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Album Review

Moodswing Orchestra, 'Moodswing Orchestra'

October 19, 2009

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Experimental
Moodswing Orchestra Moodswing Orchestra
El Destructo
ESSENTIAL “Sweet Adelaide’’
Moodswing Orchestra (with an altered lineup) plays at the Lizard Lounge on Thursday.

Sounds arrive in this order, layering on top of one another: the gentle tinkling of piano keys. Radio static. Bowed strings. A slow, insistent drum beat. A whispered chant. A lovely female voice enters - it belongs to Joan Wasser - and weaves around the rhythm. An electric piano digs out a groove. A muted trumpet blows plaintively. The song, “Sweet Adelaide,’’ has all the elements of trip-hop, yet the bandleader is a jazz and rock drummer. Ben Perowsky has played with Elysian Fields, the Lounge Lizards, John Zorn, and Dave Douglas; just put out a CD by his jazz quartet that includes bass, clarinet, and accordion; and is part of Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra. Bernstein returns the favor, playing in Moodswing Orchestra, a collective that sounds more like Massive Attack than anything resembling jazz. The group includes clarinet, piano, theremin, and a rotating cast of vocalists (such as Miho Hatori and Bebel Gilberto), and everyone is here more to create atmosphere than to show off skills. Moodswing manages to mesmerize and thrill at the same time. (Out now)

STEVE GREENLEE