Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra “Reel to Reel” | Ubiquity Records
“I love making records, Music is my drug and I’m a junkie. A Funky Junkie! I once again return to my Ping Pong Orchestra guise making more cinemafunk jams. From Baxploitation (“Daylight Robbery”) to Spaghetti Western (“Song for Ennio) and Motorcycle psych rock (“Biker Chick”) it’s all in there. Reel to reel uses some of my favourite instruments and sounds ie: vibes, double bass, waterphone, alto flute, Marxophone and fuzz guitar. Analog film and analog tape- Reel to reel and kepping it real for real!” – Shawn Lee
Shawn Lee is one of those enigma’s in modern music whose penchant for analog 60′s sound has created a base of sound that has carried his music into the most wonderful vibes. With his main home in the eclectic label Ubiquity Records, Shawn Lee has been afforded the opportunity to express the vast world of sound he can play under one roof. This year he has prepared Reel to Reel under the direction of one of many bands he has, the Ping Pong Orchestra. As another fusion record in his catalog that dives into a really diverse set of genres such as cinematic scores, funk, soul, jazz and much more, this release serves as another testament to the prowess and skill Shawn Lee conducts into every record he puts put. The analog sound and fulness of the recording rides into every track and connects the album to its musical and conceptual make up.
Nothing sounds as good as music captured in the reel to reel domain and Shawn Lee has some of the best recordings out today in this world. Reel to Reel feels like an odyssey into the 60′s and 70′s when music, film and art were at a collected apex. The average musician of the day could walk circles around most today and the standard for innovation was set high. Shawn Lee’s Reel to Reel embodies this greatness in music culture with a set of tracks that stretches the board of popular and progressive music of the 60′s and 70′s.
“The Definition of Funk” is one of the many highlights of the album and sets a tone that fans of funk from all periods can really appreciate. As the older gentlemen breaks down many torch runners of the funk family, the spacey hard driven beat rides into ecstasy when the flute and fuzz guitar opens up in their respective moments. Betty Davis, Goerge Clinton, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Bootsie Collins, Clutchy Hopkins, Sharron Jones and The Gap Kings, Quantic, The Heliocentrics and Breakestra are just a few of the artist and bands mentioned as many artists of the day are given homage and respect as well. It’s a really soulful diversion into the funk sound with some really beautiful fuzz guitar that blows the mix out. It’s a track I go back to often.
Another off the wall and mind blowing track is the highly charged “Soho Chase”. The bass and drums are tightly laced together, hitting on all registers in the most intense manner. Guitar is as slick as can be, turning the track inside and out as even tighter horn lines shoot in and out. When the sax takes off, the music breaks down into a really hypnotic percussive break that leads right back into the main sequence that came before it. The strings glide in with ease and step back with the same tension-less momentum. It’s a really intense ride and breaks down a massive state of groove that you can’t just copy by learning some chords.
The albums opener “Boomwack” is a piece that lifts me up onto my feet every time. With a menacing and dark aura, the percussion is lively and placed so smoothly over the synth and guitar parts. The transitions are beautiful and never push too far outside of the main theme of the song. Piano rides deep and minimally charters through grafted states of melodic bliss. Rooted in a deep state of percussion, this is one of the most powerful songs of the album and starts off Reel to Reel in a really heavy way. Get this album, you won’t be disappointed.
Order from Ubiquity Records HERE