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Portland Cello Project  Homage (2012)

 Portland Cello Project — Homage (2012)

Portland Cello Project Homage
◊  Portland Cello Project's Homage is a record of orchestral instruments and thundering percussion paying instrumental homage to some of their favorite composers, from Osvaldo Golijov, to Talib Kweli, to Jay-Z.
Since: October 2006
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Album release: April 22/July 9, 2012
Record Label: Jealous Butcher — JB 097 / CD Baby
Format: Vinyl, 12", Limited Edition, CD
Duration:     32:50
Tracks:
1. She Will      (5:23)
2. That's My Bitch      (3:19)
3. Canon On A Lollipopalicious Theme      (4:52)
4. Hey Ya!      (3:09)
5. H*a*m (Kanye West & Jay-Z)       (4:55)
6. Fugue On A Monstrous Theme      (1:40)
7. Get By      (3:30)
8. Lúa Descolorida      (6:02)
Members:
◊  The group has a revolving cast, depending on who is available for performances and touring. Performing members include or have included: Justin Kagan, Skip vonKuske, Gideon Freudmann (cellist), Anna Fritz, Allegra M, Sonja Myklebust, Galen Cohen, Kevin Jackson (cellist), Douglas Jenkins, Ashia Grzesik, Samantha Kushnick, Robert Brooks, Brian Bruner, Emma Wood, Collin Oldham, Melissa Bach, Sarah Young, Tony Rogers (cellist), Heather Broderick, Jessie Dettwiler, Erin Winemiller, Jenette Mackie, and Noah Seitz.
◊  Increasingly the group incorporates other instruments as part of their regular line up. Their regular percussionist is Matthew Berger, along with guest percussionists John Vecchiarrelli and Rachel Blumberg. Brass and Woodwind players have included: John Whaley, Jen Harrison, Teagen Andrews, Jourdan Paul, Jill Coykendall, Leander Star, and Elise Blatchford.
Website: https://www.portlandcelloproject.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/celloproject
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portlandcelloproject
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Portland_Cello_Project
Description:
◊  Since the group's inception in late 2007, the Portland Cello Project (or, PCP, as their fans affectionately call them), has wowed audiences all over the country with extravagant performances, everywhere from Prairie Home Companion, to that punk rock club in the part of town your grandma warns you not to go to after dark. The group has built a reputation mixing genres and blurring musical lines and perceptions wherever they go.
◊  No two shows are alike, with a repertoire now numbering over 800 pieces of music you wouldn't normally hear coming out of a cello. The Cello Project's stage setup ranges from the very simple (4-6 cellos), to the all out epic (which has included 12 cellos playing with full choirs, winds, horns, and numerous percussion players).
The Cello Project's mission is three-fold:
1: To bring the cello to places you wouldn't normally hear it. (Everywhere from nightclubs to symphony halls, from sports bars to loading docks, from libraries to halftime at Portland Trailblazers games...)
2: To play music on the cello you wouldn't normally hear played on the instrument. (Everything from Bach to Kanye to Pantera...)
3: To build bridges across all musical communities by bringing a diverse assortment of musical collaborators on stage with them. (Everyone from the Dandy Warhols to Peter Yarrow to Ben Sollee to Mirah to Garrison Keillor...)
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Editorial Reviews:
◊  The Portland Cello Project continue to take the cello to new musical landscapes with Homage. The record pays unique homage to everyone from contemporary Hip Hop artists, to contemporary classical composers, and even baroque styles of music, in every mixture imaginable. Features cover versions of Lil' Wayne's "She Will", Talib Kweil's "Get By" and national hero, Kayne West's "Monster"
In french:
◊  Ce que propose ce groupe de violoncellistes de Portland est tout simplement superbe. ◊  Recommandé!
