Moonpedro and the Gold Fish — The Beatles "White Album" Revisited
(Apollon Records AP036, 2018, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-27I first encountered Pedro Carmona-Alvarez with his Let’s Pig album, which he recorded with his band The Sinking Ship. This album finds him collaborating with a group called The Gold Fish, which apparently consists of Anders Bitustøyl, Einar Sogstad, and Lars Heintz. I don’t think the group has ever existed outside of this recording. Moonpedro says, “For many years I dreamed of making a deconstructed, playful version of The Beatles’ eponymous and iconic album from 1968, generally known as The White Album. But it was first after meeting pianist Einar Sogstad that I realized that the project was something more than just a crazy idea; our mutual interest, love and passion for The Beatles’ music made us start working on these songs in 2011.” One of the notable things about the original album is its mixture of conventional (even old-fashioned) songwriting, edgy rock, and psychedelic experimentation. The quartet approaches the material in a very interesting way, treating some of the more conventional tunes in an experimental way, and going the opposite direction on others. Just as The Beatles made use of just about every trick available to them in the 60s, Moonpedro and crew bring all that plus some modern developments to bear on the songs. So we get “Blackbird” done as an 80s synth-pop tune, “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” as an abstract collage, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as an eerie dirge of drones and funereal percussion, “Martha My Dear” reimagined as a country-rock song, “I’m So Tired” as a lounge singer’s version of the blues, “Revolution 9” as a rinky-dink medley of Beatles hooks, and many more oddities. It’s all done in a spirit of reverent fun, with a lo-fi charm that’s quite appealing. I don’t know what kind of reaction this would get from someone who’s not a fan of the source material, but for a Beatles lover, it’s a fascinating effort that doesn’t treat the songs as sacred.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more