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Rhythm of the street

Citizen Staff Writer



Local instrumental band Calle Debauche – listing such influences as Frank Zappa, ’70s avant-garde rock and eastern European folk – plays music that is impossible to squeeze into any one genre. It’s also impossible to dance to.

“You want to dance, but you can’t,” says guitarist Mohadev. “Sometimes, people dance because it has danceable elements, but then it’s constantly changing. As soon as you start dancing we’ll go into a noise thing where it’s unclear how to dance.”

“But if somebody is up for the challenge . . . ,” marimba player Chris Halvorsen dares.

Calle Debauche was formed in 2006 as a guitar, bass and drum trio but has since replaced bass with tuba, saxophone and marimba. Mixing horns with rock influences, Mohadev found tuba player Dave LeGendre and sax player Guillem Sarle through their listings on craigslist. LeGendre was looking to play in a small classical band while Sarle was trying to start a funk band of his own. Instead, they both wound up contributing to the eclectic stylings of Calle Debauche.

Mixing horns with rock influences, Calle Debauche – translated as “street debauchery” or “debauchery street” – sounds a bit like an orchestra gone wild.

“We combine a lot of elements that the connection between them is not very obvious,” Mohadev says. “A lot of the stuff we play is really heavy, and I’ve never heard a band playing heavy music with a tuba instead of a bass player or with a marimba player.”

Based on the types of music each musician in the band prefers, this eclectic result is no surprise. According to Mohadev, drummer Fred Malter listens to Latin jazz, tuba player LeGendre prefers metal, Sarle favors funk while Halvorsen jams to folk music and ’70s rock. As for Mohadev, his eclectic tastes include Bulgarian wedding music, death metal and post punk among countless others.

Calle Debauche fuses this elaborate combination into one big genre-bending medley.

“A lot of our music is instrumentation and the blending of different styles in a very seamless way instead of just genre-hopping,” he says. “We combine different styles into the same songs or the same compositions.”

Calle creates these intricate songs using a composing program called Mozart. The program allows the musicians to write arrangements and then play the result back on their computer.

“It sounds like video game music,” Mohadev says.

From there, the musicians print sheet music and pass it to the rest of the band to learn how to play the songs.

“We don’t really know exactly what it’s going to sound like until we start playing it and interpreting what’s been written,” Mohadev says. “We make a lot of stylistic decisions on how to play the parts.”

May 21, Calle Debauche will have a party at Plush to celebrate the release of its first CD. The self-titled disc is a vast departure from the band’s 2007 EP “Potemkin Carnival,” Mohadev says.

“The EP was all over the place. Each song was in a different style,” Mohadev says. “The new one is a lot more focused.”

While audiences at the CD release party may have difficult time dancing to the music, they probably will never be bored, Halvorsen says.

“We try to keep the intensity up so the show is pretty fast paced. Just song after song, we jump from one to another.”


What: Calle Debauche CD release party with Flagrante Delicto and Chris Black

When: 9 p.m. May 21

Where: Plush, 240 E. Sixth St.

Price: $5

Info: 798-1298, www.plushtucson.com

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