Mark Harris • Mike Johnson • Raoul Rossiter • Jon Stubbs • Dave Willey

Hamster Theatre straddle the edges of folk music, avant-garde, world music, early 20th century French composers, such as Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel, contemporary composition and many other musical forms, bringing together elements of all these styles while never sounding 'just like' any one of them. Using an instrumentation of accordion, keyboards, trombones, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, guitars, mandolin, bass, drums and percussion, their pieces are always filled with delightful melodies and surprising orchestrations.


Hamster Theatre's official website


RUNE 226/227

In addition to the new studio album included here, there is a second disc of the band's stupendous live performance from August, 2002 at The Moore Theatre in Seattle. This CD is a perfect compliment to the studio disc, as it shows the amazing performance that 'the Hamsters' can put on in a live environment; Hugh Hopper called this performance, "Some of the most interesting music and one of the best live shows I've seen for years." Both discs were mixed by noted producer/engineer Bob Drake.

"Continuing in the grand tradition of European antecedents such as Henry Cow, Nimal, Albert Marcoeur and Lars Hollmer, they create a magical, unpredictable blend of modern classical, folk, world music and improvisation. Each of these finely wrought compositions is delivered with amazing technical dexterity, forcussing on melody, mood and dynamics. Public Execution presents a unified suite of songsand instrumental pieces representing the full spectrum of human emotions... Through the richly orchestrated, seamlessly arranged interplay of brass, winds, reeds, accordions, keyboards, guitars, bass and drums, bizarre yet beautiful compositions are fully realized. As a bonus, a stellar live set, recorded in 2002 is also included. Here the group really tears it up, performing with passion and daunting expertise." - Paul Lemos, Big Takeover

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RUNE 146

Hamster Theatre is co-led by multi-instrumentalists Dave Willey and Jon Stubbs, who composed the tunes and handled the majority of the instruments. But they are joined here by 10 additional guests, including guitarist Mike Johnson & reedist Mark Harris, who play with Dave in Thinking Plague. The result is the richest-sounding Hamster Theatre recording to date, featuring a wide variety of instrumentation, musical sources, and styles in a number of charming and accessible instrumental tunes. There are echoes here of a wide geographic, social, and chronological range of music: carnival and theatre music, European avant/progressive composers and bands, most notably L'Ensemble Raye & Nimal, 20th century French composers ranging from Satie and Ravel to Albert Marcoeur and Lars Hollmer, folk music forms from across the continent and sidewalk cafe musings from Eastern Europe. The end result – an early 21st century folk fusion – is pure Hamster Theatre.

"[Hamster Theatre] make up what is, in effect, a highly skilled chamber ensemble...the CD has a very European feel, offering a literate synthesis of rock, jazz & European folk forms. You can't really put this music into a tidy little compartment, but it's unforced, sophisticated & hightly entertaining. " 4/5 stars (Outstanding) - Alternative Press

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Cuneiform Records 2014

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