|What's Rattlin' On The Moon? A Personal Vision of the Music of Mike Ratledge|
|Produced by Beppe Crovella|
|Released on 2010|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
A tribute album to a musician I rarely think about by an artist I’d never heard of. Not the kind of combination I usually get jazzed about, but listening to Beppe Crovella tear through Mike Ratledge’s songbook is like hearing a veteran actor chew through Shakespeare. Crovella is a connoisseur of old keyboards and the distorted space-jazz sounds he gets out of his Hammond, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, mellotron, Farfisa, etc. are vintage magic. The old Soft Machine songs are ingested, reconstituted, re-realized and really amazing some of the time: “Tarabos,” “The Man Who Waved At Trains,” “Out-Bloody-Rageous,” “Slightly All The Time.” After ten tracks of Ratledge (each of them highly original), What’s Rattlin’ closes with a half-dozen actual originals, including a ballad in bookends (“Moonvision,” “Moon Geezers”) and a space prog oasis of organ (“Many Moons, Many Junes”) reminiscent of Pete Bardens’ work in Camel. The disc sags a bit (in my mind) when Crovella delves into the exploratory outer limits of the aether (“As If,” “All White,” “Hibou, Anemone and Bear”), noting that the same thing happened on the original Soft Machine discs as well. Since I don’t own all of the original Ratledge records with Soft Machine, I couldn’t tell you where Rattlin’ stacks up against each of them. I do enjoy this disc a lot more than Six or Seven, largely because it doesn’t run out of surprises. A galaxy of progressive keyboard sounds at his fingers, Crovella seems to delight in building new worlds from the work of Mike Ratledge, which results less in a tribute album than, as its title says, a “personal vision” of Ratledge’s original journeys in the Machine. As of almost June, I’ll confer to Crovella the best album of instrumental keyboard music I’ve heard all year.
BEPPE CROVELLA -- mellotron, Wurlizter E200 electric piano, Fender Rhodes Stage 73 electric piano, Hammond organ M102, Hohner electric piano, Hohner clavinet D6, Rosler grand piano, Farfisa Professional, concept and idea
Leonardo Pavkovic -- concept and idea
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