Little Bang Theory - Toy Suites and Themes

SKU Transmogrification 50320
"Little Bang Theory, the Michigan trio featuring Frank Pahl, that performs and records only using toy musical instruments, captured an infectious, wide-eyed youthfulness with bright and cheery arrangements on its 2008 debut album Elementary. The follow-up album, Toy Suites and Themes, while sporting similar instrumentation as its predecessor, is equally satisfying, yet it is a more complicated affair, gently nudging out a surprising amount of emotional complexity from seemingly one-dimensional instruments such as toy pianos, bells and glockenspiels going past their specific associations. For example, Lullaby is an arrangement of the song from the soundtrack of Pan's Labyrinth, capturing the film's unsettling, mysterious mood with skeleton-waltz percussion and plaintive tunes and counterpoint played on a melodica. Toy Suite #5 distills a number of motifs used in the band's modern score that was created to accompany Yasujiro Ozu's 1932 silent film I Was Born, which alternates several times between playfulness and a bittersweet melancholy, portraying the discoveries and disillusionment of the film's schoolchildren. The outfit's magnum opus is included, the 26-minute-long Toy Suite #2, which features some of the most memorable melodies on the album, conveyed with wordless singing and whistling, among the bevy of instruments. Prolific score composer Ennio Morricone's Carillon, from the spaghetti western For a Few Dollars More, is covered with a rendition that recreates the distinctively dreamlike celesta introduction using glockenspiels; with ardent strums and choice flourishes of percussion, it does the original justice, even with its unusual kazoo solo quite possibly the most impassioned kazoo solo ever recorded. For Want of an Orange is another original piece written to accompany a film in this case, it's the incredible stop-motion-animation film The Mascot by Ladislav Starewicz oddly channeling both While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Oh! Susanna. An aural playground, Toy Suites and Themes manages to capture both the joys and the bullies of childhood, and with a poignant depth, it goes even beyond the child's playroom."

"A second album for Little Bang Theory, the toy music trio led by Frank Pahl. Cinema is the thread and main influence running throughout this record. There are two official covers (one Morricone and Navarette's 'Lullaby' from Pan's Labyrinth), compositions designed to accompany projects of silent films, and various film music quotes embodied in the two 'Toy Suites' ' 'Toy Suite #2' features 25 minutes of original music with nods mixed in. The album as a whole is gorgeous, of a disarming level of complexity (yet so simple at the same time), often melancholic and western-like (oh Ennio). A tad less funny than the first album, but perhaps more accomplished in the composition department. Let's just say that with this opus, I didn't have time to miss Only a Mother." -Francois Couture

Bookmark and Sharea
  • LabelTransmogrification
Your Price $11.00

Customer Reviews