Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Bright River 

Tim Barsky keeps pushing the limits of what he can accomplish onstage as a hip-hop flutist

Wednesday, Mar 17 2004
Tim Barsky keeps pushing the limits of what he can accomplish onstage as a hip-hop flutist. A talent for playing not just the flute but also multiple lines of beat-box rhythm through the same chest and mouth may sound a bit, um, self-limiting, because how many classical-music aficionados respond to human beat-boxing, and how many rap fans want to hear a flute? But Barsky belongs to a class by himself. He's not just a musician but a storyteller, who weaves myth-based political tales around his original music. (Fans of Joseph Campbell shouldn't miss him; people who loathe Joseph Campbell should probably keep away.) The Bright River is about Quick the Fixer descending to the City of the Dead in search of a Berkeley girl named Calliope, who commits suicide after her soldier boyfriend gets killed in Iraq. Barsky tells the story in phases, with generous interruptions of music by Jess Ivry (on cello), Shree Shyam (bass, marimba, electronic effects), and the incredible Andrew Chaikin, who can beat-box like a machine and work in vivid vocal sound effects, too (gunfire, bombs, flapping birds). Barsky has been known to overdo the myth material and a keening, rabbinical style of singing (to express joy or grief), but here he's careful enough with both ingredients to let The Bright River flow on its own.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"