04 Sybarite5Collective Wisdom
Bright Shiny Things (brightshiny.ninja)

New York string quintet Sybarite5 is back with their first studio album in five years performing nine single movement tracks combining classical, contemporary, improvisations and folk sounds. The two original band members double bassist Louis Levitt and violinist Sami Merdinian are now joined by three new members – violinist Suliman Tekalli, violist Caeli Smith and cellist Laura Andrade. 

Paul Sanho Kim’s arrangement of Punch Brothers’ Movement and Location is zippy with repeated violin fast lines, grooves and ideas keeping listeners enthralled. Three short Komitas Armenian Folk Songs are arranged by Sybarite5’s Merdinian (himself of Armenian heritage). In The Red Shawl a yearning sense is depicted by low held strings with above lines. Spring is tearjerking, with slow and solemn low bass held notes and gradual instrumental entries. Oh Nazan features a faster rhythmic hopeful opening with high pitched lines.  

Tight ensemble playing featuring Greek melodies with reggae rhythms embodies Curtis Stewart’s Mangas. Jessica Meyer’s Slow Burn is held together by similar danceable ideas in different sections. Composed earlier during a period of loss, Pedro Giraudo’s own arrangement of his Con un nudo en la garganta is a slow dark tango that builds to closing intensity. Michael Gilbertson’s Collective Wisdom third movement starts with snappy percussive string pizzicatos that continue to add tension until the sudden accented loud closing with bangs. Jackson Greenberg’s so different Apartments has rain, coffee machines, AM radio news sound and electronics while each musician is given the freedom to play their lines as they wish.

Sybarite5 brilliantly play breathtaking music to be enjoyed over and over.

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