204

Mice Parade: Bem-Vinda Vontade

Paul Olson By

Sign in to view read count
Mice Parade: Bem-Vinda Vontade New York musician Adam Pierce is Mice Parade—note the anagrammatic qualities of the names—but he's come a long time since he played every instrument on Mice Parade's 1998 debut The True Meaning of Boodleybaye. Pierce still plays the lion's share of instruments on the new Bem-Vinda Vontade, but he's supplemented by a host of other players like keyboardist Rob King and vibes player Dylan Cristy (with whom Pierce plays in the Dylan Group). This has been a continuing trend with each of Mice Parade's successive albums, and what was once a largely laptop-fueled live phenomenon has become a band.

Mice Parade records are often found in the electronica section of record stores, and listening to Pierce's recordings certainly gives an impression of artificial, electronic music: complex hip-hop and drum 'n bass drum patterns, textured keyboard loops, and musical layering in place of harmonic progression. Yet these elements are created by real instruments in real time, and the overall effect is organic and warm. In this respect, Pierce has created his own genre: call it fauxtronica.

Bem-Vinda Vontade continues the trend of its 2002 predecessor Obrigado Saudade towards gorgeous, shimmering pop. Obrigado Saudade introduced vocals to the mix and now Pierce goes farther in that direction: all the songs but one have vocals by Pierce, Kristin Anna Valtýsdóttir (from the Icelandic group múm), and other guests. Gone, too, are the extended musical structures and group improvisations of Mokoondi (2001)—an album that, when I first heard it, made me exclaim aloud, "this is a jazz group! Well, it's not jazz—but it is jazzy, in a Tortoise, post-rock way. Whether it is Pierce singing (in his mildly nasal, conversational voice, which tends to drop into a song like an unglamorous but intimate neighbor) or Valtýsdóttir (whose childlike quaver makes Björk sound as brash as Ethel Merman in comparison), the vocals feel like another layer of a song—not like the song's core.

"Nights Wave features hard-strummed, nylon-stringed acoustic guitars, vocals from Pierce and Valtýsdóttir, some tasty, panned electric guitar, a touch of accordion—it's perhaps beside the point to single out the individual elements, because this is layered studio music. "Waterslide exemplifies the Mice Parade sound (on this CD anyway) with its repeated, tingling synth figure and that signature drum 'n bass drumming skittering beneath acoustic guitars. There's a slightly self-conscious, flamenco feel here (actually, throughout the album) and a typical blurring of instrumental boundaries: is that a Hohner? An electric guitar? "Passing & Galloping goes the farthest into pure alt-rock, with My Bloody Valentine-ish electric guitar and hyperactive, effected drums that sound like an electronic ghost trace of Keith Moon.

Pierce tends to make each CD different enough from its predecessor that judging the relative quality of each release is largely a matter of taste. I prefer the stretched-out, improvised quality of Mokoondi over this one; I'm coming from jazz. But this is otherworldly, fascinating pop—just in time for summer.


Track Listing: 1. Warm Hand in Farmland 2. Nights Wave 3. Passing & Galloping 4. The Days Before Fiction 5. Steady As She Goes 6. Waterslide 7. The Boat Room 8. Ground as Cold as Common 9. Ende

Personnel: Adam Pierce: guitars, drums, keyboards, vocal, percussion, cajon, gamelan, dulcimer, bass; Brandon Knights: realtime fx-analog (#4); Dan Lippel: guitar (#1, 8); Doc Laakio: guitar (#5); Doro Tachler: synth, vocal (#4); Doug Scharin: drums (#2,4), realtime fx-digital (#4); Dylan Cristy: vibes (#2,4,7); Ikuko Harada: vocal (#8); Josh Larue: guitar (#2); Kristin Anna Valtsdttir: vocals (#2,7); Marc Wolf: guitar (#2); Rob King: keyboards (#2,4,6)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Bubble Core | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "The Hive" CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "The Meeting" CD/LP/Track Review The Meeting
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "Kodama Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Kodama Trio
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Star-Spangled Voltage" CD/LP/Track Review Star-Spangled Voltage
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!