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Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. - Like A Duck To Water CD (album) cover

LIKE A DUCK TO WATER

Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.

Progressive Electronic


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philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album figures among those numerous instrumental efforts (in popular music) entirely built around the Moog synth. Historically speaking, Walter (Wendy) Carlos and her "Switched on Bach" correspond to the first Moog dominated musical adventure, followed a few years later by Popol Vuh and their mystical "Affestunde". This Mother Mallard's electronic collection features MiniMoog textures and intricate "superposed" melodies. All Compositions sound pleasantly despite that nothing is really transcendent. Some repetitive motifs and cyclical electronic operations punctuate the ensemble and reveals influences from Steve Reich (additional "structural" process in "all set" noably) or Tangerine Dream (for the almost "hypnotic" like patterns). "Oleo strust" (the best track on this album) starts with a repetitive synth process combined to bass continuous lines. The last minutes contain a long monotonous but luminous minimal chord. The album features some "pop" accentuated tones and some misplaced "humorous" passages ("Harpsichord truck") that I would prefer to avoid. Simplistic MiniMoog exercices in pop-prog proportions!
Report this review (#104834)
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
admireArt
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Shaking the tree!

Somehow it always has amazed me the hidden "magic" in music. That which makes any composition forgettable or masterwork. I mean you can have Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed playing along, but not always will they come up with masterworks, not even God himself J.S. Bach pulled it through as such.

Anyway, here in this Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company's 1976 reissued in 2001 "LIKE A DUCK TO WATER", everything is apparently set up for a flawless effort, yet something along the way happens and it is no good news.

This following brief copied bio seems important for this review considering exactly its songwriting intentions and their focus in this release.

Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, formed in 1969 by David Borden, was the world's first synthesizer ensemble, predating groups like Tonto's Expanding Head Band and Tangerine Dream. After recruiting Steve Drews and Linda Fisher to operate additional synthesizers, the group began playing concerts of minimalist music by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass.

"Like a Duck to Water" really sounds like a mixture of borrowed musical languages, the likes of those same three early minimalists they used to perform, Reich, Glass and Riley. So original as such it is not. It is a great listening experience if you like to play the "who is who" game. It has undoubtly some real awesome and beatiful moments but also those which are not that much fun or even weak.

I will say the reason I do like far more Reich's or Riley's musical idiom as opposed to early Glass, was precisely the fact that the latter's focus was quiet in intention mechanical as opposed to the human spirit that prevailed the first two. In this Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company's release it seems Glass' mechanoid features outweight the more human like spirits of the other two influences.

***3.5 "could have been better" PA stars.

Report this review (#1410790)
Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 | Review Permalink

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