VINYL:
Tracklist:
A1  She Will Written-By – Graham*, Carter*, Williams*  5:21  
A2  That's My Bitch Written-By – Byrd*, Brown*, Bhasker*, Vernon*, Fareed*, West*, Lenihoft*, Carter*  3:08  
A3  Canon On A Lollipopalicious Theme Written By – Jenkins
Written-By – Harrison*, Carter*, Scheffer*, Zomar*, Garrett*  4:49  
A4  All Of The Lights Written-By – Bhasker*, West*, Jones*, Mescudi*, Ferguson*, Trotter*   
B1  H*A*M Written-By – West*, Lewis*, Dean*, Carter*  4:55  
B2  Hey Ya! Written-By – Benjamin*  3:08  
B3  Fugue On A Monstrous Theme Written-By – Bhasker*, Vernon*, West*, Minaj*, Ross*, Carter*
Writtenby – Jenkins*  1:37  
B4  Get By Written-By – West*, Simone*, Greene*  3:27  
B5  Lua Descolorida Written-By – Golijov*  6:00 
Credits:
◊  Arranged By – Jenkins*
Notes:
◊  Record Store Day exclusive 1100 copies.
◊  First 200 copies on brown vinyl.
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05.09.2012 Posted By: Danielle Turney
◊  Since 2007, the Portland Cello Project has taken the cello where few have gone before, offering chamber and string-based renditions of movie themes, pop songs, classical pieces, and more — even metal tunes such as Pantera’s “Mouth for War.” The group’s live and recorded output now boasts more than 900 pieces, varying between straightforward arrangements with a handful of cellos to setups of grandiose proportions, with a dozen of its namesake instrument being supported by full choirs, winds, and percussion.
◊  On Homage, PCP pays tribute to hip hop by reworking influential hits such as “Hey Ya” by Outkast and “That’s My Bitch” and “H*A*M” by Kanye West and Jay-Z. “Canon on a Lollipopalicious Theme,” for example, takes Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and elegantly transforms its beats and vocoded rhymes to a string-quartet structure. In many regards, it’s unrecognizable in contrast to the ridiculousness of the original, but it manages to highlight many of the song’s catchiest aspects. The rest of Homage is built the same way, and whether or not you like hip hop or know the original tracks, fans of crossover chamber pieces (with beats) will enjoy the group’s latest.
Fortaken: http://alarm-magazine.com/
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PRESS/Album Notes:
◊  "Before this recent Portland Cello Project concert, I’m not sure that I’d truly realized how important live performances can be in helping you appreciate music." — Time Magazine Online
◊  "It doesn't get much more genre-crossing than this," — MTV.com
◊  "This indie orchestra gives classical music a jolt of energy," — Spin Magazine
◊  "PCP has come to epitomize Portland's offbeat music scene, one where boundaries are blurred and cellos are in abundance." — The Strad
◊  "If you could see how crazy everyone around here gets whenever the PCP cello-izes a new hip-hop or pop hit (which is a lot), you'd understand why their Thing is the best Thing going in Portland," — IFC's Portlandia Blog
◊  "A group of cello-wielding maniacs" — Spacelab Magazine
◊  "An ace group of rotating cellists who take on everything from Britney's "Toxic" to the Dandy Warhols and postmodern Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in their one-off performances" — Entertainment Weekly
◊  "[PCP] concerts are purposely suitable for all demographics: boogie-ing grannies, head nodding hipsters, budding middle-school musicians and everyone in between because bringing everyone together in a spirit of collaboration only adds to the philosophy of diversity that PCP proudly upholds." — CMJ
◊  “To say that this is not your father’s cello ensemble is a vast understatement.” — Barbara Mitchell at the Portland Tribune.
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REVIEW
By Jake Cohen on April 30th, 2012  (Editor rating: **½)
◊  Portland Cello Project is not a novelty, although they can come dangerously close sometimes. A rotating cast of cellists, winds, brass, and percussion, the PCP are part of the new vanguard of classical performers who combine Beethoven with contemporary composers like Arvo Pärt and pop arrangements (think Britney Spears’ “Toxic” for eight cellos).
◊  In the live setting, they can blow you away. Their repertoire, comprising over 900 pieces, includes thoughtful and creative re-interpretations of pop songs – just marvel at the raw awesomeness of cellos rocking out on Pantera’s “Mouth for War”. Homage is a collection of hip-hop arrangements, including covers of Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, and Outkast. Yet too often, these versions just fall flat.
