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Ben Perowsky presents Moodswing Orchestra

Ben Perowsky presents Moodswing Orchestra
Ben Perowsky presents Moodswing Orchestra
(Digipack CD) El Destructo Records/The Royal Potato Family, 2009-09-29

Drummer for Joan As Police Woman, Elysian Fields, 101 Crustaceans, Sex Mob, Uri Caine Trio & Baby Loves Jazz, Ben Perowsky releases a collage of sounds reflecting his diverse career. Perowsky's latest creation is a collaboration with a large selection of artists he has been working with recently, Joan Wasser, Miho Hatori, Bebel Gilberto, Elysian Fields & More. This combination of songsters and improvisors gives a unique blend of N.Y.C.'s finest cream of the crop players, under the direction and manipulation of their - normally kicking out the beats - friend at the drums.

Ben Perowsky presents Moodswing Orchestra
Ben Perowsky presents Moodswing Orchestra
(Digipack CD) El Destructo Records/The Royal Potato Family, 2009-09-29

Tracklisting :
01. Sweet Adelaide (feat. Joan As Policewoman)
02. 1972 (feat. Ben Perowsky)
03. Dolly (feat. Elysian Fields & Steven Bernstein)
04. Kings Fall (feat. Bebel Gilberto)
05. Till U Die (feat. Elyas Khan)
06. Land Of Snow (feat. Miho Hatori)
07. High Waters (feat. Doug Wieselman)
08. Birds On Fire(feat. Jennifer Charles)
09. Acheron Way (feat. Marcus Rojas)

Links :

Musicians :
Ben Perowsky - drums/bells/sincussion/wurli/arranging/voice
Glenn Patscha - wurlitzer piano/comb over/occasional radio/voice
Markus Miller - turntables/effects/dial tone
Oren Bloedow - bass/occasional radio/voice
Marcus Rojas - tuba/vocalizing
Douglas Weiselman - clarinets
Steven Bernstein - trumpets
Pamelia Kurstin - theremin
with special guest vocalists:
Miho Hatori - singing/words (track 06)
Elyas "KiD [SiC]" Khan - singing/words (track 05)
Jennifer Charles - singing/words (tracks 03 & 08)
Joan Wasser - singing/words (track 01)
Bebel Gilberto - rap (track 04)
recorded by Pat Dillett, Dougie Bowne, Ben Perowsky

Press Release :
Toiling away in his free time like a mad sonic scientist, drummer/composer Ben Perowsky has brought to life the Moodswing Orchestra, a creation much prettier than Frankenstein's monster but no less hand-stitched in the laboratory. Dumping the deranged hunchback assistant for a host of NYC's finest songsters and improvisers, Moodswing does just that, carving a bipolar path between hypnotic grooves and body-shaking trances.

The creature began life in the winter of 2002; when Perowsky undertook a Thursday-night residency at the now-defunct Williamsburg hang North Six. He invited a couple of friends, turntablist/electronics wizard Markus Miller and keyboardist Glenn Patscha, and a series of guest collaborators to explore some new ideas: "I wanted to improvise but I didn't want it coming from a jazz language," Perowsky explains. "I wanted it to be more ambient and mood-oriented."

He gave his collaborators one guiding edict — "Less Herbie, more Eno" —  and never had to offer any further direction. That initial experiment was captured on El Destructo Vol. 1, a lo-fi document of one night in the trio's life.

For Moodswing Orchestra, Perowsky opted to put on his producer and arranger hats and use those sort of ambient-groove improvisations as the raw material for a so-called "arts and crafts project," cutting and pasting the tracks and layering additional sounds on top of them. It is, in essence, a homemade record — sometimes quite literally.

Steven Bernstein's contributions were recorded in the trumpeter's own kitchen, in between fielding phone calls and getting the kids off to school. Pamelia Kurstin crafted haunting Theremin parts and string arrangements in her apartment, without ever laying down her cigarette.

But the recording wasn't entirely limited to domestic scenes. Perowsky and Marcus Rojasventured out to a local church to get the proper underworld feel for Rojas' tuba (not to mention the chance addition of a tolling bell) on "Acheron Way."

And Bebel Gilberto's impassioned rap on "Kings Fall" was captured in the basement of the East Village club Nublu, when Perowsky decided the track needed a female Brazilian voice to supplement Patscha's soulful vocals. So he toted his recorder to the club and chanced upon Gilberto, who improvised a politically-fueled rap on the spot.

Hybridization being in the air given the gene-splicing nature of the project, ideas of cross-fertilization populate the album thematically as well as technically. Joan Wasser (of Joan As Policewoman) crosses her X's and Y's on "Sweet Adelaide", blurring the lines on gender identity in perhaps, the most sultry, sinuous voice ever employed to discuss human chromosomes. A few tracks later, Jennifer Charles moans an ode to Dolly the cloned sheep.

Charles' Elysian Fields partner Oren Bloedow pops up on bass and lends his voice to one track, as do Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori (on the dreamlike "Land of Snow") and Nervous Cabaret's Elyas Khan, who channels Ben Kingsley's Sexy Beast gangster as a London criminal on the run for "Till You Die." Rounding out the roster of collaborators is Doug Wieselman, whose clarinets and flute add the final ingredients in Perowsky's musical stew.

Of course, Perowsky is no stranger to aural collage. It's been two decades since he co-founded the groundbreaking jazz/rock/hip-hop group Lost Tribe, and in the interim he's bounced effortlessly between genres — as a first-call drummer for jazz artists like John Zorn, John Scofield, Dave Douglas and Uri Caine or as a contributor to rock acts like Elysian Fields, Joan as Policewoman and 101 Crustaceans or clocking session and road time with Rickie Lee Jones, Walter Becker, John Cale, and Hercules & Love Affair.

With all that under his belt, Perowsky refers to the Moodswing Orchestra as "Sideman's Revenge."

"Usually I get hired to play on someone's record and I go in, lay down my tracks, and generally have to walk away from them, knowing that edits will be made and takes picked without me. That's always been difficult for me. Now it's my turn to cut up and manipulate everyone else's tracks. It makes for a long, obsessive process, but good for getting your 'control freak' on."


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