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Pingvinorkestern — Push
((Not on label) no#, 2014, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-10-20

Push Cover artOnly a few measures into the opening instrumental “Madame Else’s Genuine Flea Circus,” the listener will certainly know they are in for something different. This is further underscored on the second cut “Who Are You?” which introduces female singer Susanne Johansson, who also plays violin, melodica, flute and percussion. Then male singer Lodder Fredriksson (who also plays guitar, percussion and ukulele) sings on track three “As Hard As They Come,” as this Swedish five piece wanders all over the musical map, combining elements of chamber, jazz, Euro-folk, orchestral and rock, into a gentle, progressive mix of styles on their debut release, seemingly informed by the likes of Lars Hollmer / Samla Mammas Manna, Frank Zappa, L’Ensemble Rayé, and similarly inclined artists, maybe even a little bit of early Genesis and 70s King Crimson, track depending. The vocals are sung in English, folding in nicely with the spirit of their musical vocabulary, with just a touch of melancholy, although there are plenty of purely instrumental pieces as well. The remainder of the band is Micke Wall (guitar and ukulele), Shiny Mac (bass guitar, ukulele, saw), and Stefan Dernbrant (vibraphone, xylophone, ukulele, melodica, and percussion). There is no regular full time drummer here, which emphasizes the chamber aspect of their sound, although they’re surely up to rocking at times, and the occasional blistering electric guitar leads are outstanding, contrasting well with everything else going on within the fabric of their sound. “No, But I’ve Got a Dark Brown Overcoat” may even hint of some unknown TV detective theme, but the overall takeaway should be that the twelve cuts herein cover a wide array of musical territory, and make Push an album that has a lot of growing power with repeat listens.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Pingvinorkestern

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Premier of New Echo Us Video

From the press release:

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.

“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)

To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.

“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)

As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.



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