To most fans of Fiddler On The Roof this cd will be a mere novelty at best. At worst, it will be viewed as a tragedy or a sick parody. But to the few people who understand the cd, it will be a treasure of unique angles.
I love Fiddler On The Roof. It's my favorite musical and I will never forget the time I saw it performed by a bunch of high school kids who acted their dear hearts out. I love the Jewish flavor to the music and I love the characters in the story.
Lucky for me, I also have a taste for music that is weird, or under the radar, or avant-garde, or all of the above. Because this cd brings it. You know what you're in for when the most recognizable groups featured are The Residents and Negativland.
"Knitting On The Roof", which is named after the record label that released it (Knitting Factory Records), is an interesting mix of artists who vary between folk, jazz, alternative, avant-garde, and just plain weird. Many of the songs utilize vocals, others are just instrumental. Some of the songs remain very faithful to the original version, others break the song down into something just shy of unrecognizable.
Tradition by New Orleans Klezmer Allstars- This rendition has a lazy feel to it, so it lacks the crisp conviction of the original. Which is due to the fact that the majority of it is instrumental. They take some major liberties with the lyrics, which purists will probably get their panties in a knot about. I feel that the song does a good job of kicking the cd off and introducing the listener to the atmosphere of the album.
Matchmaker by The Residents- People unfamiliar with The Residents seem to mistake this track completely. They see it as a silly carousel ride, sweet and innocent. Let me set the record straight. This is meant to be sinister and be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. That said, it's typical Resident fare. And despite the fact that I bought the cd for this song since I'm a huge Residents fan, it's not at all my favorite track.