Made In China
Full Price (59 mins)
World music has a killer sales pitch: put on that great new album, close your eyes and let the exotic sounds cast you off to a distant place where only beautiful things happen to nice people. For musicians from less glamorous locales, this can be a problem. The solution – to celebrate inauthenticity in all its glory, and the third album by Slovenian ensemble Fake Orchestra reimagines local folk in lavish Latin, African and jazz arrangements. Opening track ‘Lisička’ is a local children’s song whose melody apparently echoes the title tune from the soundtrack to the classic Brazilian film Black Orpheus: Ana Vipotnik does a superb impression of MPB legend Elis Regina on vocals, and the soaring ‘aaa-aaah’ chorus sounds like a lost tropicalismo gem. So far, so impressive – the musicians are excellent, the arrangement sensitive and authentic. Unfortunately next track ‘Jarabi’, a West African tune with a parallel Slovenian translation, brings us closer to the heart of things. This song, and most of the ones that follow, belong to the dark Latino-Afro-Jazz hybrid genre “cruise ship”, arranged professionally but politely, and recorded and mixed as brightly as the singer’s sequins. Band leader Igor Leonardi is a stalwart of the Slovene avant-garde scene and an old sparring partner of the great Don Cherry, so no doubt there are lashings of subtle irony for a local audience. It is clear that the musicians here are enormously talented, but to these ears Fake Orchestra sounds not so much inauthentic, as downright inoffensive.
Edit: just found this fine video above from a previous album… looks like I might have got this one totally wrong as well. See previous article for judgement disclaimer.