The critical view of Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra
Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra Doesn’t Need a Theatre Show to Fascinate
Album review ‘Iron Shoes’
One day I got this CD from a barkeeper in Amsterdam. He told me it was his band’s first full length album. And most importantly, that I shouldn’t expect the average, while listening, but something rather strange. The black and white picture of the musicians in the booklet sure looks strange: dressed up like scarecrow figures, with anonymous masks and high hats, playing flutes and beating on drums, while standing on the moon. But what about the music?
Iron Shoes starts with ‘Retribution,’ a collage of old tube radio hiss and snippets of broadcasts. It makes you feel like you’re in an old submarine, listening to secret frequencies. Land ho! It seems we’ve reached Slovakian ground, with a traditional instrumental called ‘Bratislav Nigun,’ a happy folk tune. Is this a joke? I can’t help expecting a Mr Bungle-like interruption every moment, but none of that happens. We dive underwater, and off we go to the Far East to witness the ‘First Japanese Landing on the Moon.’ Block flute, cello, and box harp, again with spooky radio-transmitted voices — a completely different atmosphere. And the next moment it’s time to boogie all the way with the ‘Three cornered hat dance’.
The variation of music styles and instruments on this album is so overwhelming that it’s easy to get lost. In a positive way, that is, it’s like an adventure. Fascinating to hear all these different influences and atmospheres. Where did these young lads get the inspiration from, to make this mix of folk and avant-garde music? Most likely it’s their theater-focussed point of view that makes the difference. The band has a habit of performing at strange locations; for instance, in a laundromat and at theater festivals.
The accordion-driven tracks on Iron Shoes actually recall another theater act: the Dogtroep backing band. But while the Dogtroep band, with their recognizable sound, depends on the theater act to elicit maximum conv iction, the Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra doesn’t need a theater show to fascinate. Their musical performance is a fascinating trip itself.
Review ‘The Philosophical Egg’ , Pula, Croatia.
The magnificent theatre “Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra”, with the “The Philosophical Egg”, the costume contemporary drama, under the Fortress “Monte Paradiso”. A musical art project that embrace different artistic elements, unifying version of music, theatre, performance art, ritual and cultural crossover. The music from folk traditions and classical traditions, coming from Japan, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Arabia, done under the Far Eastern Chinese/Japanese Opera masks. Each mask has a story to tell and music to play. The play most experimental, post-modernistic, avant-garde in its construction. Magnificent play with different cultures, music played on classical European instruments, contrabass, cello, violin, folk instruments, the Chinese pipa, the Turkish Saz, accordion, oriental oboe, water organs, the shamanistic drones to support the unique dynamic inherent in the music. The group performs on the specific sites, open air so that unusual location meets particular aesthetics of specific physical nature. Magic
Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra – Our Tin Tribe
This mysterious artistic project was born when? We Don’t know. but bandfounder Makmed the Miller played with a wide spectrum of artists, before starting with this Orchestra. At first, I assumed they were from The Netherlands, though in this world suffocated with unnecessary things, I prefer an anonymous approach.
I discovered the band through this record that I found in an intimate record fair in Brussels. I was just browsing through small boxes with records and I was peaking at stuff by accident, after a superficial and fugitive look at the cover (if any). I didn’t know anything about the band before. I don’t know much now either. Though obscure and mysterious, this project its so complex, that can gather together music, theatre, installation, film, performance art, costume party, light show, cultural train wreck, dance, ritual (real and fake). Let’s meet on the playground and have some fun!
The music can be described as ‘’traditional, contemporary, post-modern, ancient, naive, classical, situationist, the right notes with the wrong instruments, pentatonic, microtonal, harmonious, out of tune, chromatic, free, rigidly structured, coherent, upside down.
Makmed plays an impressive range of instruments, from theremin, pipa, bouzouki, saz, cello, phono fiddle, yayli divan, guitar, percussion, circuit bent instruments, to self-made instruments, such as the water organ based on the Bor Berzerka prototype, and several circuit bent keyboards and toys.
Even if it says this is a remix of the CD called Iron Shoes, the album Our Tin Tribe sounds like a fully new composition, even though its always tricky with experiments. This album drifts great, with rhythmicity and joy; it spreads diverse energies to have a wonderful musical experience at the end of it, and always wanting to come back to some parts, to feed the hungry soul.
Our Tin Tribe (vinyl) – Reviewed by Musicwerks
Meeting of industrial with gypsy music: extreme oriental themes that melt with gypsy anthems, softly remixed with industrial sub-bass sounds… newskool kabuki? nostalgia of people from the mountains, lost in the city… distorted ambient… good, mystic mood – beautiful and positive, optimistic but not stupid. these 7 musicians play 25 instruments. no words, no samples. a band featuring hungarians, dutch and egyptians.
A String of Dragon Pearls – Reviewed in Glas Istre (Pula, Croatia)
Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra doesn’t belong to any specific time or space complex. It’s a laboratory of sound, a play with tonalities, a transmitter of sounds. I dare to write this two days after their performance in Monte Paradiso, which inspired the invited audience. The performance: “The Philosophical Egg” is an event, a series of seven performances, each one for only seven invited visitors. Although it was most impressive, that moment in the fortress shall remain within me, in the shadows, I cannot write about it here.
On the last night of the PuF Festival, the wider public had another opportunity to know them for an hour and a half. They aroused curiosity already before they played, by the placement of public and orchestra. The stage was behind our back, the moving picture and sound was on the steps of the theatre. But what kind of theatre? What kind of music? Who is in front and who is behind? Where does the inspiration originate from? The answers are not easy.
In the first place there is a lot of freedom of expression. Nine separate individuals. It may sound boring but it’s really not. There is no forced concept. Not even a story. And when a narrative is intuitively felt, it spoils the game. The orchestra entertains itself with and draws inspiration from sound. Out of the sound they make a journey to timelessness. Even the costumes give the same message, ‘we are not limited in our perception – do not try to find us within bound definitions’.
The Orchestra does have tunes, it’s not just scattered sound material, but it’s important to say that a large number of musical themes are coming from other sources. We recognise some inspiration from the east (near and far), from klezmer, but primarily from experimental sounds. Their instruments of research are divided like any orchestra into sections. String section with emphasis on violin, plucked instruments, blowing instruments, and rhythm section.
It would not be true to say that they are virtuoso musicians (with the exception of the violinist). They are people, and not preoccupied with that. Their main focus is the production of sound from anything that can produce it. From singing saw to chemical bottles, glasses with coloured liquid, plastic tubes, even radios. With their costumes and visuals they have increased both our fun and theirs. A colourful fantasy, refreshing and definitely unpretentious. It’s enough to write; Bravo, you stay in our memory!
[Translated from original article by Nusa Hauser]
Orchestra that plays traditional songs from around the world but never in the traditional way. They use selfmade instruments as well as instruments not to be found in the regions the songs originate from. Besides these old folk tunes they make their own compositions. When performing they wear very bizarre costumes which makes the experience to see them even more confusing.
‘That Noise is Ruining our Lives’ – Tom in Cornwall