Reptile Palace Orchestra | HWY X

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RPO Plays Sweet Girl - Youtube

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World: Balkan World: Belly Dancing Moods: Mood: Party Music
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HWY X

by Reptile Palace Orchestra

"(Ex-Sugarcube Siggi) Baldursson's flawless percussion work, Purnell's gorgeous vocals and Blumfumgagnge's well-phrased, technically superior string parts - which Code often matches note for note on clarinet or sax - build intense energy.
Genre: World: Balkan
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Tin Agape
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3:49 album only
2. The Revenant
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4:46 album only
3. Iste Hendek, Iste Deve
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2:52 album only
4. Dada Sali
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4:59 album only
5. Ouija Board
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3:07 album only
6. Man With a Plan
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4:22 album only
7. Ratevka 2001
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4:58 album only
8. Villiruusu
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3:14 album only
9. Frailoch
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3:25 album only
10. What Did I Come in Here For
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2:39 album only
11. Pizzinecia
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3:51 album only
12. Can't Wait
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4:40 album only
13. Sweet Girl
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3:19 album only
14. Little Wing
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5:34 album only
15. Godecki Cacak
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0:00 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Reptile Palace Orchestra, Hwy X (OMM 2016)
"Balkan lounge big band rock." Eclectic. I like the gypsy dance "Dada Sali," "Ratevka," and "Man with a Plan" with its Beatles influence. "Ratevka" begins like "Thus Spake Zarathrusta" (the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme). When listening to "Frailoch" it’s easy to visualize Russians dancing while sitting down. "What Did I Come in Here For?" is the catchiest tune on the album. Traditional Eastern European dance music with a few modern touches thrown in.

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November 4, 1997 - THE REPTILE PALACE ORCHESTRA, 'HIGHWAY X' (Omnium Records)

Back around the turn of the decade, there were quite a few people who worshipped at the pan-global altar of 3 Mustaphas 3, the English band who approached world music with tongues firmly inserted in cheeks, and pulled it off largely because they had the musical chops (who can forget the classic call of 'Take it to the fridge!'?).

They went the way of all flesh, and left music a poorer place. But in Wisconsin, of all places, there may be a worthy successor in the wonderfully-monikered Reptile Palace
Orchestra. Can YOU resist a string player named Biff Blumfumgagnge? Or a band that pilfers gleefully from Strauss, Paganini, the Munsters, all combined with Balkan, Greek, Turkish melodies, as Cuisinarted as anything Raymond Scott managed, as well as performing a very creditable version of "Little Wing"? Yes, they have the talent, the wit, and while a couple of songs display their 60s hippie roots, for the most part it's full steam ahead, laughing across the dancefloor in a hora, or some other folk dance. Wonderful stuff. - Chris Nickson, KUOW Washington

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Dirty Linen April/May '98 #75

The Reptile Palace Orchestra, HWY X, Omnium OMM 2016 (www.omnium.com)

What this Madison, Wisconsin band sets out to do is risky, but they pull it off with aplomb. The group draws from a wider assortment of instruments than most and puts everything into the mixture, from Eastern European folk and 70s progressive rock to funk and sultry Latin sounds. One minute the group is putting out some passionate Gypsy sounds, and the next it's playing a slow, heartfelt waltz. There are fleeting references to other compositions: "Ratevka," for example, starts out with the theme from "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss. The album closer is a version of "Little Wing," but the group makes the Jimi Hendrix song sound as fresh and as original as the 13 other selections on the album. If the members of Jefferson Airplane had had totally different musical backgrounds and had spent their formative years touring the remote regions of Europe, I suspect they would have sounded something like this. Hwy X is a terrific antidote for jaded folk-rock fans. - Paul E. Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)

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Reptile Palace Orcestra, HWY X, (Omnium): World music from Madison, Wisconsin? 'Ats right. Electric cello, clarinet, sax, trumpet, accordian, your dog Spot...everything's in the mix. From the Greek syrtos "Tin Agape," that opens the festivities to an enchanting lullaby cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing." RPO truly offers something for the traveler in us all. And, if you're pining for clarinet swing, check out "What Did I Come In Here For?" If I hadn't missed the boat so bad last year, this would've been in my year end Top 5. As they say, "Many of these tunes are based on real songs. The arrangements have been changed to protect the innocent." - Pulse, 1.21.98 - Diggit! (Mnpls, MN)

