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Morcheeba


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Ectronic trip hop, funk, smooth jazz

Status:

Most recent release, Head Up High (2013)

See also:

Morcheeba's site

Comparisons:

Portishead, Olive, Moloko, Lamb, Sade, Sneaker Pimps, Olive, etc.

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

The band is composed of Skye Edwards, whose jazz-flavoured baby voice produces the most beautiful tones, brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey, trip hop-branded closet blues men, and "sound surgeon" Pete Norris. (bill@wagill.com)

Morcheeba is one of my favorite finds of this year. I picked up their latest, Big Calm, and I love it. I would also characterize it as trip-hop, I guess. But it incorporates elements of pop, jazz, reggae, classical, folk, and even country to create a nice eclectic, but very accessible, sound. I hate to call it trip hop, but I guess that's the category they would fit into. Their sound is like an upbeat Portishead, with more lush orchestration. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

A great new bluesy-trippy trip-hop band. The singer has an absolutely gorgeous voice and the album is wonderful with absolutely no bad tracks. (pmcohen@voicenet.com) they're one of my favorites...I bought their first album, Who can you trust?, when it first came out, and I thought it ruled, I was obsessed...the second one has its moments, but what I liked most about Morcheeba was their stoned-out quality, the excessive trippiness inherent in every track, and Big Calm only has it on a few songs...notably, the title track...I think it's an irony that the singer has a noticeably slight role in both albums' title tracks...she doesn't write the lyrics, either, she's just the charismatic frontwoman. But anyhow, the first album is one of my favorite albums. No, it's not one of my desert island discs. So sue me. (John.Drummond)

God, I love Morcheeba! I saw them at Lilith in '98. I got Big Calm beforehand and really liked it, but figured they wouldn't be very good live. Boy, was I wrong. (ftedan@radiks.net)

I like Big Calm a lot, but for some reason their first disc hasn't caught me much. I think their singer sounds a lot like Sade, but the ectronic background is far more interesting that Sade ever came up with to my ears, so I describe it as imagining Sade with an ectronic backup. Their roots seem to me more in that kind of smooth jazz than edgy jazzy Lamb or the more "noisy" Massive Attack or Portishead.
     Their videos have been very cool, too. There was one like the John Carpenter movie where the main character was invisible, and another like Clash of the Titans. Very creative and fun. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Some very sophisticated tunes and real songs. They remind me quite a lot of Lamb, but maybe slightly less dance-y. Also bits of Massive Attack and Portishead in there. (martin@mandab.co.uk)

Comments about live performance:

Morcheeba was excellent live. (9/88, thecritics@earthlink.net)

They were mesmerizing live, too. If you ever get a chance to see them live, by all means do it. (12/99, ftedan@radiks.net)

Morcheeba closed out the second stage, and they were the find of the day for me. I'd never heard any of their music before, and I loved them. They were soooo slinky. A sly, playful subtle sound, close to trip-hop, but sounding a bit different too. The lead singer had her hair done up in funky horns with bright orange hair weaves wrapped all around them. And whenever she did something sort of strange, she'd give a "I can't really believe I'm doing this" grin. (c. 2000, Neal)

Recommended first album:

Big Calm

Recordings:


Who Can You Trust?

Release info:

1996—Indochina

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Morcheeba fans

Group members:

Skye Edwards—vocals
Paul Godfrey—scratching, drums, beats
Ross Godfrey—synthesizer, bass, guitar, piano, lap steel guitar, Wurlitzer

Guest artists:

Gary Baldwin—organ, Hammand organ
Steve Bentley-Klein—trumpet, violin, horn arrangements, string arrangements, trumpet arrangement
Richard Bridgemont—cello
Richard Harrison—guitar
Tom Hodges—flute, saxophone
Dave Lee—French horn
Peter Norris—synthesizer, programming
Klein Brent Snell—violin
Adrian Turner—viola

Produced by:

Morcheeba and Peter Norris

Comments:

It's not bad, but I don't instantly love it like I did with their latest. While enjoyable, it just doesn't grab me. Its songs are all a lot less distinct, and don't stand out as much in my mind than those on Big Calm. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

bought this for $2 cos it looked interestin: a psychedelic cover and a film noir band photo on the back. song titles like "moog island", "tape loop" and end theme" don't hurt either. the music is somewhere between trip-hop and hip-hop, though closer to hip—sorta like getting some fugees in your portishead. one track in particular, "trigger hippies", is really good. (woj@smoe.org)


Big Calm

Release info:

