Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Canada - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 12 - 10/16/97

Andrew Whiteman
Fear Of Zen

I got this album over a year ago for free in the mail, I never really gave it a chance. The other day I was sifting through my old cd's and there it was, pleading to be listened to.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this album a little more interesting than I had long ago assumed. There is more to Andrew than just another spoken-word wino, he can actually make music too.

Andrew appears to be from the Toronto area, but no real information is in the CD as to who this man is or where he came from. The album was recorded in Toronto in 1995 at various, well-known studios.

Try not to be immediately turned-off of this album if you are not a fan of Jim Morrison style spoken word poetry, because there are, in fact some hidden gems in here. Musically Andrew is extremely eclectic, he explores a plethora of different styles on this album. While many tracks succumb to the overly verbose, but nonetheless vibrant and visually interesting spoken-word poems.

Andrew explores blues (One Night), Spanish-sounding guitar (Accomplish The Impossible), country-ish acoustic twanging (Thousand Years). Although I am not a fan of this style of spoken word (tone and vocabulary tend to override any kind of solid content). Andrew has a unique ability to apply it to many different styles of music, and he can also turn his spoken-word into some quite interesting singing. Lyrically most of the actual songs on this record are also quite varied. With John Rainbow's History Lesson we learn about French missionaries, and in Accomplish The Impossible we seem to have the bizarre rambling love song. My favorite track is probably The Lampshade, which combines electric guitar (un peu indie rawk) with some really nice vocal harmonies and better musical arrangement than some of the other songs, which on occasion lack continuity and direction.

Although Andrew is a talented spoken-word artist, I would rather he explore his jazz and blues talent than his poems. He shows much promise and talent in this area. Even if I find the Doors comparison tempting, he is far more interesting than the above and shows far more promise than that comparison would have you believe. After all, the Doors never used bagpipes, violins, piano, horn, didgeridoo, Kenyan guitar, string bass, accordian (yes accordian!) on the same album?!

Although this album may be a slightly unpleasant listen (go figure), it is worth listening too simply for its wide range of sound and style. Andrew is very unique in Canada because of his wild rhythm and wildly experimental, or maybe just crazy, music.

!QUE VIDA!: PO Box 428, station c Toronto Ontario, Canada.

Copyright © 1997 Laura Bowman e-mail address

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