Luminescent Orchestrii be Too Hot to Sleep
by Matthue Roth
The worlds of folk, hip-hop and electronic “dance” music have been laboring under the false assumption that, in order to create music that people can dance to—whether it’s square dancing or sexy dancing—you need drums.
Well, the Luminescent Orchestrii bring about an end to those kind of prejudices. From the first fifteen a capella seconds of Too Hot to Sleep, when the singers all chime in on some kind of post-linguistic jam. Is it Russian? Slovokian? Orcish? I couldn’t tell you.
From there, it’s a glorious chollint of violin solos, female choral vocals, male choral vocals, and old school jams from a school older than this country. “Stranger” is mysterious and winding, screaming violins that sound like ghosts. The song “Freilach/Rabbi in Palestine” combines their own Balkan aesthetic with Jewish wedding music from, you know, way before one-man Casio bands were the standard.
They also integrate niggunim and other Hasidic songs into their music in the best way possible: it sneaks up on you in the middle of a song, at the most improbable moment, taking over the song in a way that’s subtle and jarring and seems to fit perfectly with the song as it existed five seconds before….in other words, naturally.
The entire album is a trip, and it’s a trip that I really couldn’t tell you anyone else in the world is doing this way. The heavy groove of “She’s a Brick,” the string buildup on “Cohen/Kolomeike,” the awesome accordion-like jamming of the title track. It’s a dance party unlike any other. And probably the only one where the “thumping bass” actually IS a bass being thumped.