Exposé Online banner

Phillip Johnston — The Adventures of Prince Achmed
(Bandcamp Asynchronous 002, 2018, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-06-01

The Adventures of Prince Achmed Cover art

Providing soundtracks to vintage silent films has become a very trendy thing for contemporary musicians, with bands like We Stood Like Kings devoting their entire efforts to it, and others such as Cabezas de Cera and Amy Denio also taking part. With The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Phillip Johnston takes on a very interesting film, one of the first animated features ever produced. Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 movie is the oldest surviving full-length animated production, and Johnston’s music provides an interesting accompaniment, sometimes offering unexpected juxtapositions. The film is available in various places online, so watching it with this new soundtrack is easily doable. The story is divided into sections which correspond to tracks on the album, and the moods fit nicely, with Johnston using some vintage-inspired elements to go with the images, though he avoids any kind of period fetishism, and freely incorporates modern touches as well. In general terms, the music could be called jazz, and has qualities in common with Johnston’s other ensembles, The Microscopic Septet and Fast ‘n’ Bulbous. The ensemble includes the composer on soprano sax, James Greening on trombone, Alister Spence and Casey Golden on keyboards, and Nic Cecire on drums. The keyboards most prominently include organ, which is used for a variety of atmospheric effects as well as melodies, chords, and bass lines. All of the compositions are engaging even aside from their relation to the action on the screen, and the album works on its own quite well. This is yet another success from Johnston, who is proving himself to be a formidable composer and leader within a musical niche of his own making.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Phillip Johnston / Coolerators, Alister Spence

More info
http://phillipjohnston.bandcamp.com/album/the-adventures-of-prince-achmed

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Horslips - Roll Back – It was a sad day in 1980 when I read in Melody Maker that Horslips were calling it a day. The premier Irish folk-rock band had survived a decade without a single personnel change, gone through...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues