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Boomkat Product Review:
This is the kind of album you could stow away in a time capsule only for the generations to come to be baffled that it ever existed. Neo Dada is an aptly titled piece of modern compositional fusion that chops and changes between heavy duty prog-jazz, chamber music for strings and Frank Zappa-esque mutant pop. Jono El Grande follows his nearly-as-deranged Fevergreens album of 2003 with this impressively scaled-up sequel. Jono takes the role of composer, band leader, arranger and producer on Neo Dada, leaving much of the playing to an orchestra of followers faced with the daunting prospect of having to detangle their way through a barrage of ideas. Any given track presents a slew of manic identity shifts - take for example 'Oslo Coty Suite': at one stage electric guitar and violin shadow each other impeccably through a tricky modal solo, only for the jolting Henry Cow-isms to be halted by a string motif (with a whiff of Saint-Saens' 'Danse Macabre' about it) steering the composition in a different direction. There's more incredible string work to be found on 'Your Mother Eats Like A Playpus', a gleefully complex piece whose pranksterish title hardly reflects the level of craft and toil that informs the score and its execution. Highlights and ear-befuddling thrills are never in short supply on Neo Dada, but 'Ballet Morbido In A Dozen Tiny Movements' warrants a special mention; it shifts from honky-tonk piano riffing (as if it were a silent film soundtrack) into Jethro Tull-style baroque folk via romantic string quartets, playful 17th century harpsichord outings, analogue synth flourishes and very, very strange vocal exercises. All this takes place within eight minutes, perfectly illustrating the exhausting intricacy of this album and its manifold twists and turns. Marvellous and ridiculous in equal measure.