracklisting and some pictures.

Oh, and there's some music on here, too. Seeing as I've already mentione Tortoise, I might as well say that though Bexar Bexar don't sound like Tortoise, they do remind me a lot of the Tortoise-related band Brokeback, but with an occasional country vibe. Many of these songs have that whole 'soundtrack' slash incidental music feel to them, especially the lovely "Pay Attention," "Las Cruces" and "Adios." Of course, such a soundtracky vibe is to their credit; several of the songs on Haralambos appeared as incidental music on the NPR program This American Life.

Though their sound seems to combine a little bit of jazz and little bit of electronica, Bexar Bexar never sounds like either, instead, they've made a post-everything record that's as easy on the ears as a windy day. Haralambos is a quiet experience meant for those quiet moments of thought and reflection that oh so need a soundtrack. And we still don't know who did it, either--and it's probably best that way. Names are unimportant, after all; it's the moment that matters, and if the soundtrack of your life needs brief passages of instrumental reflection, then Bexar Bexar have what you need.

--Joseph Kyle

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