EGM 113 Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Produced by Simon Jeffes
Released on 1981
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
EGM 113 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I use this album as an aspirin, literally, by listening to it when I have a migraine. The simple, childlike melodies whoosh through my head like a cool breeze, their optimism irresistible. It’s a wonderful antidote to most of the intellectual music you’ll find on the E.G. label, minimalist in intent but delightfully earthy in execution. Led by Simon Jeffes, Penguin Café Orchestra started out with some arty intentions, but dropped the pretense on their second, eponymous effort. Accordions, ukeleles, penny whistles, telephones and rubber bands are only some of the disarming delivery mechanisms for Jeffes’ upbeat melodies. Listeners were given a taste of this in “Penguin Café Single,” but their second album breaks open a whole bottle of the playful spirit. “The Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas,” “Pythagora’s Trousers” and “Paul’s Dance” are as giddy as Snoopy before the dinner bowl, as refreshing as Paul McCartney’s “Hot Sunglasses.” The orchestra also puts their unique spin on “Walk Don’t Run” and the traditional “Cutting Braches For A Temporary Shelter” to fine effect. Sometimes, their unconventional approach to instrumentation leads to wonderful discoveries, like “Telephone And Rubber Band,” which transforms a mundane phone signal into a thing of beauty. You can point to some precedents for this sort of music -- “Simon’s Dream” is similar to Cluster’s toy melodies, for example -- but it’s Penguin Café Orchestra’s uniqueness that ultimately defines them. Their second album is a masterful work of whimsy, a readily edible apple that fell (from all places) off a musical branch (E.G.) not known for its light snacks.

EGM 113 back cover
EGM 113 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. AIR À DANSER    4:27
  2. YODEL 1    4:00
  3. TELEPHONE AND RUBBER BAND    2:25
  4. CUTTING BRANCHES FOR A TEMPORARY SHELTER    (traditional, arr. by Simon Jeffes)    3:36
  5. PYTHAGORA'S TROUSERS    3:14
  6. NUMBERS 1-4    6:46
  7. YODEL 2    4:25
  8. SALTY BEAN FUMBLE    2:07
  9. PAUL'S DANCE    (Simon Jeffes/Steve Nye)    1:37
  10. THE ECSTASY OF DANCING FLEAS    3:55
  11. WALK DON'T RUN    (Johnny Smith)    2:56
  12. FLUX    1:39
  13. SIMON'S DREAM    1:41
  14. HARMONIC NECKLACE    1:12
  15. STEADY STATE    3:28

    Music composed by Simon Jeffes unless noted

CREDITS

BRACO -- shakers, drums, bongos
SIMON JEFFES -- guitar, cuatro, ukelele, piano, bass, violin, dulcitone, harmonium, shakers, drums, ring modulator, rubber band, penny whistle, electronic organ
GILES LEAMAN -- oboe
HELEN LEIBMANN -- cello
STEVE NYE -- electric piano, cuatro
NEIL RENNIE -- ukelele
GEOFFREY RICHARDSON -- viola, guitar, bass, bongos, metal frame, ukelele
JULIO SEGOVIA -- symbals
PETER VEITCH -- accordion, violin
GAVYN WRIGHT -- violin
Rupert Hine, Trevor Morais, Geoff Jukes and Gillian McGregor -- special thanks
Colin Green -- mixing
Ian Morais -- mixing
Emily Young -- cover painting
Roger Whitaker -- photography
Ha Ha Ha Productions -- design & typography

return to PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1981 Editions EG LP/CS EGED/EGEDC 11  
US 1981 Editions EG LP EGM 113  
UK   Editions EG CD EEGCD 11  
GER/NET 1987 EG Records CD 787 449  
RUS 2000 ArsNova CD 8932  

 

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