Salmonella Dub with the NZSO: Feel the Seasons Change (Virgin)

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Salmonella Dub and the NZSO: Love Sunshine and Happiness
Salmonella Dub with the NZSO: Feel the Seasons Change (Virgin)

To be honest, I have always been vaguely suspicious of the rock-meets-orchestra thing. For a kick-off I wonder who such events/albums are made for.

But then again I had Deep Purple's terrible Concerto for Group and Orchestra as a formative experience and have since listened to various orchestras attack rock songs, and have found very little of interest in those much bannered symphonic treatments of the Stones, Procol Harum and so on.

Never really got it - although Philip Glass' Heroes thing which adapted David Bowie was a real winner.

So I come to this album on high alert - and I have to say that in many places (too many for my liking) all the flaws are manifest: I wasn't in the Christchurch Town Hall on the night (although the companion DVD slide show takes me there) but it seems that at some given moments most of the orchestra must have been sitting things out.

That said the exceptional Love Sunshine and Happiness, and Drifting which is centre-piece, which pull together serious dub and symphonics are outstanding. And the production of Watching It Rain takes you right into the middle of SalDub genius and the stabbing strings, soul vocals from Whirimako Black and the quizzical flutes.

Interpolated with short and evocative tracks from the Paddy Free/Richard Nunns album Karekare (posted previously, see tag) this is given a Maoritanga coherence, and while I have no doubt this will be a very cool aural souvenir for concert-goers (and I have to say an excellent Christmas gift for expats) some of my reservations remain.

But it is a damn sight better than most things I have heard in this odd genre. 

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