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«Green Album»

There are many forms, traditions and legacies of roots music but none is more roots-based – literally – or eco-friendly and greener than the one of Viennese Vegetable Orchestra. The musicians of this orchestra play on real, fresh vegetables bought from the local Naschmarkt, in their organic shapes or cut, drilled and sculpted as instruments. Their play-and-eat-later instruments include the carrot recorder, eggplant clap, celeriac guitar, scallion oboe, pumpkin bass drum and calabash bass, to name just a few.

This is not a gimmick, or another transformation of John Cage ideas about home-made instruments. The Vegetable Orchestra, the only known ensemble who employs vegetables-instruments on this planet, plays real music, often a thought-provoking one. Its unique aesthetics ignores not only genre and style conventions and categorizations but suggests new, natural harmonious possibilities, in music and life at large. The bonus: in case that you may feel hungry after listening to or watching these unique vegetables-instruments, a warm and invigorating soup made of the vegetables-instruments leftovers is served to the audience after the orchestra performances. You can also buy a book that will instruct you how to build your own 18 vegetable-instruments, with recipes for the leftovers.

The Vegetable Orchestra was formed twenty years ago. Its democratic line-up features musicians from Vienna alternative scene as bass clarinet player Susanna Gartmayer, DIY electronics player Tamara Wilhelm, sound artist Ulrich Troyer and other visual artists and authors. «Green Album» – released as a limited-edition of 200 green vinyl plus discs and download options – is the fourth album of the orchestra. The sonic spectrum of The Vegetable Orchestra is indeed fresh and nutritious – literally. There are plenty of mischievous and amusing cartoonist moments as you can expect from such inventive orchestra (the album was funded by a crowd campaign – Krautfunding, a German vegetable pun), but also countless clever references to contemporary modern music, free jazz, ambient and even hip-hop and rap.

The Orchestra echoes the early minimalism of Steve Reich and Terry Riley on pieces like «Szemenye», «Fasern», and «In V» (a reference to Riley’s iconic «In C»), but colors these compositions with untimely, percussive timbres and sonorities. «Perfect Match» flirts with hip-hop and even offers a veggie kind of gangsta-rap with water radish, scallion oboe, pumpkin and calabash bass, complaining about our turbulent, disorienting times. «Beet-L» and «Hyperoots» alternates between techno beat and ambient atmosphere. «Schwarzmooskogel» suggests new steps for a seductive, exotic dance while «Bamako», pays its respects to the repetitive bass ostinato of West African kora and balafon music. The dramatic-enigmatic «La Valse Éphémère» mixes the musical universes of Moondog, Kurt Weill and Tom Waits into a spicy salad. «Carrot Pano Drama» sound like a theme for a veggie star-wars remake. This orchestra concludes with «Bumpkin» that proves that even vegetables can have noisy characteristics.

Listen while your belly is singing or after completing your shopping at a local market.

Eyal Hareuveni

Jürgen Berlakovitch, Susanna Gartmayer, Barbara Kaiser, Matthias Meinharter, Jörg Piringer, Richard Repey, Ingrid Schlögk, Ulrich Troyer, Tamara Wilhelm, Martina Winkler (Arabic feebee, bean bag shaker, bohnensack, calabash bass, calabash horn, calabash with parsley sticks, careco, carrot marimba, carrot recorder, carrot water flute, celeriac guitar, celery, dried nigerian okra, eggplant clap, eggplant with carrot sticks, fiepe, fisolen knacks, geschlagene melanzani, geschlagenes kraut, granular fiepe, grated onions, gurkenficke, gurkeridoo, gurkophon, jungzwiebel oboe, karotten klappe, karottenrohrknarze, leek clap, leek violin, onion peels, orientalisches radihorn, paprikatröte, petersilie geige, ploppe, ploppflöte, pumpkin bassdrum, radihorn, radirecco, radirohr, salatmassage, schütteln petersilie, singender säge lauch, smashed pumpkin, spinal massage, The fly, toki toki, verzerrtes kraut, wasserrad, zellerbongo, zellerbongo mit lauchschlägel, zeller ficke, zellerklappe, zucchinivibrator, zwiebelringe, wind machine).

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