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Estradasphere - Quadropus CD (album) cover





3.32 | 38 ratings

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2 stars To this reviewer, despite them employing a great cast of multi-instrumentalists and touching on positive influences - particularly Zappa, Oingo Boingo, rock Andaluz and the traditional folk music of any number of countries - Estradasphere's releases always seem like tastelessly absurd and eclectic compilations; in order to enjoy their albums you would need to share their peculiar senses of humour as well as have a taste for their distinctly hit and miss music. Quadropus is no different and there's barely a recognisable thread to the songs to suggest they need to occupy the same CD - had they been released as singles, Estradasphere would look markedly less avant-garde. ;P

The individual tracks are somewhat less experimental than the audaciously assorted way they are presented as a package; the upbeat folk song that serves as an opener is initially refreshing but simply poodles along the same sequence, gradually tiring in vibrancy until its close. Next we have a pseudo-techno-pop vignette seemingly crafted entirely from vocal samples - this song, as well as not being very good the first time and downright tiring on repeat plays, requires that you're in on the Estradasphere all-embracing genre joke. Basically the instrumental version of Weird Al.

"King Krab Battle" is a great piece of filmic orchestral (if medieval) marching score morphing into brassy funk-rock and although it dips somewhat around halfway in, it's the first piece on "Quadropus" that manages to hold this reviewer's attention. An album with tunes like this one throughout would be a much more satisfying listen than the somewhat frustrating pick'n'mix Estradasphere have assembled for us, as evidenced by the next two dire tracks, being a short, inexpertly-sung twelve-string ballad and a woefully overextended piece of ethnic jazz-rock which mostly serves as a bed for a solo that doesn't quite manage to take off.

And so it goes on; an album that offers up one homogenised genre after another yet doesn't allow you to settle thanks to the disjointedness of the whole affair. If you're looking for a CD of stand-alone songs from various genres, each somewhat simplified and made more approachable, then an album by a band such as Estradasphere or Secret Chiefs 3 would be an acceptable purchase - but aren't we already at saturation point with countless Zappa albums, Mr. Bungle's "California" and the more nuanced works of Miriodor? Distinctly second tier.

laplace | 2/5 |


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