Picks and Pans Review: The Ordinaires

updated 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Ordinaires

A group of nine musicians who more or less have New York art rock in common, the Ordinaires play what sounds like a combination of rock, country, folk, classical, Caribbean, Chinese and Indian music, with an occasional polka phrase thrown in. It's as if a bunch of United Nations delegates sitting around with nothing to do decided to order out for some instruments so they could have a jam session. All the compositions (they're definitely not songs in the usual sense of the word) are original, and they are stylistically coherent only because they are so consistently incoherent. Flute sounds mix with saxophone, violin, accordion, guitar, drums and whatevers, creating unorthodox harmonies over polyglot rhythms. You could hardly dance to any of these tracks or sing along, but you might be able to use them to translate the instruction manual for a Japanese camera. Formed in 1982, the group has developed a following in Europe and among the idiosyncratic lower Manhattan in-crowd. This album was co-produced by Martin Bisi, who has worked with Herbie Hancock, and Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson, the Roches). So all right, let's be open-minded about it: Maybe this is the wave of the future, and it's only a matter of time before Dick Clark starts doing International Bandstand from Timbuktu. (Dossier, 192 Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10013)

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