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The Operating Theater

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Album Review

From the opening chords of Brian Dewan's second full-length release, The Operating Theater, it is apparent few other recordings have achieved this degree of accessibility while maintaining such a unique sonic focus. Dewan's compelling storytelling and intelligent melodic sense — combined with his trusty sidekick, the electric zither — make a seamless transition from his 1993 debut, Tells the Story. The Operating Theater borrows the dark wit and chiming zither from Tells the Story and balances it effortlessly with the heartbreaking, sometimes haunting tone color of an orchestra of mellotrons and organs, while still maintaining the minimalist qualities vital to Dewan's compositions. His reedy voice rings clear — strong in his delivery, uncanny in his timing, and confident with his entire presentation. From the beautiful opening oddity "Where They Belong" to the destructive "Loathsome Idols," the macabre "Cadavers," and the innocent debriefing session of "First Day of School," The Operating Theater is "all killer, no filler."


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A strikingly independent and original talent, Brian Dewan blends whimsy tradition and a subversive sense of humor into his many projects, which include (and sometimes combine) music, artwork, and furniture-making. A resident of Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, Dewan plays an orchestra's worth of quirky instruments, including the autoharp, accordion, Moog, and theremin -- as well as guitar and organ -- but his signature instrument is the electric zither, which he built in 1989 from pieces of an electric...
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The Operating Theater, Brian Dewan
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