Richard Bone:Electropica

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Richard Bone:Electropica
(Quirkworks - 1998)

Drenched in an unfamiliar (to me, anyway) nostalgia, Richard Bone's Electropica successfully straddles a line between homage and kitsch. Aloof, yet fun... like coolly rendered elevator music; I can imagine these tunes would have been a smashing success in the far-out '60s; they're definitely groovy today!

Bone dedicates these songs to the Bossa Nova masters, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa & Joao Gilberto, but I confess ignorance to the history of the form. If wanting to actually dance, one could always visit Marleen's Richard Bone website and read the How to Bossa Nova page, but I choose to simply soak in the happily detached atmospheres, feet merrily tapping.

A kalimba and light cymbal rhythm are interwoven with wafts of wispy synth, to open The Andean Grays. Electric piano and washes of flute-flavorings rise to the forefront for a bit, along with a brief spoken sample. A more prominent bass and stronger flute-y tones power Electropica, though the track still retains the cool, subdued attitude that is part of this entire excursion. Synth-strings join in for the latter part of the track. Waveland jingles with bells and relatively modern beats, as a lilting lounge piano trickles.

Afrouxe rolls with dense, rounded tones and a perky percussion section. Distant lounge piano and spacy shimmers decorate. With its carefree accordion sounds and chirping birdies, a carnival feel buoys Little Orpheus. Unfortunately, "little" is right... the tracks runs at less than two minutes... Over a hint of surf sound, lazy breezes blow from the horns of Ipanema 2000; less bass and more keyboard action power this longest (7:31) track.

Slightly detuned bell sounds ring out in Canguru. Layers of chiming tones are accentuated by straightforward organ riffs; all the while the rhythm and light percussion steadfastly carry on. The swingin' Pao, Baby! focuses on percussion, organ, bass and occasional sampled vocal blips. A prerecorded horn section joins in for the song's climax. Smooth, retro tones highlight Puff. I can't help but envision some hip, urbane cats and chicks from the '60s at a particularly swank martini bash...

A subsonic bass drone and more modern electro-beat merge with retro-horn and kalimba to form Amazona Adeus, a somewhat different creature, but all the more intriguing as such. Vocal "aahhs" float over the top, rising with the soaring synth-horn passage and string section accompaniment. A 30-second silent track precedes a quirky Untitled Bonus Track, which features pounding bongos, a coolly determined bass-line and a fun bit of psychoanalysis from some hipster-type. (Man, I was groovin' with it, and really wanted to hear the 10 questions!)

While retaining a certain distance, Electropica still stirs up a load of musical fun with its spritely cocktail mix. I haven't followed the "lounge" revival, but this disc should appeal to those fans as well as to modern electronics listeners open for a cool retro party atmosphere. One shakin' Thumb! 1 thumb up
This review posted October 31, 1998

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