Park Slope Cosmopolitan: Las Rubias del Norte play the music of South American cowboys and Cuban lounge-lizardsBy Robbie Whelan
The back room at Barbès, a dark little hole-in-the-wall on Ninth Street in Park Slope, is separated from the front bar by a thin wall with a window cut out of it, the way a garage might be separated from a basement rec room. Depending on what night you stop by, the music coming from back there can be almost anythingmangue beat music from Brazil one night, a Hank Williams honky-tonk cover band the next night, and on the weekend, a guy who explores and re-creates the music of the great French accordionists of the thirties. You learn to be surprised.
British composer, tape-music pioneer, and “library music” genius Basil Kirchin (b. 1927) died on June 18 after a long bout with cancer. In the years before his death Kirchin was fortunate enough to see his work rediscovered by a new generation of experimental-music aficionados (including Brian Eno and Jim O’Rourke), after languishing for decades in the obscurity well known to decades-ahead-of-their-time sound artists.
It was one of those nasty humid days we experienced all summer, and the sun was setting as I arrived at The Pink Pony on Ludlow. I was there to interview stellastarr*, whose sophomore effort (Harmonies for the Haunteddarker, more mature, and more spacious than their debut release) drops September 13.