Hugo Montenegro Moog Power
- Released: May 17, 2011
- Label: Get On Down
- 1.Hair / Aquarius
- 3.Touch Me
- 4.The Greatest Love
- 5.More Today than Yesterday
- 6.Don't Leave Me
- 7.Moog Power
- 9.MacArthur Park (Allegro Part III)
- 10.You Showed Me
- 11.My Way
Personnel: Hugo Montenegro (whistle).
Audio Mixer: Mickey Crofford.
Liner Note Author: Morgan Ames.
Recording information: RCA's Music Center Of The World, Hollywood, CA.
When the first Moog synthesizers were made available to the public in the late 1960s, their appearance spawned a series of cash-in albums built around their sound that lasted well into the early 1970s. Usually, these albums reinterpreted the pop chart hits of the day in a synth-oriented fashion. One of the earliest and best albums in this vein is Hugo Montenegro's Moog Power. On this album, Montenegro works with his usual group of session musicians (including keyboardist Mike Melvoin and whistler Muzzy Marcellino) to cover a series of 1969 vintage pop hits in a slick, loungey style that is given a retro/futuristic edge by its use of Moog synthesizer. To his credit, Montenegro deploys the synthesizer with taste and subtlety, using it to flesh out the sound of his crisp arrangements instead of allowing it dominate them. Highlights include a cleverly-arranged medley of "Hair/Aquarius" that allows Melvoin to take the medley into the space age with an array of otherworldly synthesizer lines, and a minimalist version of "You Showed Me," whose airy combination of acoustic and electronic sounds is reminiscent of what Air would later achieve in their quieter moments. Montenegro also penned a nifty original with "Moog Power," a mostly instrumental tune that uses the Moog to create a thick bottom end to support its funky, jazzy groove. The only track that misfires is "Touch Me," due to its too-fast tempo and its use of the Moog to create some silly sci-fi laser gun sounds during its verses. Otherwise, Montenegro keeps the songs tight, smooth-sounding, and subtly futuristic. Ultimately, Moog Power is probably a little too kitschy for the average listener, but anyone who appreciates lounge treatments of pop music or early electronic-oriented pop will find plenty to enjoy on this well-crafted disc. ~ Donald A. Guarisco
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