Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mike Viola - Acousto De Perfecto (Review)

Sometimes there are records that have to be on vinyl, not only because the audiophile enhancement, but also because of yet another difference to the CD medium: vinyl has two sides. Acousto De Perfecto is one of these records. 
Listening to the CD I thought "This is a strange concept". You'll find new songs like Secret Radio and Primary Care Taker, new versions of known songs like Soundtrack Of My Summer or Hair Of The Dog and instrumental parts. 
I was slightly surprised ... until I saw the LP track list: Side A are completely new songs, Side B consist of new interpretations, and both sides each end with an instrumental part.
And suddenly it fits very well.
The record is a collaboration between Mike Viola and LA-based violists Eric Summer and Kate Reddish. The latter deliver a whole new level to the songs.

Acousto De Perfecto cover
About Secret Radio, the opener of the album, Mike explains it "(...) was written onstage live at a show in Charlotte NC. This guy, a fan of pop music was putting on a "pop fest". He paid all his favorite pop artists to come to NC, put them (us) up in hotels and rented out this hall. Maybe a gym at a college? Can't remember. Anyway. About 13 people showed up on a rainy Friday night. It was an utter failure. It spoke volumes about the distorted self-perception that fans of pop music have about their pop brethren. That's another story. An ugly long story. The story of Secret Radio is me singing to those 13 people. Explaining something in song. that  they are the reason I try and try again. And always will. No matter how pathetic the numbers." 

"Songs, songs, songs. 
They pour out of me. 
Not all of them are worth finishing, 
but you gotta finish them to see. 
For people like you. 
Who keep it turned on. 
For people like you. 
I've been singing to all along. 
On My Secret Radio."
Secret Radio

And that's why people like me buy your records, Mike. It's a really superb song. Just beautiful. (more from the interview for PowerPopSquare can be found here).

Happy and Normal, Date Night and Primary Care Giver also benefit from involvement of both violinists. One of the highlights from Side A is I'm Your Dog. The song is the perfect 2 minute pop song that only Mike Viola can create (see: Strawberry Blonde or So Much Better). With a length of just 100 seconds he's done an instant classic. Side A ends with Thing in C, a stunning string instrumental. It's a really beautiful and emotional piece of work of Eric Summer and Kate Reddish.
Side B starts with new interpretations of three Electro De Perfecto songs (El Mundo De Perfecto, Soundtrack Of My Summer, Closet Cutter) and an older favorite of mine: Hair Of The Dog. It closes also with a second viola instrumental part (Tony Leather Tips) leading into a "unexpected" finale.

Track list (LP)

Side A
  1. Secret Radio
  2. Happy and Normal
  3. Date Night
  4. Primary Care Giver
  5. I'm Your Dog
  6. Thing In C
Side B
  1. El Mundo De Perfecto
  2. Soundtrack Of My Summer
  3. Closet Cutter
  4. Hair Of The Dog
  5. Tony Leather Tips
Postscript: We European are eager to see more Mike Viola live gigs! Hope you come back some day!