New Tune Review: Barbtarbox in secret

On Sunday, May 29, 2022, Barbtarbox played an aching lullaby to a crowd of several squirrels, many beetles and about thirty or forty human beings  behind the glowing eyes of a not-so-secret, secret house. This house serves a beacon for performers like Barbtarbox, a dreamy, shoe-gaze duo from Waterloo. 

Repititious phrases accompanied by the hum of displaced electronics spilled into the cool evening. Noooami, one half of Barbtarbox, emphasises the dynamic integrity of their composition through live mixing—adding midi keyboard sounds, samples, bass guitar and a drum machine as Mic’s jangly guitar and spectral voice echoes over the fence posts. Disharmony distinguishes the collaborators as agents of individualism who coalesce when the feeling is right. Droning walls of noise grow like ivy over a programmed 808 bass drum which kicks through a bossanova-type beat. A subtle effect adds a crunch to the drum hits. An audio sample of indiscernible chatter plays through warbling noises as a quiet guitar riff burns through the moment and a familiar, admittedly cheeky, Interpol cover song leaks through the scripture of memory.

There is an ephemeral quality to live musical performances. Especially when the music shared in the moment only exists in the moment. The music taps into you, takes you, lets you go and then it just disappears into the air like a memory. Eventually, it fades. You can’t rely on your cell phone videos to exact any amount of justice in terms of quality. These videos themselves are mere tomes to a lived experience. The experience itself is having had one in the first place.

Genres: Shoegaze, Electronic, Pop Minimalism, Ambient, Noise, Singer/Songwriter

Associated Acts: NOOOAMI/NO-MAD, Eddy Evvy