Poi Dog Pondering
This maxi/mini CD, is intended as a "sister release" to Poi Dog Pondering's most recent album Pomegranate. Nicknamed "the remix album", the disc does in fact have three songs from Pomegranate in their reconstructed and remixed, club-sized glory. There are four new songs including "Hard Sometimes" originally recorded by Frankie Knuckles. "Plummagram" is Chicago South Side slang for "Pomegranite", "Electrique" comes from the electric shock warnings on some of the gear used during recording.
"It's a muscular soul revue, a transcendental dance band...Poi Dog Pondering rose like an even brighter phoenix from the ashes, spreading it's wings confidently and soaring into realms few stage bands today can reach." -AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Impossible to categorize, the joyful music of Poi Dog Pondering is truly transcendent." -CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Poi Dog Pondering; searching for some kind of reflection from this strange, grotesque, and beautiful life; fuse deep grooves, tender melodies, feedback, violin, horn section, piano, organ, and percolating percussion; lyrics that pass through everyday occurrences, spiritual complexities, and plummet headlong into the sensual/sexual and the surreal. Performing live, Poi Dog Pondering incorporates visual elements such as film loops and slides, to pull out subtleties and underlying tones, creating a more complete sensory experience.
Poi Dog Pondering originated in Hawaii and grew up in Austin,Texas, but the band has flourished in Chicago where its performances consistently play to packed houses. The band is surprisingly large; often there are more than eleven performers on stage backing up frontman Frank Orrall.
"This record began for me while I was standing in front of a painting in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC titled "The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden","explains Frank Orrall. " In it, Adam and Eve looked full of shame as they were banished from the beautiful garden into the dark unknown of the lower right hand corner of the canvas. This didn't seem right to me. I felt that in that darkness in the beginning of life as I know it. The bittersweet pomegranate here is a metaphor for the gift of sensuality, bliss, pain, exploration of self, strife and mortality - all of which give this life a poignancy, dimension and depth that I don't feel from any notion of Eden."
We drew heavily from, the band's individual talents for orchestral string/wind and horn arrangements. We brought in the Parallax String Quartet and oboist Katherine Pisaro, so that in addition to band members Paul Mertens, Dave Max Crawford and Susan Voelz on winds, brass and violin (respectively), we would have a small orchestra. Add to that the treasure chest of grooves from drummer Steve Goulding and percussionist Leddie Garcia, the assertive "grab the neck and play" guitar of Dag Juhlin, the bubbling of Brent Olds' bass and the interplay of harmonies by vocalist Arlene Newson, Robert Cornelius and Kornell Hargrove - and the sound of Poi Dog Pondering's Pomegranate starts to emerge.
POI DOG PONDERING PERSONNEL
Frank Orrall - vocals, guitar
Dave Max Crawford - trumpet, organ, piano, accordion
Susan Voelz - violin, vocals
Dag Juhlin - guitar, vocals
Paul Mertens - saxophone, flute, clarinet
Steve Goulding - drums
Brigid Murphy - saxophone
Brent Oolds - bass
Leddie Garcia - percussion
Arlene Newson - backing vocals
Robert Cornelius - backing vocals
Kornell Hargrove - backing vocals
Luke Savisky - visual artist in charge of live show film projections