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The Moog Cookbook

 

The Moog Cookbook is two guys (Roger Manning, formerly of Jellyfish and current keyboardist for Beck, and Brian Kehew, apparently a somewhat popular studio engineer) that play rock songs on vintage synthesizers and other odd keyboards. Their stage show includes cheesy 50s-looking spacesuits and props and stuff, but I've never seen them live, so I can't really comment on that. I can, however, comment on the music (otherwise what'd I be doing on this page?!), and it's absolutely hilarious.

lineup: Brian Kehew and Roger Manning (keyboards, vocoder, electric sitar, real drums, bass, drum machines, etc etc)

review index: The Moog Cookbook / Ye Olde Space Bande Plays Classic Rock Hits

missing albums: none

apex: The Moog Cookbook
nadir: Ye Olde Space Bande Plays Classic Rock Hits
overlooked: n/a


The Moog Cookbook - 1995

Rating: ****
Best songs: Buddy Holly, Basketcase, Come Out and Play, Are You Gonna Go My Way
Worst songs: Free Fallin'

 

This album consists of ten grunge-era songs transposed into completely different genres. The prospect of, say, "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden being turned into a Lawrence Welk-approved latin number might make you feel queasy, but when you hear it you'll understand. Unless of course you hate this kind of kitschy, jokey music, in which case, I say, screw you, taxpayer!

Some of the more laugh-inducing juxtapositions include Green Day's "Basketcase" turning into a 70s TV show theme, Lenny Kravitz's Hendrix ripoff "Are You Gonna Go My Way" sounding more like background music for one of the more cartoony Nintendo games (and quoting a certain TV show theme at the end), and Pearl Jam's "Evenflow" being recreated as an 80s Jan Hammer funkfest. Of course, the fun don't stop there, with the Offspring's "Come Out and Play" played as a Devo-ish number and quoting "Also Spoke Zarathustra". In fact, of the entire album, there's really only one song that doesn't come alive: Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" includes a monotonous vocoder bit that just irritates me.

Oh, before I finish this review, I have to mention what I think is the greatest song on here: Weezer's power-pop anthem "Buddy Holly" is done perfectly here, with a grandiose-sounding synth intro leading into a simple, bouncy muzak arrangement. And the doorbell? Genius. Buy it, buy it, and buy it. I didn't, I used audiogalaxy. But you buy it. That way I won't feel bad about it.

Okay, okay, one more song: Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" kicks ass. Now go buy it. Buy it! BUUUUUUY IIIIIIIT!!


Ye Olde Space Bande Plays Classic Rock Hits - 1997

Rating: ***
Best songs: Hotel California, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll All Nite, More Than a Feeling
Worst songs: Born to Be Wild, Cat Scratch Fever, Ziggy Stardust

 

Okay, instead of coming up with off-the-wall genre transplants, this time the emphasis seems to be set on quoting as many different sources as possible. Unfortunately, because of this (or perhaps because classic rock didn't take itself as seriously as the grunge era did), the album is less interesting to listen to. It starts off kind of limply, with "Born to Be Wild" and "Cat Scratch Fever" just sounding like muzak. It's not funny, and the songs don't exactly stand up to a non-guitar-based arrangement. Nevertheless, things pick up from there. Naming the various things that the songs quote from is just too much of a pain, but I'll try to manage a bit of it anyway. "Whole Lotta Love" includes Pink Floyd, the Who, Jean-Michel Jarre, Beethoven, and Edgar Winter. I'll leave it to you to figure out which songs. Also, "Rock and Roll All Nite" ends with a salute to folk songs. Finally, I'll just say that "Sweet Home Alabama" really sounds a lot more interesting now.

The two new-genre songs on here are both winners: "Hotel California" is reborn as a multi-part epic, including both carnivalesque and Switched-on Bach sections and Del Shannon's "Runaway" interpolated in the closing guitar jam, and "More Than a Feeling" is now an amped-up techno number. Of the other tracks, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" does the monotone vocoder thing a whole lot better than "Free Fallin'" did on the previous album. "Ziggy Stardust" and "25 or 6 to 4" aren't that interesting, except for the inclusion of "All My Love" by Zep in the latter. I believe I've mentioned pretty much everything now, so I'll just end this review ASAP. Buy it if you really like the other album.

Oh, there's also apparently guest musicians on this one, but I wouldn't know, since I downloaded this off the internet. Sorry!


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