Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An Amusement (XV)

I've picked up quite a few unexpected musical items in Waterford charity shops and the discount bin of BPM Records (including Encre's Plexus II, Ramellzee's Bi-Conicals of the Rammellzee (for 50c!), SFT's Swift (with "The Action Jackson Orchestra Perhaps" featuring Gilad Atzmon!), and Luc Ferrari's Interrupteur/Tautologos 3, as well as a whole lot that turned out to be much less interesting), and yesterday my curiosity was piqued by a title called The Vegetable Orchestra Remixed. As one of the tracks was a typically brief entry by Ricardo Villalobos (only 17 minutes long!) I decided there and then that it was shelling out five euros for. When I got home I looked up said Vegetable Orchestra, and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw: they are an ensemble who make all their instruments out of organic vegetables (as shown below) and at the end of each concert put them into a soup for the audience. I must say I've never been to a concert where you could eat the instruments... Based on one listen, the CD is a solid contemporary electronica/dance effort, even though the interesting feature of the orchestra (the nature of the sounds they produce from their homemade instruments) is lost somewhat by the electronic settings; after all, a good laptop can produce any number of odd squelchy noises, and I feel these sounds would have more impact with minimal processing. But that's just a snap judgement, and may change. Another problem with a remix album is that without reference to the originals I'm at a loss to know just how different or processed these tracks are. I would love to hear these guys take on one of John Cage's indeterminate pieces! More information on the Vegetable Orchestra here

6 comments:

jams o donnell said...

Ah the vegetable orchestra footage is wonderful!

A Doubtful Egg said...

It's a fantastic idea. And the remixes album isn't half bad either. For me it draws attention to the bizarre origins of traditional musical instruments: catgut, horsehair, ivory, stretched hides, hollowed-out sticks, and so forth...

Stan said...

I love the Vegetable Orchestra, but if I ever saw them live I think I would have to give the soup a miss.

Claudia said...

Amusing at first, and then very impressive. It's working!....I would love to see them live.

A Doubtful Egg said...

I'm not sure if they tour outside of Europe, but I'd jump at a chance. And I would try the soup...
What I like about them is that they take it seriously, and don't simply use it as a novelty that's good for a laugh but not much else (which is what I imagine many people assume when they hear of them first, although seeing them choose and prepare their instruments is pretty funny).

Claudia said...

Exactly! At first I was amused...then I became very impressed by the musicality. They actually write the music. They're compositations, not improvisations (although some might be.) They practice together as serious groups do. Remembering my grandfather sculpting a flute from a thick wooden branch, and getting wonderful sounds out of it, I think, like you, that people, from the beginning of time, probably always created musical instruments with what they had on hand.

If the soup has boiled long enough, I might try a laddlefull....