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Orchestra of Spheres - Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 16 / 6 / 2016

Orchestra of Spheres - Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Fantastic latest album from eccentric and comical New Zealand band, Orchestra Of Spheres

I stuck this into my CD player in the car, which is my usual ritual whilst trying to review an album, but what was different for me this time was the immediate grin I broke into as the first few bars and the first lines of vocals hit me. According to their press sheet, Orchestra of Spheres "have been put here on this Earth to engage in channelling ancient future funk from the IS! Warping spatioelastoplasticity with sound!" Born out of Wellington's Frederick Street Sound and Light Exploration Society in 2009, the Spheres have developed a cult-like following in New Zealand from playing house parties, dance parties, DIY shows and opera houses, and they have built a reputation for musically and visually ecstatic live shows along the way. Their sound is unique apparently drawing influences from far and wide including kuduro, psychedelic primary school disco, fire music, kwaito, free improv, South Pacific demolition, shangaan electro, zeuhl, mbalax, kosmische quiche, tarraxo, witch doctor haus, orgasmo brain rave, juke/footwork, Polynesian no wave prog, quarr, costume rock, inner brain clap, oh, and funk puppetré. They admit that we are living in dark times and that they want to make beautiful things and give love to people and that they are not political. The songs on this album aren't about anything in particular but they are entertaining. The whole album came about from a collection of ideas. Tooth was playing drums and had been having lucid dreams about camels and swimming pools, and at the same time EtonalE (electric bass carillon, vocals) was researching marshmallow factories. Mos Iocos (keyboard, vocals, gamelan) was channelling Luigi Russolo through some bamboo tubes, and, while each had their own interests to deal, with Baba Rossa (biscuit tin guitar, vocals, sexomouse marimba) was trying at the same time to make them all play out of tune. And a mighty fine job he has done too. Just to make sure things went according to plan they brought in Riki Gooch who is an old mate of theirs and a darn good pizza chef to help out recording it. If you are wondering about the dubious instruments described, the Spheres use homemade instruments like the biscuit tin guitar, electric bass carillon and sexomouse marimba to create their cosmic dancing sound. They use bells too, lots of them. Cowbells, sleigh bells, bonang and church bells. Check out the first track strangely titled 'Bells' which has nothing but, well, bells. Once they had got all the tracks down they took them to Mike Gibson at Monki studios which was housed in an old government spy-base in the center of town. I say was, because it got knocked down just two weeks after. The music for me combines the experimentalism of artists such as Thomas Leer back in the 80s and also from that era the conceptual meanderings of Bill Nelson and couples them with a splash of Talking Heads, a smidgen of Thomas Dolby and some B-52's, all of which makes me smile. The album here is double sleeved with some colourful drawings of spheres on it and credits to both main players and guests. The inner sleeve that houses the CD itself is meanwhile covered in eggs. Marvellous!

Track Listing:-
1 Bells
2 Trapdoors
3 Walking Through Walls
4 Day At The Beach
5 Anklung Song
6 In the Face of Love
7 The Reel World
8 Cluster
9 Rocket #9
10 Let Us Not Forget
11 Divine Horses

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