Get this crazy baby off my head!


Mike Keneally + Metropole Orkest

Mike Keneally + Metropole Orkest - The Universe Will Provide - 2004 - Favored Nations

There have been a whole lot of ill-conceived orchestra/rock hybrids, ranging from the Beatles to Yes to Creed(!), and, as a general rule, they live up to their low expectations. Then there's the occasional rocker bidding for 'serious music' consideration, like Ian Anderson, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel, who never quite get the desired recognition despite all the hoopla surrounding the release. Frank Zappa's orchestral version of "Duke of Prunes" from Orchestral Favorites is probably the most successful integration of orchestra and electric guitar, but one tune only hints at the potential. It doesn't mean that the concept is without merit, it just shows that no one with the talent and vision to pull off a full program has made an attempt thus far. Until now. The Metropole Orchestra is one of the best and busiest European orchestras of the last 50 years. In 2002, they commissioned Mike Keneally to come up with a program for guitar and orchestra and the result was The Universe Will Provide, a dazzling tour de force that finally delivers the goods. The first thing you have to understand is that this is not your average orchestra. This orchestra can play anything from jazz to classical and they can rock as hard as many rock bands. Keneally is a guitar and keyboard virtuoso who got his most serious musical training as a member of Frank Zappa's final touring band, and like his mentor, has developed a uniquely personal guitar style and melodic sense. Except for two pieces, Keneally came up with all new music for the project, and the results are unlike anything you have heard before. This isn't an orchestra playing rock songs with guitar solos, this is classical music specifically written and arranged for an orchestra that contains guitar (as member and featured soloist), electric piano and a killer rhythm section. The first track is nearly a lullaby, just strings and guitar and very pretty. "All of Them Were Quiet" begins with a bit of mystery from the full orchestra before blasting into what sounds like a guitar solo, but if you listen to all the orchestrations surrounding it, you'll realize that at least major portions of it are written out. Keneally is wailing, without a doubt, and most rock bands would kill for this powerful and tight a rhythm section, but it's all part of this amazing, exciting composition. "Room" is a polyrhythmic masterpiece over a piano ostinato that is joined by strings before going into a tasty electric piano solo where the electric bass picks up from the piano and strings. The song then switches gears into a more of a vamp before getting back to the original theme. The orchestrations by Keneally and Chris Opperman are just fantastic, revealing exquisite musical details with successive listenings. One of the more exciting tracks is "Archaic Peace Strategies," which opens with flutes and piano before launching into a great trombone solo followed by some amazing guitar/orchestra unison melody lines where, again, the orchestrations are nothing less than exciting. The album centerpiece, "Four Slices of Toast," is equally incredible, and really showcases the bass player and drummer (in addition to Keneally's guitar). The horn players also get a chance to shine, even improvising for a while behind Keneally! That's practically unheard of in the classical world. At nearly 12-minutes long, the piece never fails to hold your attention. And the action just doesn't let up. "Worrywart Spoonguy" piles tricky passages and rhythms on top of each other before heading into a hairy guitar solo that is rejoined by the full orchestra for the theme again, which comes back tougher with additional parts. Every track is great, right through "Bullies," which closes the album with another monster guitar solo and a majestic flourish. Special mention must go to monster drummer Arno van Nieuwenhuize: his playing is masterful and he absolutely nails everything (and to give an idea of how detailed the orchestrations are, 85-90% of his performance was written out). Keneally's guitar playing is just incredible throughout, not just as a soloist, but listening close reveals tiny but delicious details like the dissonant double stop 45 seconds into "All of Them Were Quiet," or the acoustic guitar work on "Not Just Flutes." This is not your mom and dad's classical music. This is modern, vibrant music that shatters expectations of what classical music can be. Keneally fans will be pleased, because this is a Mike Keneally album through and through, despite the new surroundings. This is classical music to be sure, but it's likely to grab the attention of any open-minded listener, even from a rock background. This album should also open the eyes of some of the classical crowd to a host of new possibilities for orchestra composition. The fact that this music was not 'dumbed down' for the rock crowd is a big part of what makes it so successful. Hats off to Co de Kloet of NPS Radio for envisioning such a project and forming a label to release it, and to the Metropole Orchestra for playing their collective asses off. Kudos to Keneally for rising to the challenge, playing his ass off, and creating a masterpiece. You haven't heard anything quite like this. © Sean Westergaard © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-universe-will-provide-r706992/review

Ex-Zappa guitarist, Mike Keneally is an extraordinary musician and composer. Since 1992, the vocalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and multi- instrumentalist has released over 20 albums of music of remarkable inventiveness and originality. He provided vocals, guitar and keyboards in Frank Zappa's last touring band and appeared on numerous Zappa albums. He has also played keyboards with the Joe Satriani Band, and has performed and/or recorded with artists that include Robert Fripp, Kevin Gilbert, Steve Vai, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, The Persuasions and many more. He is noted for his innovative, and often unpredictable live shows. All Music Guide stated that "Keneally is the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era." "The Universe Will Provide" recorded with the famous Dutch The Metropole Orchestra is another example of Mike Keneally's musical inventiveness and outstanding guitar expertise. This album is usually labelled as a classical recording, but if you like great progressive rock, and jazz fusion you may enjoy this very impressive album, which is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Read the story of this album's creation @ http://www.keneally.com/tuwp/ Check out the Mike Keneally Band's "Bakin' @ The Potato!" album @ http://overdoseoffingalcocoa.blogspot.com/2011/11/mike-keneally-band.html and consider buying Mike's brilliant Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins' "Dancing" album and promote real music [All tracks @ 160 Kbps: File size = 59.4 Mb]


