Friday, August 05, 2005

The Raymond Scott Orchestrette - Pushbutton Parfait

I said that I didn't feel any need to elaborate on this album, but it seems I was wrong--apparantly, it deserves it's own post. The liner notes claim that this project aims to establish that Scott was more than just a composer of cartoon themes, and it's true--listening to these interpretations of Scott's work destroys the notion of him as a novelty act, or as merely a badge of coolness to be worn by hipsters. It lifts him out of the shadow of the cartoons that incorporated his music. This isn't something you would only listen to because you like Looney Tunes. It's just an album of good music, quirky but not a novelty.

My favorite song on the record is Little Miss Echo, an elegant piece of chamber music that seems to rise out of itself, slowly forming a mysterious melody. Scott's ear for melody is the key to all these songs. As kooky as the stuff is, it owes it's success to always being grounded in catchy tunes. This makes me think of what I would expect Paul McCartney's classical work to sound like, and where it probably seemed McCartney and Brian Wilson would have ended up by the end of the 70's if you were prognosticating from 1969. This track is followed by a swingin' song called Mountain High, Valley Low, a full-on rock-n-roll song. And the climactic version of Powerhouse is packed with drama and energy, a real grande finale.

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