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Mike Keneally


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Mike Keneally Mike Keneally & Metropole Orkest: The Universe Will Provide album cover
4.24 | 37 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Blues 68 (1:52)
2. All of Them Were Quiet (6:11)
3. Room (6:00)
4. Insert Here, Pt. 1 (0:39)
5. Archaic Peace Strategies (2:57)
6. Four Slices of Toast (11:44)
7. Mwah² (1:42)
8. Worrywart Spoonguy (5:54)
9. When Drums Dream (1:03)
10. Insert Here, Pt. 2 (0:33)
11. Not Just Flutes (4:47)
12. Quiet? (1:23)
13. Bullies (6:46)

Total Time: 51:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Keneally / electric & acoustic guitars, electric piano, composer & producer
- Metropole Orkest/ orchestra
- Jurjen Hempel / conductor
- Chris Opperman / leader

Releases information

CD Favored Nations ‎- FN2400-2 (2004, US)

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MIKE KENEALLY Mike Keneally & Metropole Orkest: The Universe Will Provide Music

MIKE KENEALLY Mike Keneally & Metropole Orkest: The Universe Will Provide ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MIKE KENEALLY Mike Keneally & Metropole Orkest: The Universe Will Provide reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Ever since Frank Zappa's death, many have wondered who could fill his shoes. Artists displaying any penchant for complex arrangements and off-beat humor are typically lumped into some pseudo-genre called post-Zappa, but a real heir apparent has never been named. Les Claypool, Devin Townsend, even Steve Vai are regularly mentioned, but the one who comes the closest to Zappa's mastery of all genres, eclecticism, unpredictability, and technical and compositional skill is Mike Keneally. Though he only managed to play with Frank for a short time before his life was cut short by cancer, he seems to absorbed more than perhaps any other of the genius' many contributors. His style on his early albums was highly similar to Frank's (though never a rip-off), but over time he matured into someone who captured the spirit of Zappa instead of merely the sound. Following the acclaimed, subtle effort Wooden Smoke and the heavy Dog, Mike was commissioned by the famed Metropole Orkest to write and record with them. The result was The Universe Will Provide, one of the finest albums you will ever hear.

Most mashups of rockers and an orchestra end in tears (Aerosmith? Really?), and even the pretty good ones (Steve Vai's Sound Theories, Malmsteen's Concerto for Electric Guitar, selected bits of Metallica's S&M) are little more than interesting, with brief flashes of brilliance. Only select gems like Zappa's own The Yellow Shark, Queensr˙che's Operation Mindcrime, and Deep Purple's Concerto For Group and Orchestra stand the test of time. But I'm here to say, this one puts them all to shame. Like those aforementioned greats, Mike isn't working with an orchestra just to show off; he really puts the effort in the music (almost all of which is freshly written for the project). By working with the orchestra, we avoid the tedious "greatest hits: now with more strings!" that we are normally served; instead, Mike and his band are at one with the Metropole. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the Metropole is the best unique orchestra around; they are just as versatile as Mike, capable of going from classical to jazz and, at times, rocking harder than any electric axe-slinger.

Mike combines all the styles he's displayed throughout his career in this package, from Zappa-tinged fusion to warm, lush soundscapes to borderline heavy metal. And he manages to do this while juggling the risky choice to record with an orchestra. However, the graceful opening number Blue 68 is placating, and by the time the flutes and brass section of All of Them Were Quiet are joined by Mike's distorted guitar, you know you're in for something special. I won't go into a track by track analysis, as that would diminish the overall impact of the album. Although the songs don't really feed into one another and are not linked, this feels like a single composition, merely divided into movements. Tunes like Room how off everyone without being a musical orgy, so to speak. It's delicate yet impossibly complex, and through it all the orchestra and band gel. When Mike cranks up the distortion and volume withing Archaic Peace Strategies and Four Slices of Toast, the orchestra does not get lost; they swell to meet his level and even perform the most insane unison lines I've heard. That's another thing: many of the craziest moments on this record were obviously written out by Mike before hand. What sounds like a mad solo is really just a part of the movement. Hearing saxes, brass, flutes, and strings blend with guitars, basses, and organs is jaw-dropping. The finale, Bullies (one of two pre-existing songs), is a fiery send off to an album that has gone from soft Romaticism to dissonance to fiery jazz fusion on at the drop of a hat. The only negative thing I can say about this song is that I know the album ends after it.

