CD Ben Perowsky Presents: Moodswing Orchestra [Digipak] (CD 6233467),
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Ben Perowsky Presents: Moodswing Orchestra [Digipak]

  • 1. Sweet Adelaide
    2. 1972
    3. Dolly
    4. Kings Fall
    5. Till U Die
    6. Land of Snow
    7. High Waters
    8. Birds of Fire
    9. Acheron Way
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 002

  • Credits
    ProducerBen Perowsky
    EngineerPat Dillett; Ben Perowsky

    Personnel: Marcus Rojas (vocals, tuba); Ben Perowsky (vocals, drums, bells); Steven Bernstein (trumpet); Glenn Patscha (piano, electric piano); MarKus Miller (electronics, turntables); Pamelia Kurstin (Theremin).
    Audio Mixer: Patrick Dillett.
    Editor: Ben Perowsky.
    Arranger: Ben Perowsky.
    The title Ben Perowsky Presents Moodswing Orchestra may be an unintentionally misleading one, simply because this grouping of musicians is a real band with Perowsky's drums, bells, "sincussion," and voice being perhaps its most prominent features. This octet also features Oren Bloedow on bass, Markus Miller on turntables, Glenn Patscha on both electric and acoustic piano, the ubiquitous Steven Bernstein on trumpet, Doug Weiselman on woodwinds, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Pamelia Kurstin on the Theremin. This ensemble is joined on six of the nine tracks here by vocalists ranging from Bebel Gilberto to Joan Wasser, Jennifer Charles, Miho Hatori, and Elyas Khan. The sound of the the Moodswing Orchestra walks a delicate line balance between jazz, cinematic-sounding serial music, modern classical music, shimmering noir-ish alternative rock, and late-night DJ beats and atmospheres. The beauty is in the restraint here. These pieces are wonderfully composed and arranged by Perowsky, Bloedow, Patscha, and Miller, with the various vocalists contributing their own lyrics. Charles' otherworldly, half-whispered/half-sung "Dolly" walks the line between bluesy country, slippery rock, and nocturnal fantasy with strange guitar sounds, Weiselman's clarinet playing a dark-shaded jazz interlude, with electronics framing a sonic cone for her voice to pour through in the mix. "King's Fall," with vocals by Gilberto, walks the line between rubbery, sultry funk with Bloedow's bassline, Brazilian hip-hop, and minimalist jazz. It's the longest and most enchanting track on the set with additional vocals by Patscha and Bloedow accenting the backbeat. Intensity picks up as trumpets, electric pianos, and electronics compete with the three vocalists for a place in the ever more dynamic and sonically accelerated mix. Another notable is the opener "Miss Adelaide," with the wispy trace of Wasser's voice crawling out of the ether with a slow, tribal beat that reminds one at first of the Golden Palominos circa Pure and This Is How It Feels, but then asserts itself out of that groove to shimmy right up against the layers of turntable noise, throbbing bass, funky Rhodes piano, and the shuffling backbeat of Perowsky. Other instruments -- brass and woodwinds -- appear like ghosts: they glide in and out of this airy deeply sensual mix. Overall, the entire recording is its own animal. It doesn't sound like anything else out there currently, and sounds uniquely like New York City. This set would have been at home in the post-punk years of the late '70s and early '80s, but there isn't a trace of nostalgia in these compositions or in the album's production. Simply put, the Moodswing Orchestra is thoroughly original "new modern" night-groove music. ~ Thom Jurek

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