Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Portsmouth Sinfonia
"Plays the Popular Classics" (Vinyl)

Leave it to the art students.
It took art school to give us Captain Beefheart.
It also took an art school to give us the Portsmouth Sinfonia.
When you actually learn about the idea, it's intriguing: an orchestra that anyone can join regardless of ability or talent.  The only rule: you can't intentionally play badly.  The result: hilarious renditions of the classical playbook that quickly developed a cult following.

Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of them.  It took the Portsmouth Sinfonia's notoriety on YouTube for me to hear of them.  By that point the orchestra had already been defunct for 30 years, but its charm is timeless.

The concept behind the orchestra got attention from actual musicians, including Brian Eno, who joined the orchestra and actually produced this, their debut LP.  It was released in 1974 and was followed by a few additional releases, but the orchestra hung up the baton in 1979.

If ever there was a reunion tour begging to happen, this is it.

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