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Friday, December 21, 2012

Ebn Ozn - Feeling Cavalier

Name: Ebn Ozn
Album: Feeling Cavalier
Year: 1984
Style: New Wave, Dance, Island
Similar Bands:
Kid Creole, Devo, ABC, Pet Shop Boys
"One Word" Review: Synth Conglomerate
Based Out Of: NYC
Label: Elektra/Asylum, Warner
 Feeling Cavalier: Cover, sleeve, record
Feeling Cavalier: Back, Sleeve, Record

Feeling Cavalier (1984)
  1. Bag Lady (I wonder) 6:35
  2. Stop Stop Give It Up 3:50
  3. I Want Cash 3:22
  4. Kuchenga Pamoja 6:18
  5. TV Guide 1:40/
  6. Video DJ 4:16
  7. Pop Art Bop 4:57
  8. Rockin' Robin 3:27
  9. AEIOU Sometimes Y 6:27
  10. The Dawn 2:09
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Ebn - Fairlight CMI & Other Instruments Arranged, Programmed & Performed, Recording, Producer, Video Co-Producer, Engineer (Scritti Politti)
Ozn - Vox, Co-Producer. Video Producer(Dada Nada)
Kenn Fink - Recording, Backing Vox, Engineer
Gregory J. Moss - Asst Engineer
Tito Puente - Timbales, Cowbell & Cymbals

Bobby Blain - Piano
Jack Waldman - Fairlight CMI techmex trumpets
April Lang - Backing vox (Techettes)
Lisa Herman - Backing Vox (Techettes)
Jay Aaron - Backing Vox (Techettes)

Velvert Turner - Backing Vox (Techettes)
Jimmy Lowell - Backing Vox (Techettes)
Joe Berger - Backing Vox (Techettes)
Dave Wittman - Mix Engineer & Engineer
Tom Swift - Asst. Engineer
John Luongo - Asst. Engineer, Mixing
Bruce Buchalter - Asst. Engineer
Buddy Pollock - Asst. Engineer 
Jay Mark - Engineer
Linda Randazzo - Asst. Engineer
Greg Calbi - Mastering

Virginia Liberatore - Photography
Lynn Dreese Breslin - Art Direction
Ed Steinberg - Video Production

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. They look eclectic, wacky, and very arty. The names sound Swedish or something, like something they’d have at Ikea. I’m guessing this is going to be very on electronics and synth, but very juvenile and catchy. In any case, it looks very interesting.

Album Review: 
“Bag Lady (I Wonder)” has a techno middle-eastern start to it. The heavy electro bass makes this feel very dark. Then a heavy guitar adds to the landscape and a twinkling keyboard. This feels like a combination of Pet Shop Boys and New Age New Wave. The instrumental flourishes give depth to the song, but over all it is a genra crossing, yet stereotypical 80’s pop song. There are metal-like electric guitar solos, some off key yelling, and other random synth effects. And just as it feels seems like it is about to end, it launches into an extra verse-chorus.
“Stop Stop Give It Up” is a much more mellow, but equally synth pop song. It is smooth, like ABC or Howard Jones, and has that relaxed crooning vibe. There are vocals synthesized in the background that remind me of the Clockwork Orange soundtrack, or Chromeo. If this was produced in the 60’s it would be quite the Motown/doo-wop song. The chorus is very repetitive, but it is a fun hook, so the repetition is welcomed.
“I Want Cash” straight away, feels like Devo, with it’s jittery synthesizer and talk-singing structure (that almost qualifies as rap). The background yeah-yeahs also reminds me of Oingo Boingo. But the stand out star of this song is the amazingly catchy chorus of Wanting, Needing, Loving cash. There is a mini-breakdown about 2 min in that is short, but chaotic and noisy. Also, all synthesized. But the end of the song breaks form and becomes a wild party of the chorus repeating and fading out under laughing and other crowd noised overlaid.
“Kuchenga Pamoja” features a synth xylophone as a driving, jungle anchor for the song. The keyboard has a mix of island and steel drum intertwined as one instrument. The band attains a cool and tropical atmosphere in this song with all the synth elements they can, including many wooden percussion effects. And the chanting adds to the tribal feel. There are some very dated effects, however, there are a couple different bird/squawks (I think) that are a bit cringe-worthy, as well as the deep vocal electric transformation that reminds me of Ween’s song Big Fat Fuck (this effect is used again to completely ruin Rockin’ Robin” And it sounds like the backing vocals keep repeating “Broadway,” buit I’m pretty sure that is not the intended vocal.
“TV Guide” is a very weird wind down to side one. It is a church organ, almost Phantom of the Opera style. The vocal in the background chants TV Guide, and harmonizing vocals perform different in-the-round style lyrics, and eventually, an adult playing to be a kid whines about wanting to watch TV to end the song…for 5 more minutes. Just odd.

“Video DJ” heads back into the tropical styling with ska horns and another island beat, and Kid Creole style vocals. The chorus is catchy, head bobbing-so. There is a call and response with the backing vocals that enhances the interactive facet of music played at an outdoor cultural event. The song mentions NY Salsa, so perhaps that is the style of music they are heading for. I guess the piano could be a bit salsa, but still, it feels more smooth and reggae stylized.
“Pop Art Bop” would fit right into the category of Electric Boogaloo. It is a bit Jan Hammer electronic effects mixed with organic classic hip-hop vocal style and simple electronic bass/drum beat. The song title is repeated a couple of times at accent places in a robot voice. It is a stereotypical 80’s synth dance track. There is some hip-hop jargon laden conversation mixed over the beat at some places which, again, sounds a bit dated.
“Rockin’ Robin” just ruins the song, and almost the entire album. The creepy vocals add nothing to the song, and should only be reserved in songs trying to be unappealing. Down to the root, it is an electronic cover of the song, pretty dedicated to the synth production and the robot synth chorus, but the deep vocals in the verse does nothing for the song. The guitar is even produced in a rock-a-billy manner. But the verse vocals are just embarrassing.
“AEIOU Sometimes Y” is their hit song, which is a combination of a slight dance beat, mixed down under dark synth music that takes us back to the opening track production. The vocals are spoken over the verse melody. This is followed by a big vocal chorus of the song name, sung like a countdown. This repetition repeats a good deal of times, mixing dark instrumentals with steady rhythmic verse, and the catchy and upbeat echoing chorus hook. The spoken-part of the story tells of a guy and girl hunt/chase relationship, and, perhaps in tribute to the Kinks, or as a message in the song, the targeted female’s name is Lola. Because the song is so simple in its nature…only made chaotic by many ADD changes in the synth-keyboard sound, there are many clashing musical breakdowns. They also paraphrase a bunch of theatrical lines, including a line that seems like it is from Ice Pirates. The chorus backing music ends the song in a fade out. “The Dawn” creates an atmosphere of a sun rising, the instruments slowly rise to the surface, like combining the woodwinds of the Beatles with the bass of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (or the song Take My Breath Away) It is a forever rising instrumental, still bleak and cold as it grows. Then it fades out as slowly as it began.

Stand Out Track: "I Want Cash"

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