The Arty Semite

Horas for Headbangers

By Keith Meatto

  • Print
  • Share Share
AutorYno
David Konopnicki and his fretless guitar.

Back in 1997, “Buena Vista Social Club” introduced American audiences to a style of Cuban music that was popular in Havana in the 1950s. The album charmed the critics, topped the charts, spawned a documentary film, and was championed by Starbucks when the coffee behemoth decided to become a curator of world music.

Such a crossover seems unlikely with “Pastrami Bagel Social Club,” the debut album by AutorYno, a French trio who are playing in New York this week as part of the Tzadik Records Guitar Festival. With their pastiche of jazz precision, punk rock fury, and heavy metal bombast, AutorYno sounds like a funky soundtrack to the apocalypse. Along the way, they tip their hats to klezmer music and Jewish culture, most notably with a “Traditional Hora” that sounds like what might happen if you hired Metallica to play at your wedding.

Despite its hard-edged sound, “Pastrami Bagel Social Club” aims beyond headbangers, as evidenced by its release on Tzadik, the record label of avant-garde guru John Zorn. One thing that distinguishes AutorYno is that David Konopnicki plays a fretless guitar, which lets him slip and slide between pitches as if he were playing a violin or a cello. On “Kelev,” his swoops sound like dive bombs; later his slurs add a hypnotic effect to a six-note phrase that he repeats for more than a minute.

Listen to ‘Kelev’:

As the lead melodic instrument, Konopnicki’s guitar dominates AutorYno’s sound. The bass and drums mostly anchor the complex rhythms in the background, though they do have their moments in the spotlight. Drummer Cyril Grimaud takes a solo on “Five Flavors.” On “Crapaud,” Bertrand Delorme plucks, slaps, and pops his way through a bass solo that quotes John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

Throughout the record, AutorYno shows their eclecticism and versatility with sudden shifts in moods, dynamics, tempo, and time signatures. Sometimes, the abruptness makes the music feel disjointed, as when the accordion that opens “Ouverture Automatique” yields to distorted guitar sludge, then a klezmer-style clarinet. But mostly, the shifts are seamless and let the band cross-pollinate among musical genres.

If “Buena Vista Social Club” can be background music, “Pastrami Bagel Social Club” demands full attention — and should be played at full volume. Despite the seriousness and intensity of the music, however, AutorYno injects an air of playfulness with their song titles. “Kelev” is Hebrew for dog. “Malossol” refers to lightly salted caviar. “Crapaud” is French for toad and alludes to France’s royal heraldry; “Jean Crapaud” is slang for a typical Frenchman, the Gallic equivalent of John Bull in England or Joe Six Pack in America. Or since it’s election season, perhaps it’s best translated as Joe The Plumber.

AutorYno will be playing on Nov. 1 with Rashanim at Rose Live Music and on Nov. 2 with Edom at nublu.

Watch AutorYno play in July at the Sum Festival in France:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tzadik Records, Sum Festival, Tzadik Guitar Festival, Rashanim, Pastrami Bagel Social Club, Ouverture Automatique, Music, Metallica, Malossol, Klezmer, Kelev, Keith Meatto, John Zorn, John Coltrane, John Bull, Joe the Plumber, Jewish Music, Jean Crapaud, Five Flavors, Edom, David Konopnicki, Cyril Grimaud, Crapaud, Buena Vista Social Club, Bertrand Delorme, AutorYno, A Love Supreme, Yiddish

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.