Mike Keneally hit a home run- no, a grand slam- on this one. Even amongst those who have put out great albums with orchestras, none can really point to it as the culmination of their career (though some do). However, The Universe Will Provide is the ultimate Mike Keneally album. This is the album he has been working toward for his career, and though he's never released anything that could be considered weak (at least from what little music I've heard from him and what I've read about his discography), but this is perfection. I cannot recommend this album enough to any fan of progressive rock, fusion, classical music (yes, it's not your standard classical, but it comes closer than pretty much any other rocker), Frank Zappa, or really any fan of music in general.

Grade: A

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Up until now my only experience with Mike Keneally's music was his "Dancing" record from 1999. So needless to say I wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear when I started to spin this one. "The Universe Will Provide" is Mike on guitars and electric piano playing with the METROPOLE ORCHESTRA. No I wasn't expecting so much orchestral music, in fact i'm not the biggest fan of orchestral music so it took several spins before I started to really appreciate what they had created here. My family unfortunately never warmed up to me playing this record this week(hehe).

"Blue 68" is a beautiful and mellow tune with strings and acoustic guitar. "All Of Them Were Quiet" reminds me of Chamber music to start then the horns cry out followed by electric guitar a minute in which will soon set the soundscape on fire as the orchestral sounds continue. Cool stuff. A calm follows as themes are repeated. A great piece of music here. "Room" has a catchy sound with light drums, guitar and piano. I like it! Check out the electric piano around 2 minutes. Strings before 3 minutes and they stop before 4 1/2 minutes.

"Insert I here I" is a short orchestral piece. "Archaic Peace Strategies" opens with electric piano, strings, horns and more. It kicks in louder before a minute then it becomes horn led followed by the electric guitar leading the way. This is an impressive display of instrumental music. "Four Slices Of Toast" is the longest tune at almost 12 minutes and my favourite. A sparse beginning with piano and other intricate sounds coming and going. It becomes fuller after a minute before settling back as the guitar joins in before 3 1/2 minutes. It sounds so good here with that beat. Silence 5 minutes in then a great groove with avant sounding guitar. I dig this so much. Insanity 9 1/2 minutes in until it stops after 10 minutes as we get a change. For some reason i'm reminded of Miles from here to the end.

"Worrywart Spoonguy" has a nice guitar intro before it settles back with electric piano and more. So much going on including vibes, a bass horn and more. Guitar to the fore as the song continues to shift. "When Drums Dream" is not your typical drum solo. "Insert I Here II" is another short orchestral piece. "Not Just Flutes" sounds like Chamber music to start, quite laid back then it kicks into gear but not for long. Intricate guitar 2 minutes in as it stays relaxed to the end. "Quiet!" is mellow with aboe and horns with a few outbursts. "Bullies" opens with intricate guitar and flute then the horns blast as the drums join in. I like the horn playing over top before 2 minutes. A calm follows as strings arrive with horns and drums. I must say at times including here it sounds like i'm listening to a soundtrack to a film. It's building before 4 minutes as ripping guitar follows.

An interesting album that fans of orchestral music should eat up. The sudden outbursts of multi-horns at times is still tough to enjoy for me but I have come to really appreciate this record.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I had a plan for this one. I ordered it a week after it came out, and I listened to it for a day or two. Not being familiar with many records recorded with symphony orchestras, I wanted to get a feel for the sound of Keneally with the Metropole Orkest before I did research on how other acts ... (read more)

Report this review (#1180263) | Posted by Suedevanshoe | Wednesday, May 28, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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