Various Artists

Childish Music

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Compiled by Ekkehard Ehlers, this album of "new music for new children" originated from a good idea and was surely put together with good intentions, but the results are lukewarm at best. "Here's a space to be silly, with the children," says David Toop in his notes. But silliness and cuteness don't suffice to make a children's music record or an avant-gardist take on the form. This CD collects 25 tracks, mainly by artists from Germany and Japan. Roughly half of them are exclusive to this collection, while the other ones are taken from Staubgold's back catalog. Most of them are short and a lot feature toy or toy-sounding instruments, or ukuleles, xylophones, and the like. Sadly, most of them are also forgettable. Some artists pulled out of the trap with more ease, like F.S. Blumm, Harald "Sack" Ziegler, World Standard, and Lullatone -- the latter's "Wooden Toy Trumpet" could be a Klimperei pastiche. Which raises the issue of how Ehlers has ignored some of the best artists who have been tackling the avant-naïve/childish music genre for years, people like Klimperei, Dragibus, Frank Pahl, or even Pascal Comelade, all absent from the album. Most tunes rely on simple naïve melodies to relate to the topic, but that's just not enough. And Fan Club Orchestra's straw-bubbling "Mika Bubble Sing" is an insult to the intelligence of our children. That being said, a lot of these tracks are enjoyable and the album as a whole has a fine "feel-good" vibe about it. And some listeners will want to hear their artists of choice in such a different context (Oren Ambarchi and Nobukazu Takemura are two such unlikely examples). But it's too grown up to truly appeal to kids and not substantial enough for grown-ups.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:21
2 3:44
3
3:43
4
2:08
5
2:15
6 4:06
7 2:32
8 3:47
9
3:02
10
RdL
3:40
11
3:41
12
2:32
13 0:57
14 1:56
15
4:31
16 3:11
17 2:15
18
3:45
19
2:26
20 5:15
21
2:48
22 4:35
23 3:11
24
4:35
25 3:11
blue highlight denotes track pick