1. Blues 68 (1:52)
2. All of Them Were Quiet (6:11)
3. Room (6:00)
4. Insert Here, Pt. 1 (0:39)
5. Archaic Peace Strategies (2:57)
6. Four Slices of Toast (11:44)
7. Mwah² (Mwah Squared) (1:42)
8. Worrywart Spoonguy (5:54)
9. When Drums Dream (1:03)
10. Insert Here, Pt. 2 (0:33)
11. Not Just Flutes (4:47)
12. Quiet? (1:23)
13. Bullies (6:46)

All tracks composed by Mike Keneally


Mike Keneally - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Electric Piano
Metropole Orkest - Other instrumentation

Metropole Orkest (The Metropole Orchestra) is a renowned Dutch broadcasting orchestra, formed by Dolf van der Linden in 1945. The orchestra has worked with numerous musicians, playing everything from cabaret to film music, musicals, jazz, rock, and pop.


Mike Keneally obviously doesn't like to be labeled -- he's a bandleader and bandmember, a rock and jazz fusion player, and also an outstanding guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, and percussionist. Taking up keyboards at age five, Keneally's life changed when he moved from New York to California in 1970 and heard Frank Zappa for the first time at age ten. Woodshedding for the next 15 years as a self-taught guitarist, Keneally formed a band called Drop Control in his hometown of San Diego in 1985 and became one of the city's musical heroes. Keneally auditioned for Zappa's band in 1987 as a "stunt guitar" replacement for Steve Vai, and was hired as a guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The multi-instrumentalist would appear on some classic Zappa albums like Broadway the Hard Way and The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life, but little did he know that his lineup would be Zappa's final touring band. Between 1988 and 1991, Keneally performed with Drop Control and Zappa's son Dweezil's band Z, toyed with studio-musician status, and moved to Los Angeles. After working on the Grammy-winning tribute album Zappa's Universe, Keneally started a solo career with his 1992 debut album, Hat. Quirky and hard to categorize (with Zappa trademarks like classical undertones, stuttering, jazz-like rhythms, and humorous lyrics), the debut was a big hit with critics. But the next year would claim both Keneally's father and Zappa, leading to the moody yet brilliant 1994 CD Boil That Dust Speck. Ranging from intense rock ("Skunk") to ballads ("Blameless [The Floating Face]") to Keneally's closing percussion tribute saga to Zappa, "The Old Boat Guy," the disc showcased every facet of his array of talents. Leaving Z in 1996 and naming his solo touring band Beer for Dolphins, Keneally released the riotous double CD Half Alive in Hollywood, featuring one disc of live-in-a-studio originals and one of live stage performances (including covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Power to Love" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"). He also formed a band called the Mistakes, with Henry Kaiser, Andy West (Dixie Dregs), and Prairie Prince (the Tubes), who released a self-titled album. The same year, Keneally joined fellow Zappa alumnus Steve Vai's band, playing on the G3 Tour over the next year with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Playing classical piano-like keyboard lines, percussion, and intricate harmonized guitar lines with rock virtuoso Vai, Keneally helped the band steal the G3 show often (as evidenced by the G3: Live in Concert CD). Between releases by Beer for Dolphins (1997's Sluggo!; 2000's Dancing) and solo albums (1999's Nonkertompf, on which he played all of the instruments), Keneally also found time to record two CDs with Vai, 1999's The Ultra Zone and 2001's Alive in an Ultra World. In 2001, Keneally got a new acoustic guitar, which led to the release of the largely acoustic-based and mellow Wooden Smoke, which showed yet another side of Keneally's musical personality. For another interesting detour, in 2002, Keneally was approached by Co de Kloet, commissioning director for Holland's NPS Radio, and was commissioned to write music for electric guitar and orchestra. The resulting music and live performances with the renowned Metropole Orchestra were such a success that de Kloet started the NPS Output label to release The Universe Will Provide in 2004, just a month after Keneally turned around and delivered his hardest-rocking album to date, Dog, with the newly christened Mike Keneally Band. Just a few months after that came Piano Reductions, Vol. 1, an album of Vai songs played solo on piano that was actually recorded in 1999 at Steve's request. As if he weren't busy enough, around the same time he got involved with Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith's Yo Miles! project, appearing on both Sky Garden and Upriver. The Mike Keneally Band hit the road in 2005, playing across the U.S., with Guitar Therapy Live appearing as the tour document in 2006. That same year, Keneally acquired the rights to his early catalog on Immune with plans to re-release it in deluxe editions in 2007 on Exowax (each of Keneally's Exowax recordings has been available as a limited-edition package with lots of bonus material). With his wide-ranging talents and ability to be creative in almost any musical situation, Keneally is the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era. By & © Sean Westergaard & Bill Meredith © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/mike-keneally-p93263/biography


AztecViking said...

Hey, thanks so much for the new link A.O.O.F.C.! ^:-J

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi!J. TVM No probs...P

Raul said...

File not found!
Raul - Brasil

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Raul. I haven't original album to re-up. Perhaps somebody could help with a link? Many Thanks...Paul