Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Hits The Hits
Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Hits The Hits
(CD) Ubiquity Records URCD220, 2007-10-09
On Hits The Hits Shawn Lee does tunes by Gwen Stefani, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Blur, Badly Drawn Boy, Justin Timberlake, Outkast and many more in his own unique style. The album opens with a collaborative joint featuring piano-master Mick Talbot (Style Council, Dexy's Midnight Runners, etc) on a version of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" that sounds like vintage Ramsey Lewis.
Shawn Lee's understood it all. The evolutive game of music business has never been about competition, but rather about talent and exposure. And marketing helps a lot when you lack the former. But when artists like him add over-productivity and near-genius talent to a basic understanding of the realities of record selling, their label and/or manager can happily ride on (small) roads of money-making. Mr Lee never asked his label (Ubiquity Records) for an advance on record sales, instead, he's been delivering 2-3 albums a year, while giving Ubiquity full liberty to find commercial uses for his music (in movies, TV, ads, videogames, etc.).
Restraining himself to thematic albums (without lacking artistic vision), he soon delivered a few CDs of breaks to sample from (the "Ape Breaks" series) and 3 CDs of supa-cool library-style music! Of course the label managed to get heavy hitters to use some samples, placed some music on adverts and movies... and the albums were at the same time incredibly good!
Leaving his "Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra" one-man army moniker, he released a pop-soul album on BBE ("Soul Visa") and soon returned to Ubiquity for 3 new no less than unmissable albums this year!! The first one, "Voices & Choices", was an incredible burner of funk and soul vignettes. The new one, released this october and aptely titled "Hits The Hits", is an addictive collection of covers of recent hit singles. From the uptempo dancefloor jazz of Outkast's "Hey Ya" to the dub smoker of Gorillaz's "Clint Eastwood", Shawn Lee just lines new hit versions of new new hit classics. Many are ingenuous instrumental arrangements, but this is not just a compilation. The selection flows easily in the CD player (the iPod, etc.) like a well-paced album. Even though this is the poppier side of Shawn Lee's various incarnations of orchestral funk, you'll be forever glad to have this in your record collection (and DJ bag!).
I'll now be waiting eagerly for his Christmas album to be released next month: if Shawn Lee's coming to town, I surely won't miss that!! (to be featured on our annual xmas mix on ParisDJs.com hopefully... )
01. Hey Ya
02. Out Of Time
03. Trick Me
04. Rock Your Body
05. One Around The Block
06. One Thing
08. Clint Eastwood
09. Let Me Blow Your Mind
10. Get UR Freak On
12. By The Way
14. Can't Get You Out Of My Head
Press Release :
Shawn Lee is back with his Ping Pong Orchestra in tow, and goes completely pop!
On Hits The Hits he does tunes by Gwen Stefani, Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, Blur, Badly Drawn Boy, Justin Timberlake, Outkast and many more in his own unique style. The album opens with a collaborative joint featuring piano-master Mick Talbot (Style Council, Dexy's Midnight Runners, etc.) on a version of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" that sounds like vintage Ramsey Lewis.
Putting his over-stuffed studio to the test Lee pulls out all the stops on an album that includes a surf guitar-driven cover of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" (already selected by taste-maker producer/DJ Tom Middleton for one his compilations), a full-on psychedelic sitar flavored take on Britney's "Toxic", and stripped-down super funky versions of the Kelis hit "Trick Me" and Timberlake's "Rock Your Body."
Following on the success of Voices and Choices (from which "Kiss The Sky" was picked as an iTunes "Song Of The Day") and his previous albums (three tunes from which were recently used in each of the three trailers for the Oceans 13 movie) is the second album from Lee this year, but not his last. A Ping Pong Orchestra take on a Christmas album will follow in November.
Lee's sound, which started as a take on old-school library albums and has grown into a sound of his own, it's made possible by his inability to stop making music in an insanely overpopulated studio. A 1940's early proto-synth called a Clavioline, a 100 year old Marxophone zither, a 1950's Virginal Harpsichord, a 1950's Xylophone, a rare 1967 Vox guitar that has Fuzz, Tremelo and wah-wah built in, a 1930's Double Bass and an early 1900's keyboard called a Dulcetone all reside within the walls of Lee's facilities.
As a multi-instrumentalist and singer Shawn Lee has played and recorded with a diverse range of artists including Psapp, Coldcut, Leeann Rhimes, Martina Mcbride, UNKLE, Tony Joe White, Chateau Flight, The Dust Brothers, St. Etienne, Jeff Buckley, Bomb The Bass, The Spice Girls, and Natasha Atlas - not to mention solo records for Talkin' Loud, Wall of Sound imprint We Love You and BBE. He is also known to breaks n'beats collectors as the man behind "The Ape Breaks" and "Planet of the Breaks" series which were sampled by everyone from Guru to The Gorillaz. Music by Lee has been used in commercials for BMW and Jaguar, in multiple TV shows, and in addition to the Oceans 13 movie, he has had music in The Break Up and Save Angel Hope. He was also asked to score the entire soundtrack to the highly controversial Rock Star video game Bully for which he was nominated Best Original Video Game Score by Spike TV.