With every trite and overused musical description, there is the willful decision in realizing that almost everything to say about music has been said already. What exactly that means is if someone proclaims the newly restored Radiohead album as a terrific exercise in rock and pop, for how many other bands/albums/songs can we say that about? I look through the past reviews I’ve written to find what phrases, terms or even entire sentences I’ve used before in opposite sounding albums. Couldn’t one express the “reality and truth expressed in the lyrics through the heartfelt storytelling” and equally mean it about Nebraska or maybe, Black on Both Sides?
Rant aside, there comes music every now and then that forces us to reach beyond any comfortable state and find the underlying question, what does it all mean? For Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, their brand of music is a hard style to pinpoint. Back with their amazing debut, Take Off!, I mentioned that with a stellar cast of musicians, along with remarkable composer Daniel Glatzel “together, they create some of the best classical music I have heard in years.” Speaking of trite and overused, what better example could there be? But when discussing said ‘classical music,’ it should be noted that the best classical music today is still being written for major films and not for beautifully artistic merit. Or, very rarely that is. Except for very few, including Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra.
Now, with BUM BUM, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra has expressed a newly refined style of music that entirely embarks on a new wave of lush orchestration. Classically enriched, still, there is a lot to be said about the band’s ability in marveling through different styles. There is a jazz background that recalls some of the free and modal jazz pioneers and there is also a modern classical style that recalls some of the “Second” Viennese School attendees. On BUM BUM the band takes music that was previously individually recorded and mashes it together in a sort of collaborative effort. Unlike Take Off! where the band was able to follow master composer Glatzel in uniform skill, this new adventure combines the classical aesthetic with a re-worked, re-arranged electronic aspect. Songs like “Hektra Mumma Gulla” are allowed to portray their classical outfits, but with the bassoon, violin and more playing separate roles, it’s much harder to, well, classify. None of it matters, really, like a modern Sketches of Spain, it’s a newly found and re-invented style that beckons respect and moreso attention.
Rather than create another album rendered in the same fashion (an orchestra recording together in a chamber-like style) all of the instruments were recorded separately and later, splashed together. There are inclusions of vinyl-like feedback, sounds of a cassette starting and stopping, to the support of ornate recordings of classically-supported instruments. To say ‘classical music’ is not necessarily wrong, but it isn’t necessarily right either. In many ways, AMEO is still very much like a Gershwin style mashed with something we’d see out of the aforementioned Miles Davis or maybe even Schoenberg if we can dream; but that’s the thing about BUM BUM, it makes all the dreams possible, let alone an escape to get lost in. Glatzel and his orchestra combine for a progressive side of modern classical music that is unlike many we have seen before.
In terms of range, the album marks a solid time in length (nearly an hour) as the previous album and it never feels a second over forty-five minutes. It isn’t so much about film scores or even what the classical side of music has to offer; Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra is basking in the glory of creating music that can still challenge today, during this day and time. Many would wonder what the re-creation is about but with BUM BUM’s stellar styling and craft, there is a world of new sounds to envision. There’s always a new sound to explore and luckily for us, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra takes millions of them and splices them together for a beautiful collage of colors to enjoy.