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Reptile Palace Orcestra, HWY X, (Omnium)
T.R.P.O. is a fascinating experiment in resurrecting East European folk musics. Their combination of ethnic, classical and jazz instrumentation into energetic and dynamic arrangements is a plain invitation to dance. RESIDENTS fans will like the weird influx of electronics into some numbers and world-folk music fans will like the fresh, but preserving treatment of traditional melodies. - Thomas Schulte

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Option, March/April 1998

The Reptile Palace Orchestra, HWY X
Following the footsteps of 3 Mustaphas 3, the Reptile Palace Orchestra plays an eclectic mix of mostly Balkan folkdance music with a wacky sense of humor. The RPO's six musicians come with some unexpected resumes, including ex-Sugarcubes drummer Siggi Baldursson. They do an admirable job with their material, and show both talent and an obvious love for the music. Whether the song is Macedonian line dance, a Finnish waltz or one of their own, the RPO gives it the necessary momentum to really swing. Scattered among the traditional tunes and loony originals are an odd selection of covers. "The Revenant" by Holy Modal Rounder Michael Hurley, Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and "Ouija Board" by the Madison band Poopshovel (!) are given special reptilian treatment. ...I'll bet they make a killer party band. Throw on your dancing shoes and grab your partner. - Chris Detzer


The Reptile Palace Orchestra Hwy X (Omnium)
The Reptile Palace Orchestra is a fascinating experiment in resurrecting East European folk musics. Their combination of ethnic, classical and jazz instrumentation into energetic and dynamic arrangements is a plain invitation to dance. Residents fans will like the weird influx of electronics into some numbers and world-folk music fans will like the fresh, but preserving treatment of traditional melodies. - CDnow


"Score one for the forces of trad-Finn-dance-folk-punk!" - MN Daily A&E, Dec 4, 1997

"...sensuous, ambitious, impressive - excellent... You never know whats going to come next." - Steven Thompson, Madison Newspapers Oct 9, 1997

"Baldursson's flawless persussion work, Purnell's gorgeous vocals and Blumfumgagnge's well-phrased, technically superior string parts - which Code often matches note for note - build intense energy whether RPO is playing Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing or an obscure Macedonian folk song. RPO is unique to both local and national music scenes and puts on a scorching live show." - Thacher Schmid, Milwaukee Onion November1997

"Vocalist Anna Purnell is an unaffected Diva, singing everything from waltzes for Ouija Boards to Greek traditional tunes to Michael Hurley classics. Their blazing clarinets, violins and trumpets can take you as far from Wisconsin as you'd ever wish to go." - Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dec 12, 1997

"Snaking through Macedonian mosh pits, Balkan ballads and gypsy jamborees, Madison's Reptile Palace Orchestra succeeds where others fear to tread." - John Noyd, Maximum Ink, Dec 11 1997

Reptile Palace Orchestra " Hwy X" Omnium Records
"The first Time I heard Reptile Palace Orchstra's new Omnium release: "Hwy X", it was very close to the way I felt when I first listened to 3 Mustaphas 3. Indeed RPO could easily be tagged the American 3 Mustaphas 3, but with wonderfully haunting female vocals. Described in the Omnium catalog as Balkan lounge big band rock, RPO is all this and more; I hear psycho-clown carnival music. RPO extract bits and parts from many musical traditions in a way that is at once totally familiar and completely unique. It's like hanging out with a long lost Eastern European relative. You know the one. Middle aged but started the first punk rock band in his tiny mountain village back in the seventies and mixes in the current trends of these musical days with the traditional music of his childhood and early punk days to keep the grandkids happy. You know. That old guy with bushy ears who barely speaks English but is way hipper than any of your friends." - Andrea Norie, KUNM Albuquerque NM


Billboard, June 27, 1998 "Continental Drift"
MADISON, WI: On it's third album, "Hwy X," the Reptile Palace Orchestra continues to mine territory first claimed by Camper Van Beethoven. If anything, the Orchestra delivers more authentically snake-sounding Eastern dance music, driven by wailing clarinet, belly-dancing percussion, and exotic strings, than the Campers ever achieved. It also manages to blend its Eastern influences and multilingual vocals into sometimes moody, sometimes whimsical, rock-accented tracks. Wearing fezzes and other ethnic garb, the Reptile Palace Orchestra has played clubs in its hometown and nearby Milwaukee, Chicago's Martyrs, and Milwaukee's outdoor festival Summerfest. The band has also toured the Wisconsin college circuit and has been a frequent attraction at Minneapolis' Cedar Culture Center. "Hwy X" and previous releases have been heard on college stations in Milwaukee, Madison, Seattle, and Tucson, Ariz., and on triple-A outlets WULA Pittsburgh and WDCE Richmond, VA. - Dave Luhrssen


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