1998—Sire Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Skye Edwards—vocals
Paul Godfrey—scratching, drums, programming, navigator
Ross Godfrey—synthesizer, bass, guitar, pedal steel, drums, Hammond organ, sitar, clavinet, Fender Rhodes, lap steel guitar, Wurlitzer

Guest artists:

Gary Baldwin—Hammond organ
Howard Ball—violin
Steve Bentley-Klein—violin, string arrangements
Richard Bridgemont—cello
M. Carling—drums
Joe Cooper—percussion, backing vocals
DJ First Rate—scratching
DJ Swamp—scratching
David Emanuel—violin
Peggi Gayle—backing vocals
L. Gordon—bass
T. Grant—viola, alto clarinet
D. Hake—trumpet
Jimmy Hastings—flute
C. Hetter—trombone
C. Hughes—violin
Graeme Kyle—backing vocals
D. Lee—French horn
Pierre Le Rue—fiddle
Ian McLeod—violin
L. Melhuish—violin
Peter Norris—programming, turntables, sound surgery
Peter Oxer—violin
D. Pipkin—keyboards
M. Posner—viola
E. Pritchard—cello
E.R. Singleton—violin
T. Rennie—backing vocals
Spikey Tee—talking
S. Wright—viola

Produced by:

Peter Norris, Skye Edwards, and Morcheeba

Comments:

Let me tell you, I am totally infatuated. I have not been this obsessed with a disc for a very long time. I just can't stop playing it over and over.
     Track 3, "Part of the process", as well as track 4, "Blindfold", are definitely ecto material. And tracks 8, "Friction" and 11, "Big calm" have some awesome rhythms in them. All tracks are extremely well instrumented and produced.
     The singing and performance, and the many melodies, harmonies, rhythms, and instruments in Morcheeba's Big Calm are incredibly beautiful and versatile. I am love sick about them.
     As with any thing that pleases the senses, some of you may love this disc and some of you may not. But I say rush to your nearest music store and buy Morcheeba's Big Calm disc, and let your ears have some fun. (bill@wagill.com)

A very impressive sophomore effort. Big Calm was one of my favorites this year. I think I prefer it to their first because the songs are more diverse and have stronger structures. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

First listen, and first morcheeba music listening except "The Sea" on the lilith fair vol. 2. thanks for talking this up. this is really good. it has that sort of in between feel so that you can listen to it late at night like this and have it be relaxing or turn up the volume in the day and have it be energizing. (JoAnn Whetsell)

i'd heard so much about this, i thought i should give it a try...i like what i hear so far...never realized it's a female-fronted band. (Riphug@aol.com)

Big Calm is great. This is almost too smooth for me, but I do love the lead singer's Sade-like voice and renditions of songs. It's trip hop leaning farther into mainstream funk/jazz than most bands exploring this territory. (Neile)

Morcheeba ROCKS! The best song on this album, in my opinion, is "Let me see". Amazing album! :) (Songbird22@aol.com)

When I first bought Big Calm I didn't like it as much as their first album, but it's grown on me a lot. "Part Of The Process" is a great song with a wonderful groove and guitar line, and Skye's voice is incredible. (martin@mandab.co.uk)

Big Calm is brilliant. Very recommended. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Fragments of Freedom

Release info:

2000—Sire Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Morcheeba fans

Group members:

Skye Edwards—vocals
Paul Godfrey—percussion, scratching, arrangements, drums, programming, vocals, backing vocals, mixing, beats
Ross Godfrey—bass, guitar, percussion, piano, Hammond organ, backing vocals, clavinet, Wurlitzer, Fender piano

Guest artists:

Bahamadia—rap
Steve Bentley-Klein—violin, Fender Rhodes, Fender piano
Biz Markie—rap
Mario Castronari—double bass
DJ First Rate—scratching
Weston Foster—backing vocals
Paul Jason Fredericks—backing vocals
Steve Gordon—bass guitar
Derek Green—backing vocals
Chris Harrison—beats
Dee Lewis—backing vocals
Peter Norris—synthesizer programming
Steve Sidwell—trumpet
Tony Wall—backing vocals

Produced by:

Paul Godfrey

Comments:

It is not as strong as Big Calm, which is their best thus far and one of my favorite albums. But after listening to it a couple of times, the new one has grown on me. "World Looking In" is classic Morcheeba that could easily have fit on Big Calm. And, even though "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" is very poppy, I like it. There are some songs I could really do without, like the Biz Markie guest appearance and the song featuring steel drums (which are usually a bad idea in any song). But overall, any Morcheeba fan won't be disappointed. I wouldn't recommend it as your introduction to the band, though. That should definitely be Big Calm. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Morcheeba's new album is one of the least innovative electronic albums in the last few years. But if you're a faithful Morcheeba fan, wait. You'll be seeing lots of copies of this album in used bins soon. (charles.goldberg@hotbot.com)

