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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mobtown Moon - Mobtown Moon

Mobtown Moon - Mobtown Moon
2013, Mobtown Moon

Mobtown Moon is a collective tribute and experiment using Pink Floyd’s classic album Dark Side Of The Moon as its object.  A total of 41 musicians worked together to re-create the album, bringing a range of styles and sounds to the project.  You will hear Bluegrass, rock, jazz, classical, choral styles and even hip-hop on Mobtown Moon.  Award winning writer and musician Sandy Asirvatham and award winning singer/songwriter ellen cherry conceived and produced the project, which takes liberties with the original versions of tunes motivated by the music itself.

Mobtown Moon opens with the sound collage "The City Speaks", using industrial and found sounds o create an uncomfortable cacophony that segues into an acapella intro to "Breathe". "Breathe" is offered to listeners in a sophisticated easy listening rock arrangement. ellen cherry sings with a voice as smooth as silk, and the gently flourishing horns and accordion are nice touches.  "On The Run" is an eclectic mish-mash of sounds, driven by an incessant banjo line. Electronics take over as the song progresses, growing toward a noisy point on the distant horizon that is sensed but not seen. "Time" is rendered in subtle yet slick fashion. The guitar work stands out both for quality and panache, and lead vocalist Andrew Grimm sounds a bit like Colin Hay at times.  

Mobtown Moon approaches "The Great Gig In The Sky" with a chamber music opening, full of passing notes in the depths of the cello's range. This quickly passes into the diffuse instrumental section of the song, highlighted by a warbling vocal and unfocused muse. "Money" rocks and rolls on a hipster bass line and swanky, understated guitar riffs. Grimm is a fair vocal doppelgänger for David Gilmour, and this particular cover goes down like fine wine. 

Pink Floyd gets a low-key hip-hop treatment on "Dream/Counterfeit". The looped arrangement features some wonderfully off-kilter jazz piano work, and Femi The DriFish spits rhymes with an academic grace. "Us And Them" captures the spirit of the original as well as anything on Mobtown Moon. The vocal performance is exquisite with a laid back style and gorgeous vocal coloring and phrasing.  "Any Colour You Like" gets portrayed as an eccentric modern jazz piece. The musicianship here is solid, to say the least, but the piece just doesn't seem to work well in this setting. 

"Brain Damage" continues the jazz infusion, this time as something of a funhouse blue jazz concoction. This works better than the previous effort, but the pacing ultimately undoes the effort in a slow fury of drawling vocal lines. "Eclipse" gets treated as a Pink Floyd cover ala the musical Hair. The group vocal utilized is too relaxed and ends up sounding more like a disinterested junior high choir than an inspired group of musicians. 

Mobtown Moon is a wonderfully complex and delightful take on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.  Not everything works completely well on the album, but even the tracks that don’t quite break through for the listener have their merits.  The album does get a little jazz heavy for influence at the end.  In a vacuum this is not problematic, but it does overbalance the back end of the album a bit.  Nevertheless, Mobtown Moon I a project worth spending some time on!

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 5)

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