Bran Van 3000: Jamie `Bran Man' Di Salvio, "Electronic Pierre" Bergen, Sara Johnston, Jayne Hill, Stephane Moraille, Steve Hawley, Gary McKenzie, Nick Hynes, Rob Joanisse, Duane Larson, Adam Chaki, Haig Vartzbedian, Sidaffa Bakel, Lena Fankhauser, Martha Wainright, Monica Hynes, Lucie Laurier, Rick Rigby, Bob Eaglesham, Jean Leloup, Daniele Lindy, Tom Walsh, Eval Manigatt, Dorothy Clarke, J.F. Lemieux, Leanna White, Dave Hodge, Rick D'Anjou, John Kastner, Jimmy, R-Kade, Grym Reaper.
Producers: Haig Vartzbedian, Bran Man, E.P. Bergen, Bob Power.
Less a band than a musical collective, Canadians Bran Van 3000 are another cut-and-paste-modern pop group whose salad of sounds gives props to everything but string sections and modern-day Nashville. What separates them from other post-Beck collagists is that their 19-track opus adds up to a non-ironic smiley-face postcard from the end of the century, rather than some impenetrable thesis on pre-millennial tensions. When Bran Van's sample-happy juxtapositions wave their hands in the air like they just don't care, there's no smirk in their tone; they're just happy to be here, celebrating.
Within Bran Van's midst are multiple female vocalists--each of whom steps out front at least as much as they harmonize in the background--and a couple of male rappers. A male voice raps here ("Drinking in LA"), an alt-rock female singer fronts a synth-pop/post-punk pose there ("Problems"), while acoustically-driven folk melodies and serious hip-hop grooves abound. There are also numerous thrashing guitars and dub-wise effects. Think of the Bran Van experience as one of those loud and flashy Hollywood movies that promises only special effects, but actually ends up being a thoughtful film.
Q (11/99, p.142) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...excellent first time around. DJ/remixer James DiSalvio and his cohorts shift effortlessly from mood to mood, whether it's a 55-second dissonant jazz groove akin to a passing train or the trippy sophistry of 'Afrodiziak'..."