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My Vocalese Fun Fair

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Album Review

Should you expect to hear some vocalese on Giorgio Tuma's 2008 release, My Vocalese Fun Fair? Probably not. Should you expect a "fun fair"? Well, that depends — if your idea of a good time involves juicy easy listening jams, fuzzy basslines, and groan-worthy Os Mutantes puns (Tuma is backed by (cough) Os Tumantes, then the answer is a big ol' yes. My Vocalese Fun Fair takes its cue from sunny psych pop, easy listening, and folk revival acts — bands like the Sunshine Company, the New Seekers, the Free Design, and (rightly enough) Os Mutantes. It's the kind of aesthetic that could come off as insincere or goofy — and while the album does get kind of zany at times (the German whistle on "Saltamontes" can't be taken any other way), My Vocalese Fun Fair's sound comes off less as a schtick and more as a delicious reconfiguration. On this album, lilting, meandering folk — kind of like Kings of Convenience, but with a breezy, Latin feel — is paired with round, sunny easy listening-style instrumentation. "Let's Make the Stevens Cake!!!" and "...And Three Parasol Stars" are standout tracks in this regard — Tuma's breathy vocals and downright weird lyrics ("A wizard voice through all night"? "I design a ship with a see-through sail"?) are balanced out by some smooth-as-a-chocolate-shake flute-and-piano flourishes. As a matter of fact, Os Tumantes' instrumental touches really are the, ahem, frosting on the proverbial Stevens Cake when it comes to this album — they've managed to capture everything that's delightfully kitschy about easy listening music. When they manage to pull off some veritable Mister Rogers-esque piano stylings on "Faye's Flying Shoes," it's just magic.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born in Lecce, Italy, Giorgio Tuma grew up listening to the Clash, then Stereolab which formed his distinct view of hard or progressive rock. On the softer side, he appreciates Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Marcos Valle, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Broadway musicals. He began composing music with all of his influences in mind, while his lyrics deal mostly with childhood memories mixed with references to the fantasy worlds of fairs, roller coasters, and circuses....
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My Vocalese Fun Fair, Giorgio Tuma
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