Monday, October 19, 2015

Cartoons and Comics: Cartoon

The former drummer for San Diego progressive rock band Horsefeathers, and L.A. cult groups Elton Duck and Invisible Zoo, Andy Robinson is now a purveyor of an experimental Americana sound. His 2004 debut solo album was called Exotic America. Then in 2011, he released “Music Bucket,” that refers to the pail lowered into a well and the musical surprises it holds when pulled back up.

Besides some vocals, the multi-instrumentalist uses an arsenal of tools including mountain dulcimer, guitar, synthesizer, percussion, lap steel, kalimba, toy xylophone and harmonica. By far, the most whimsical piece is "Cartoon," dedicated to Zal Yankovsky. According to the liner notes, that track even includes "various junk recorded at the Blue Moon Bunny Farm," tastefully incorporated into the mix.

Three other tracks ("The Golden Feather," "Surge," "November Too") use loops to impart a Zen-like flow and upwelling to the music. Robinson demonstrates that he not only carries a song inside but that he has found a successful recipe for unlocking the door and sharing his discoveries.

Music Bucket features guests Mike Keneally (electric guitar), Carlos Olmeda (vocals), David Ryan Norgren (vocals), Dennis Caplinger (fiddle, mandolin), Tripp Sprague (sax), Jamie White (bass), PJ Bovee (bass), Coco Brown (bass), Nicki Elledge (vocals), and Doug Robinson (bass). Chuck Elledge, Allison Boles, Mick and Cynthia Garris add voices to the opening cut, "Yeah." Andy closes the project with "The Open Door," the song's genesis evolving from solo kalimba to a transcendent statement that seems to encourage exploration, innovation and adventure. That's the organic nature of his music that resonates with character and emotion. Tapping his heart's spirit, Andy Robinson's music bursts forth with a shout from the soul.

You've got to appreciate any instrumentalist who has fun with his compositions. “Cartoon” is such a piece that is full of quirky fun and melodic frolic. 

On a non-musical note, Robinson is also involved in improv comedy and currently performs on two teams (Coincidence? and Tribal Luminescence) in San Diego. The teams take audience suggestions and make up spontaneous plays based on them, discovering the humor that usually lies hidden beneath all of our ordinary day-to-day human relationships. It will be fun, and you will laugh!

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