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Penguin Cafe Orchestra|Preludes, Airs And Yodels (A Penguin Cafe Primer)

Preludes, Airs And Yodels (A Penguin Cafe Primer)

Penguin Café Orchestra

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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was one of those delightfully unclassifiable groups. Not really classical, not really jazz; sort of minimalist, and decidedly not new age (despite their usual classification), the PCO blended the first three of those ingredients into a quirky, beautiful, and timeless music that sounds like no one else. Lots of strings, piano, harmonium, bass, and ukuleles are the main instruments, and the music they produce is pretty, humorous, and utterly unique. Preludes, Airs & Yodels is a collection (one couldn't really use the term "Greatest Hits" for the PCO) that features many of their best-loved tunes like the "Penguin Cafe Single," "Air à Danser," and "Telephone and Rubber Band" (What? No "Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas?"). "Music for a Found Harmonium" actually appears three times: the original version by the PCO, a version by the traditional Irish band Patrick Street, and an electronicized version whipped up by pioneering electronica act the Orb. To be honest, the Orb remix doesn't really fit into the flow of the album all that well, but the point they make about the wide-ranging appeal of the group is well-taken (and it's easy enough to program out). The remastered sound is a marked improvement over their individual albums (as of 2004), and this compilation could serve as the perfect entry point for the curious. Once you hear it, you'll probably want to pick up the four-CD box, History, which contains the rest of their recordings along with various unreleased outtakes and live performances. This is great stuff.
© Sean Westergaard /TiVo

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Preludes, Airs And Yodels (A Penguin Cafe Primer)

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

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1
Music For A Found Harmonium
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:03:39

Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Simon Harry Piers Jeffes, ComposerLyricist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1984 Virgin Records Limited, Licensed courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.

2
Perpetuum Mobile
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:04:29

Gavyn Wright, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nye, Producer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Drums, Piano, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Bob Loveday, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Elizabeth Perry, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1987 Virgin Records Limited

3
Penguin Cafe Single
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:06:15

Gavyn Wright, Composer, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Eno, Producer, Executive Producer - Steve Nye, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Composer, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1976 Virgin Records Limited

4
Air
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:04:20

Gavyn Wright, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Trevor Morais, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Triangle, Harmonium, Participant, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Annie Whitehead, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Defries, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Marcus Beale, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1984 Virgin Records Limited

5
Telephone & Rubber Band
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:02:31

Simon Jeffes, ComposerLyricist - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1981 Virgin Records Limited

6
Dirt
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:04:48

Steve Nye, Producer, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Violin, Whistle, Participant, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Danny Cummings, Participant - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Bob Loveday, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Neil Rennie, Ukulele, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1987 Virgin Records Limited

7
Zopf: Giles Farnaby's Dream
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:02:18

Gavyn Wright, Viola, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Brian Eno, Producer, Executive Producer - Steve Nye, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Simon Jeffes, Producer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Participant, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Giles Farnaby, Composer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Neil Rennie, Ukulele, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1976 Virgin Records Limited

8
Oscar Tango
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:03:10

Gavyn Wright, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Nye, Producer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Geoffrey Richardson, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Bob Loveday, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Elizabeth Perry, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1987 Virgin Records Limited

9
Rosasolis
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:04:14

Steve Nye, Producer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Keyboards, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Geoffrey Richardson, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Danny Cummings, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Bob Loveday, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1987 Virgin Records Limited

10
Air A Danser
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:04:30

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer - Colin Green, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1981 Virgin Records Limited

11
Music For A Found Harmonium
Various Interprets
00:02:43

Traditional, Composer - Simon Jeffes, Producer - Patrick Street, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1992 Zopf Ltd

12
Yodel 3
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:03:23

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Geoffrey Richardson, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1993 Zopf Ltd

13
White Mischief
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:05:49

Gavyn Wright, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Trevor Morais, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Piano, Triangle, Harmonium, Participant, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Annie Whitehead, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Defries, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1984 Virgin Records Limited

14
Prelude And Yodel
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:03:50

Gavyn Wright, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Trevor Morais, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Triangle, Harmonium, Participant, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Annie Whitehead, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Defries, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1984 Virgin Records Limited

15
Harmonic Necklace
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:01:13

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer - Colin Green, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1981 Virgin Records Limited

16
Steady State
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:03:38

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer - Colin Green, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist - Ian Morais, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1981 Virgin Records Limited

17
Nothing Really Blue
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:05:05

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer, Guitar, Piano, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Geoffrey Richardson, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Helen Liebmann, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1993 Zopf Ltd

18
Pandaharmonium
The Orb
00:05:29

Simon Jeffes, Composer - The Orb, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1996 Virgin Records Limited

19
Piano Music
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
00:01:53

Simon Jeffes, Composer, Producer - Penguin Café Orchestra, MainArtist

(C) 1996 Virgin Records LtdThis label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved.(C) 1996 Virgin Records Ltd ℗ 1983 Virgin Records Limited

Album Description

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was one of those delightfully unclassifiable groups. Not really classical, not really jazz; sort of minimalist, and decidedly not new age (despite their usual classification), the PCO blended the first three of those ingredients into a quirky, beautiful, and timeless music that sounds like no one else. Lots of strings, piano, harmonium, bass, and ukuleles are the main instruments, and the music they produce is pretty, humorous, and utterly unique. Preludes, Airs & Yodels is a collection (one couldn't really use the term "Greatest Hits" for the PCO) that features many of their best-loved tunes like the "Penguin Cafe Single," "Air à Danser," and "Telephone and Rubber Band" (What? No "Ecstasy of Dancing Fleas?"). "Music for a Found Harmonium" actually appears three times: the original version by the PCO, a version by the traditional Irish band Patrick Street, and an electronicized version whipped up by pioneering electronica act the Orb. To be honest, the Orb remix doesn't really fit into the flow of the album all that well, but the point they make about the wide-ranging appeal of the group is well-taken (and it's easy enough to program out). The remastered sound is a marked improvement over their individual albums (as of 2004), and this compilation could serve as the perfect entry point for the curious. Once you hear it, you'll probably want to pick up the four-CD box, History, which contains the rest of their recordings along with various unreleased outtakes and live performances. This is great stuff.
© Sean Westergaard /TiVo

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