Senor Coconut - Yellow Fever
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Senor Coconut
Yellow Fever

It was a couple years back that electronic music producer Uwe Schmidt (aka Atom Heart) decided to take on the music of Kraftwerk and rework it through the focusing lens of cha-cha and meringue music. The resulting El Baile Aleman was much more fun than it really should have been (at least, coming from a fan of the originals), and Schmidt managed to create some more fun music in the same style on further albums (which were mainly comprised of original compositions).

Senor Coconut & His Orchestra are now back again with another batch of "electrolatino" songs, and this time the group is covering another seminal group in Yellow Magic Orchestra. To make things even more exciting, he's joined by all three YMO group members on the release (including Oscar and Grammy winning Ryuichi Sakamoto). The result is another album of insanely detailed music that is easily the most developed work done under the pseudonym yet.

At twenty one tracks in length, the album is broken up into shorter interlude pieces that more or less gather together prime guest spots into random bits of filler, while longer YMO covers actually form the real backbone of the disc. "Yellow Magic" opens the disc and features some maniacal vibraphone workouts (as most tracks do) along with some blistering horns and vocals from Jorge Gonzalez that lift the track into delightful territory. "Limbo" is even more tight, rolling together breathy vocals, punctuated rhythms, and horn bursts into a three and a half minute package.

Not afraid to stretch out a bit, "Simoon" (which also features contributions from Mouse On Mars) is a laid-back track that melts some wah-wah horns over a softly swaying island hammock backdrop. On the other side of the coin is the hyper-fast "Rydeen," which pulls together vibes, vocals, and rapid-fire horn bursts together in a way that sounds almost impossible to not be programmed. As mentioned above, there are short (usually about thirty seconds or so) interludes between every single track on the album, which feature contributions from everyone from Towa Tei to Akufen, and the pieces (which contain everything from glitch to field recordings) sometimes provide an odd and satisfying breather while at other times feel completely out-of-place. Fortunately, the songs that comprise the bulk of the release more than outweigh any unpleasant pieces, and there's always the skip button.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2006-06-21 21:22:26