Conductor: Glyn Williams
difem recordings: Double CD 118501
Total Playing Time: 1 hours 30 mins approx
This is perhaps the most bizarre, most brilliantly bonkers CD release of the year – no, make that of the whole Millennium.
How else can you explain the ‘Double’ champions singing along to Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’, or having Glyn Williams impersonate Conan the Barbarian in a voice that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger sound as if he was born in Anglesey?
There are times during the 23 tracks of this double CD that make you feel as if you have mainlined pure crystal meth cheese into your veins: It’s like finding yourself in a crack house for Emmental addicts.
It appears the Swiss producer difem hopes to conquer the banding world with a surreal selection box that can cause you to overdose on dairy based musical cholesterol.
Many of the pieces are so wacky that all you can do is wear a smile of utter bewilderment when listening to them.
Price of fame
This is Black Lace meets Gangnam style ironic karaoke kitsch, with tracks so beyond pastiche and plagiarism that trying to define the origin of their species would defeat David Attenborough.
If this really is the price of banding fame then Foden’s players deserve to be multi-millionaires.
In that respect it should be bought by the bucketful as it is hard to think of pieces that can so successfully make earache seem exquisite pleasure than ‘Teenies in Love’ or ‘Summer Nights’, whilst trying to pinpoint the inspiration behind ‘The Gypsy Mallett Player in New Orleans’ is an exercise in mind bending futility.
As for ‘Who you Gonna Call? - Ghostbusters’: You could try the Samaritans instead.
‘Madonna: the Queen of Pop’ and ‘Starting Blocks’ are titles that would be more accurate in their description with the addition of a few expertly added consonants and vowels, whilst Miss Gaga can certainly belt out a catchy ditty or two – but given she is as mad as a box of blind frogs and wears haute-couture made of slices of meat, you do wonder even if an amphibian loving schizophrenic would be tempted to part with hard earned cash to buy her 'Best of' 11 minute hamper of musical mutton chops.
The strange thing is though; it is all so completely, utterly and fantastically entertaining.
How on earth Foden’s players managed to keep a straight face let alone a ‘Poker Face’ is a credit to their undoubted professionalism – as is their ability to make some pretty execrable repertoire sound appetising, even with a drum-kit back beat that drills into your molars like Lawrence Olivier as the Nazi dentist in ‘The Marathon Man’.
There are a couple of little crackers hidden in the mix that could be well worth investing in for youth bands (the title track being one), but given that just about everything else has as much value as exchanging your hard earned cash for three magic beans on the way home from the pub, you may not quite be tempted to part with your dosh just yet.
On the other hand though, if you just want to lie back, chill and laugh at the sun....
What's on this CD?
1. Star Attraction, Bruce Fraser, 4.06
2. The Best of Lady Gaga, arr. Tony Cheseaux, 10.53
3. Mucha Salsa, Azumi Okamura, 2.30
4. El Matador, Keith Terrett, 3.31
5. Koh-i nor, Olivier Marquis, 2.40
6. Route 66, arr. Peter Ratnik, 3.11
7. Shabbat Shalom, Tony Cheseaux, 7.55
8. Celtic Spirit March, Gilbert Karlen, 2.36
9. Teenies in Love, Steve Muriset, 3.11
10. Starting Blocks, Olivier Marquis, 4.02
11. Ballade Nord-Irlandaise, arr. Bob Barton, 2.17
1. Madonna: the queen of Pop, arr. Peter Ratnik, 6.49
2. Midnight in a Big City, Etienne Crausaz, 2.07
3. The Gypsy Mallet Player, Keith Terrett, 4.10
in New Orleans
4. Ragged Time, Azumi Okamura, 3.13
5. Conan the Barbarian, arr. Bob Barton, 2.24
6. Festive Fanfare, Etienne Crausaz, 2.41
7. The Ghostbusters, arr. Peter Ratnik, 2.45
8. Summer Nights, arr. Peter Ratnik, 2.45
9. Harmonic Hymn, Pierre Schmidhausler, 4.17
10. Decade, Tony Cheseaux, 1.33
11. Don Quichotte, Bertrand Gay, 6.24
12. Spirit of the East, Dominique Morel, 2.44
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