◊  The PCP version of “Hey Ya!” is a perfect example of a cover that comes up short. Every note of Andre 3000′s vocal line, bass, and background harmony is played on the cello; you could just sing right along. The drums are a simplistic and flaccid imitation of the original, and a trumpet plays the chorus counter melody. PCP could have introduced some creative license here: Witness Matt Haimovitz’s cello percussion on his version of Zeppelin’s ”Kashmir“.
◊  The best moments on Homage are the two tracks where PCP completely reinterprets their hip-hop source material, bringing it into their own classical music language. The main melody and bass line from Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” get treated to a polyphonic canon technique, and there’s even a little percussion on their cellos. Equally rad is their treatment of Kayne West’s “Monster”, turning the basic melody line into a fugue subject.
◊  Truly great cover songs should be appealing in their own right. Mostly, Homage consists of flabby arrangements, and other than the novelty factor, there’s little reason to choose any of these versions over the original. No doubt, the energy of hearing an arrangement of Talib Kweli’s “Get By” live is another story, especially when juxtaposed with traditional and contemporary classical music. But the world doesn’t need another orchestral tribute to hip-hop on record.
◊  Essential Tracks: “Canon on a Lollipopalicious Theme”, and “Fugue on a Monstrous Theme”
Fortaken: http://consequenceofsound.net/
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CONTACT:
Artistic Direction and Management
Douglas Jenkins
Email: doug@portlandcelloproject.com
Booking
Mighty Bison Booking
Mary Brabec
(503) 477-7022
Email: mary@mightybisonbooking.com
Performing Arts Center bookings
Gregg Little
Director of Performing Arts
New Frontier Touring
617-232-6152
Email: gregg@newfrontiertouring.com
Publicity
Angie Carlson
Email: angie@propellerpublicity.com © Photo credit: Tarina Westlund
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REVIEW
Posted by Lindsey Scully on May 2nd, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Score: 8.3 /10.0
◊  Portland Cello Project covers artists ranging from Lil Wayne, Outkast, Jay-Z and Kanye West, and are well-known for their unusual take on popular music which is showcased on their seventh release, Homage. The driving force behind Portland Cello Project is Douglas Jenkins, who has repeatedly admitted his love of the hip-hop genre. What’s admirable is how Portland Cello Project is bringing hip-hop to a whole new demographic by playing it through classical means. The title of the album, Homage, is meant to show Portland Cello Project’s respect towards hip-hop and other genres.
◊  The Portland-based band is comprised of numerous cellists (clearly), a wind and horn section, and percussionists that help round out the overall sound. The flutes, trumpets, and drums give a richer sound to the album, and especially on the album’s opener “All of the Lights”, providing a separate layer apart from the cellos. The album boasts great renditions of all the songs but is very heavy on the Kanye West and Jay-Z covers, with a total of four between the two artists on a nine-song album. The band breathes new life into “Monster” by West with a Fugue style that stars three main cellos. Portland Cello Project also blends classical styling into Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” by way of conducting a Canon after the piece.
◊  A stand out from the rest, “Lua Descolorida” (originally a poem by Rosali de Castro from Spain) is not related to the hip-hop genre at all. The poem is often performed live with an opera singer and various stringed instruments, telling a tale of tragedy and love. The Portland Cello Project beautifully recreates the vocals into a main cello that mimics vocal crescendos, creating the same emotion and energy as if an opera singer were performing the song live.
◊  One would not normally assume that classically trained musicians and hip-hop songs could so easily blend together, but Portland Cello Project proves otherwise. Bouncing from new releases (2011′s Watch the Throne) to older (2003′s “Hey Ya!”) brings a wide array of songs from the popular genre and puts them into a new light and in front of a new audience.
Fortaken: http://www.ssgmusic.com/
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Discography:
◊  Limited Edition EP (2008 self released)
◊  Self-Titled (2008 self released)
◊  The Thao and Justin Power Sessions (2009 Kill Rock Stars)
◊  The Justin Timberlake Covers (2009 self released, digital only)
◊  Thousand Words (2010 self released)
◊  The Kanye West and Rihanna Covers Single (2011 Kill Rock Stars, Digital Only)
◊  Homage (Jealous Butcher Records, April 2012)
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Portland Cello Project — Homage (2012)

 

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