L'Ensemble Rayé — Ein Fest für Pu den Bären
(Kein & Aber, 2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-04-01L’Ensemble Rayé’s third (I believe) release is the soundtrack for a Swiss version of Winnie the Pooh. The tunes, mostly instrumental, are a charming combination of innocence and art, appropriate I suppose for everyone’s favorite Zen philosopher plush toy. A rotating crew of musicians play on the seventeen tracks, and eight of them have a hand in composing at least one. Styles range from goofy polkas to lovely multitracked guitars to bouncy (as in “Tiggers are...”) ska to ukulele settings of Milne poetry. The instrumentation is chosen to fit the characters and events of the stories depicted, though what instrument goes with what character changes from song to song. Sometimes Pooh is a clarinet, sometimes a tuba. There’s even a credit for “Tiegergitarrrre.” All the compositions are strong and musically interesting, even when the style is corny or silly, with unexpected chord progressions, sudden changes, and glorious incongruities, like surf guitar with accordion and a tuba for bass. I’m reminded of the great music from the classic Warner Brothers cartoons, though this is not as frenetic for the most part, a bit more laid back, as befits Pooh’s personality. Quite a contrast with the music we’d get for an American soundtrack, which would no doubt be by either Elton John or Randy Newman and utterly without surprises.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more