Static Caravan (=Europe) Smile Down Upon Us (JAP,2008)***°
After singer/sound organiser moomLooo received interest through myspace from musicians duo David and Keiron (both from State River Widening, but also known as a duo Phelan Sheppard ; they cooperated before with lots of people individually, including Piano Magic), they started to share, mix and work on some recordings together, sending them ‘tro and fro’ during a 14 months span, and finished this project and recording together just now, even without having met or dug into their personalities. And this CD surely proves that this method works. The first song was originally published by moomLoo solo, but now was reworked, probably showing the first meeting point, while all other tracks were completely new, and produced just for this album.
They have MoomLooo on vocals, synthesizer, drum machine, and ambient sound ; and Keiron Phelan on acoustic guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, pizzicato violin, bass guitar, electric piano, organ, omnichord, flute, recorders, tin whistle, glockenspiel, percussion, clapping, chimes, and spoken voice ; and David Speppard on acoustic, nylon and tenor guitars, ukulele, baritone ukulele,4 and 5 string banjos, bowed mandolin, bass guitar, organ, drums, drum machine, percussion, glockenspiel, clapping, chimes, and fold-up bike. 6 more guests participated : Thomas Allard on french horn, Natalie Sedgwick on violin and claapin, Dan Mayfield on pizzicato violin, Ane Larsen on spoken voice, Matthew Reynolds on ukulele and Simon Trought on clapping.
The first, slightly ethereal track sounds a bit like Lau Nau. Moolooo really presents herself like and angel in the sky surrounded by the white clouds of the music (that’s how I would for instance describe track 2). Already here the music tends to be arranged with a wound up rhythm, and plays itself just like a musical box, as if the band is such a wound up musical box. This has poppy attractiveness, and consists most often of the colourful combinations of (also colourful) pickings (guitars, banjos,..) mixed with subtle rhythm boxes/laptop based and handmade (a few times light exotic) rhythms, some electronica textures, flutes and just here and there an environmental recording in the mix. All sweet folkpop lullabies. “Kotoba..” is spoken word (in Japanese) poetry with birds on the background, a quite moment, with a middle section with African rhythms on guitar and other rhythmical exotisms. A great ending is another more sparsely arranged track, the biggest hit from a song made popular by Tiny Tim (“Tiptoe..”). It’s a bit more sweet-serious version, also with ukulele, and some additional solo to it on glockenspiel-vibes. Nice.
The band has plans to form into a real live band. In Japan moomLooo, Seki, Eri and Umino await the arrival of the duo for some gigs later.