Senor Coconut and his Orchestra – Yellow Fever (Essay/Creative Vibes)

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If you’ve ever trawled through op shop record bins and bought something because the cover looks wrong you understand Senor Coconut. Occasionally your find is pure kitsch gold and Senor Coconut seeks to provide this every time. His approach owes a lot to the golden age of the cover version, the reinterpretation, the Switched on Moog, the Baja Marimba Band (to whom he owes a lot), and the countless orchestral renditions of pop standards. In a strange confusing turn German Atom Heart best known for his work in Flanger with Burnt Friedman moved to Chile and adopted the uber kitsch Senor Coconut persona for an album of Samba, Latino, Mambo infused Kraftwerk covers, cheekily revealing the song writing behind the technological fetishism of the German electronic pop icons. Of course the irony is that he did this using electronic cut and paste techniques himself, but that’s fine, there’ plenty of humour and irony flowing through Senor Coconut’s milky veins. And now he’ turned his attention to Japanese electro synth pop band the Yellow Magic Orchestra. He’ even managed to rope three of them in to provide vocals and piano. And you’d be surprised how well their synth pop tunes transform into faux Latino big band numbers. On Behind the Mask he’ done away with the vocoder and replaced it with the sexily accented Venezuelan Argenis Brito adopting big band swagger above sharp stabbing horns, marimbas and vibraphones, which is great because now you can actually understand the lyrics. Beneath the kitsch and the humour however, Atom is hard at work, carefully constructing these amazing tunes, crafting imaginary genres that sound like they’ve existed for years. He’ also handed off a bunch of short interludes between tracks to a some of his friends like Mouse on Mars, Burnt, Towa Tei and Schneider TM who do some explicitly electronic cut and paste, perhaps emphasising once and for all: This is not real. But who wants real when you’re having this much fun?

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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