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The Fan Club Orchestra - Sun Papa And The Fan Club Orchestra Vol. 1 & 2 [Sonig - 2002]

The Fan Club Orchestra is perhaps the very first electronic live improvisation orchestra in the world; under supervision of the Baudoux brothers more or less 10 people improvise together playing percussion, guitar, harmonica, mouth organs, trombone, turntables and even gameboys... The two vinyl releases "Sun Papa And The Fan Club Orchestra", released in 2000 and 2001 respectively, have now been put on compact disc by Sonig, remastered and edited.

Laurent Baudoux is what you might call the director of this collective, giving some indications and instructions considering musical themes, bpm and he makes drawings on a overhead projector to give the members of the orchestra an idea of what to do. Still a lot is improvised on site, so a lot is depending on the energy of the group and their ability to improvise together. That's also one of the main reasons The Fan Club Orchestra – actually a side project of Scratch Pet Land – have dropped the procedure involving many guests with gameboys, simply because it was too difficult to work with. Now the orchestra meets up with the gameboy players before a session or live performance to make clear what to do.

Well, this is - as one might expect – not exactly the easiest thing to describe, or even listen to. The tracks are really different but still you can hear the main theme, since most of the songs float over in each other. Track 1 and 2 for instance are quite relaxing, with some manipulated guitars sounds and strange sounds that produce the beats. Then the gameboy sounds kick in, and this is surely one of the most original and coolest aspects of the album. But track 3 is already a lot more difficult because there isn't really a structure or rhythm present. In the contrary to track 4 which features an accelerated gameboy sound constantly repeated to create an almost techno / noise alike song. Among the instruments used are not really vocals, although the sound used on track 7 is like somebody is bubbling under water, and that during the whole track... It's hopefully clear now that some elements on "Sun Papa And The Fan Club Orchestra" turn out pretty hilarious, and I think a healthy dose of humour is only a good characteristic for something like this.

A live performance of the Fan Club Orchestra is probably quite different, since all the sound data is edited in the recording studio afterwards. So this album isn't exactly the first electronic live improvisation orchestra release I guess. The ideas are admirable and they manage to get a refreshing and original result, but it's not a CD I will play very often. A very nice disc though if you want to try something different.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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