Bad Liver Mark Rubin describes Rubinchik's Orkestyr as "a group of like-minded musicians goofing on some cool old tunes they dug up." After listening to this collection of faithfully rollicking (mostly) Jewish folk songs, I've decided Rubin's use of "goofing" must refer to his own capacity for egregious understatement rather than the music. Recorded live on KUT's LiveSet and on the porch at Flipnotic's Coffeespace, the Orkestyr's organically emotive sound reigns in the highest highs and the lowest lows with pin-drop precision. The mix of accordion, violin, clarinet, guitar, tuba, and other acoustic instruments is richer than divinity. "Kad Ja Podjoh Na Benbasu" conveys a deep sense of emptiness and poverty that transcends modern comfort. At the other end of the spectrum, "Di Rebbe Elimelech" sounds like a playful children's song re-interpreted by a sneaky bunch of rose-cheeked inebriates. And then there's the Orkestyr's own "Mark went to Klez Kamp and (all) we got were these lousy Khosidls," a sing-along for all occasions. These time-tested wonders were made for harsh winters, but Rubin and Co. make them work just as well for oppressive summers.
3 Stars - Greg Beets