I don't think it quite holds up with Big Calm (my favorite), or the first one (which I like only a little less). It doesn't seem to have the depth or be able to hold up over time as well as the first two. (drewh@bitwise.com)

I just bought this one last weekend and it's been played constantly since. This is my first Morcheeba disc so I can't compare it with their past stuff. I also agree, some of the songs are a bit poppy and the hip hop sound on some that I normally could do without, aren't really all that bad. The steel drum song just doesn't cut it. Overall, I really like it and if their other discs are that much better, I'll have to do some more buying this weekend! (tefinn@altavista.net)

Fragments of Freedom was rather an uninteresting attempt at a radio-friendly pop album (I kept on hearing the lead single whenever I got dragged into BANANA REPUBLIC by my friends which pretty much ruined it for me). (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Charango

Release info:

2002—Warner

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Skye Edwards—vocals
Paul Godfrey—percussion, scratching, arrangements, backing vocals, beats
Ross Godfrey—bass, guitar, harmonica, arrangements, harpsichord, keyboards, backing vocals, charango, tiple, analogue synthesizer

Guest artists:

Miles Bould—percussion
Debbie Cole—flute
Michael Dove—vocals, backing vocals
Peggi Gayle—backing vocals
Danny Goldman—keyboards
Steve Gordon—bass
Ruth Hammond—flute, saxophone
Chris "Pitta" Harrison—beats
Richard Harrison—bass
Tom Hodges—harmonica, baritone sax, bass harmonica
Nick Ingman—conductor, orchestral arrangements
Graeme Kyle—backing vocals
Peter Norris—programming
Pacewon—vocals
Pino Palladino—bass
Slick Rick—vocals
Miriam Stockley—vocals, backing vocals
Kurt Wagner—vocals

Produced by:

Peter Norris

Comments:

Charango seems like a nice return to their Big Calm days. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

The Antidote

Release info:

2005—The Echo Label—ECHUS8

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Daisy Martey—vocals
Paul Godfrey—sound mutation, drum programming, moog and turntablism
Ross Godfrey—guitar, keyboards, banjo, lap steel, charango, tiple and EMS

Guest artists:

Rob Mullender—vocals and sounds (4, 9)
Nasser Bouzida—drums, percussion, organ (5)
Scott Firth—bass, fender 6, double bass
Dan Goldman—piano, clavinet
Dave Fullwood—trumpet
Chris Petter—trombone
Skaila Kanga—harp
Jimmy Hastings—flute, piccolo, tin whistle
Dave Lee—French horn
Chris Haigh—fiddle
Siobhan Donaghy—backing vocals
Rita Gormley—backing vocals

Produced by:

Paul Godfrey and Ross Godfrey

Comments:

At first, The Antidote just made me miss Skye Edwards. Morcheeba's music has changed, it's more rock now than trip-hop, more downtempo. But the biggest change is in the vocals. Skye's voice was soulful, sensual. Daisy Martey has a voice that reminds me of Edie Brickell or Hope Sandoval with a delivery that's more Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) doing rock.
     But after several listens and really giving the album a chance, I realized that Daisy's voice is really well suited to Morcheeba's new style. It's really a new band, different from the old one, but possibly just as good. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Blood Like Lemonade

Release info:

2010—PIAS—PIASA040CD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Skye Edwards—vocals
Ross Godfrey—guitars, Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Prophet-5, EMS, kalimba, M-Tron, keyboards, moog
Paul Godfrey—beats and turntables; backing vocals on "Beat of the Drum"

Guest artists:

Andy Nunn—Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond organ, M-Tron, Juno, Solina, synths
Bradley Burgess—bass
Andy Robertson—acoustic drums
Paul Tiernan—backing vocals on "Beat of the Drum"
Oscar Godfrey—backing vocals on "Beat of the Drum"

Produced by:

Paul Godfrey and Ross Godfrey

Comments:

Even more downtempo than The Antidote (the last Morcheeba album I've heard). With Skye Edwards back on vocals, a couple of mostly instrumental tracks, and a few songs that seem to lack any trace of trip-hop. I like it, but I'm not sure where it ranks in their catalogue. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Their music appears on several soundtracks and compilations, including Lilith Fair vol. 2. They have a 2004 DVD called From Brixton to Beijing.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2014-03-29 18:41:43.
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