- Mutha Magazine

- From “A Child Grows in Brooklyn“:

Your New Favorite Album: In This Moment by Nikolai Moderbacher

Posted by on 11/18/13

InThisMomentCover Nikolai Moderbacher is a staple on the Brooklyn Music Together® circuit. If you haven’t taken one of his classes chances are, your friends have. He splits his time between Music Together on 1st Street, Brooklyn Heights Music Together and Hootenanny (can we start calling it the Church of Hootenanny, like the Church of John Coltrane in San Francisco, because apparently that place is full of prophets. Preach!). Here is what you don’t know about Nikolai: Despite playing music since he was thirteen, Nikolai didn’t set out to be a musician, a furniture designer maybe, but not a musician. But something kept him coming back to this so-called hobby until finally he stopped resisting. Completely self-taught, Nikolai has spent the last six years making music for kids. Here’s what Nikolai doesn’t seem to know: He’s really good at it. Maybe it was not going to school for it, or finding his way to a career in music later in life, but it seems he’s yet to fully embrace his own talent. Unconsciously self-deprecating, he refers to his wife and his brother (both contributors!) as “the real musicians in the family.” But I think that just depends on your definition of “real.” This album, titled In This Moment, is Nikolai’s third and most cohesive. It has a nice earthy sound, think Chuck Berry by way of The Clash, gritty production with high emotion. His voice is totally Nick Cave on Zoloft. Really, I hesitate to even call it kids music, but I suppose when he starts singing about eating up fruits of various colors, I can’t really deny the intended audience (“you can eat them plain or you can put them in a smoothie”). But aside from a few more mentions of “grandma” than your average rocker, it is a tough distinction to make. I mean, who doesn’t want to “cover the world with stickers”? Nikolai’s music leans far more toward the kid-friendly (as opposed to the kid-oriented) end of the spectrum, think Reggae not Raffi, The Beatles not The Backyardigans. He pulls lyrics and themes from his own experience as a father to his nine year old, like the song “Buckle it Up” born from the desperation of attempting to get kids in the car. Nikolai’s folky rhythm guitar is blues-ed up by some harmonica and the occasional riffing electric guitar. Musically, this has zero resemblance to the typical saccharine goo made for kids. You need this album. You need this for all those long holiday drives coming up, this is what will get you through. Sure, you can get it on iTunes (dropping today!), but why not cut out the middleman and get it right from the source, just download it from his website or email Nikolai directly. If we want our kids to be musically inclined, we have to model that behavior for them (groan, when do we get to watch tv and drink champagne?). So the more we engage, be it at music class or cranking up ye old tunes and shaking it in our living rooms, the more our screen-swiping, nose-on-sleeve wiping trouble makers will do the same. If your nose wiper has aged out of Music Together (or maybe your wallet has), you can always catch Nikolai at The Moxie Spot the first three Thursdays in December where he preforms his own stuff. Where’s my tambourine?