Jono El Grande
Fevergreens Rune Grammofon http://www.tinymixtapes.com//sites/default/files/arton5266_0.jpg

[Rune Grammofon; 2003]

Rating: 5/5 5 / 5 (0)

Styles: post-modern tropical
Others: Frank Zappa, Kaada


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I've never been as versed as I'd like to be in the way of Frank Zappa. I had a Son of Cheep Thrills album, or some other similar nonsense. Then I heard this gem by Jono El Grande out of Norway, and it immediately and clearly rang a bell; somehow it reminded me of the Z-man. I didn't know how at the time, but I think I do now after listening to a survey of Zappa's best.

Like the new trend in movies, I'm going to leave that bit to explicate later; for now, I'm going to give you the fore-story on Jono El Grande. An outsider of a Norwegian (doesn't that almost seem like redundancy?) born Jon Andreas Håtun, he came out of nowhere to make his first album in 1999, to little acclaim. But, he gathered around him artists that must resonate well with him, and released Fevergreens in 2003, to this critic's acclaim. His story bears at least a passing resemblance to that of The Mother, I'd say.

Now to the music and why it yanks your brain to thoughts of lumpy gravy and burnt weenie sandwiches. Zappa was the rare artist who was able to keep one eye on the future, and one solidly on the past. His love of doo-wop was genuine, and his renditions of it were delivered with the earnestness only a true admirer can muster. Well, seems to me that Jono El Grande does the same thing here. He seems enthralled by the absurd splendor of cabana music and Burt Bacharach, and cheerfully reshapes their dialects into his own, with surprising results. From the flourish that greets you on the "Prologue" mere moments into the album, to the ridiculously sliding sax on "Cuban Serum" that you can't resist tapping your foot and doing a seated-rumba to, to the upbeat tango courtesy of the xylophone and synth on "Ante's Inferno," it all seems to coherently form the new and exciting musical divination of Jono El Grande. Fevergreens is easily one of 2003's best recordings.

Like the new trend in movies, I'm going to leave that bit to explicate later; for now, I'm going to give you the fore-story on Jono El Grande. An outsider of a Norwegian (doesn't that almost seem like redundancy?) born Jon Andreas Håtun, he came out of nowhere to make his first album in 1999, to little acclaim. But, he gathered around him artists that must resonate well with him, and released Fevergreens in 2003, to this critic's acclaim. His story bears at least a passing resemblance to that of The Mother, I'd say.
Now to the music and why it yanks your brain to thoughts of lumpy gravy and burnt weenie sandwiches. Zappa was the rare artist who was able to keep one eye on the future, and one solidly on the past. His love of doo-wop was genuine, and his renditions of it were delivered with the earnestness only a true admirer can muster. Well, seems to me that Jono El Grande does the same thing here. He seems enthralled by the absurd splendor of cabana music and Burt Bacharach, and cheerfully reshapes their dialects into his own, with surprising results. From the flourish that greets you on the "Prologue" mere moments into the album, to the ridiculously sliding sax on "Cuban Serum" that you can't resist tapping your foot and doing a seated-rumba to, to the upbeat tango courtesy of the xylophone and synth on "Ante's Inferno," it all seems to coherently form the new and exciting musical divination of Jono El Grande. Fevergreens is easily one of 2003's best recordings.

1. Prologue
2. Awake, wonderful and lavish
3. I'm not a star I'm just lost in space
4. Good gracious
5. Cuban serum
6. Rumba for a slightly excited ape
7. Chá!
8. The frenzied butterflies
9. Centrifuge in D minor
10. Tango on the crest of reality
11. Ante's inferno
12. Ariaph orahri
13. Isle of view
14. Epilogue - encore


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