"Buben" means, basically, "mischievous lad," and that's what Carl is plus one more in Reichel. These wild rhythmic games, played on concertina, accordion, daxophone, and violin, are based in strange traditions -- those of Irish and English traditional music, and those of South African jive music, though God knows how. The concertina was invented simply because it would sound good when paired with the violin. There are hints of spooky melodies that come out of the ether of time itself, expired songs from forgotten times and irreverent baudy hymns that belong only in the hallways of free improvisation. The daxophone complements these other instruments beautifully because it is not reigned in by tonality.
The sections are to be divided by even and odd numbers, and that may have indeed been a strategy employed by Carl and Reichel, but it hardly matters. This is free improvising that leans heavily on the structure of song for its musicality, but nothing here could be called a song in any sense of the word. Perhaps this is what makes Buben...Plus such a joy; the goodwill and wildly inventive expression inherent in these pieces are positively infectious. Both men had a rowdy time playing together -- as Reichel and Carl usually do ---but this is perhaps the weirdest and yet most accessible collaboration they've released to date.
Released to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Notorious B.I.G.'s death, Greatest Hits places the two "collaborate with a dead legend" albums -- 1999's Born Again and 2005's Duets: The Final Chapter -- on equal ground with Ready to Die and Life After Death, the two landmark albums Biggie released while he was on the planet. Anthologizing one of the most compelling figures in hip-hop history seems like a right thing to do. Basing such a release around four albums that are greatly divided between essential and inessential, however, amounts to something of a mess. Two obscurities are used where it would've made much more sense to select "Mo Money, Mo Problems" and "Going Back to Cali," two of the biggest hits not included on this disc, and it's really off-balance to include three tracks from Born Again when only one more is pulled directly from Ready to Die. Longtime fans need not go near this; the same goes for beginners, who should reach for Ready to Die.