Fresh Princes: the Delights of the Vegetable Orchestra – by Peter Nelson-King

Carrot Recorder. Bean Shaker. Pumpkin Triangle. Radirimba. Gurkenficke with variable vacuum hole. Krautscratch. Celery Guitar. Bohrmaschinenlauchzellerpropeller. I think I’m in love.

One would be hard pressed to locate the true birth of noise music in the 20th century, as anybody has the potential to drop a stack of dishes and wonder how it would sound as Dubstep. But in the fast-moving world of alternative instrument makers, one collective has investigated the sonic possibilities of the salad. Based out of Vienna, The Vegetable Orchestra has produced produce instruments to fit any thinkable timbre, and the more the merrier. Their album Onionoise features all of them, and out of the sheer fun and ingenuity of it all the group turned out one of the best experimental albums I’ve heard in a while. They also know how to drop a beat or two.
The why isn’t important, and they don’t answer it (though they do mention that they are delicious). Perhaps a concept of what a vegetable orchestra is “about” would sully things. The group prides itself on how its members come from all different musical backgrounds, and this shows through in the wide variety of styles and moods present on Onionoise. I’m all for layers (oniony ones, especially), but the last thing I want is a guy in an armchair tapping a radish with a stick and pondering its place in the universe. They aren’t a political message, or a SITTM (Stick It To The Man) collective. It’s aural soup. It doesn’t have to be anything more than itself.
And perhaps most people will view the whole thing as a J-O-A-K. That’s before they’ve heard the slow-burn atmosphere tracks and the pretty-dang-good dance music. That’s before the (inevitable) tour opening for McCoy Tyner. TITK (Those In The Know) are fine with the initial guffaw. It’s a sieve. Those left in the pan will be invited to barrel down the highway blasting distorted cabbage. I’m ready for the next album already.
Here’s their site: http://vegetableorchestra.org/
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