#72 – “La Dolce” (2000)

[audio http://www.tmbg.com/_media/_pod/TMBGPodcast22A.mp3]

[“La Dolce” found 4 minutes, 4 seconds into podcast.]

A.S.: …And a mere two songs later, we get another Malcolm instrumental.

L.K.:  One that actually shares the same main melody line as one of the ones we just mentioned! I used to get a couple of these instrumentals confused, and now I remember why—while “Rotary Club” and “Tres Quatro” simply share a similar sort of “sound” in terms of instrumentation and style, “Tres Quatro” and “La Dolce” are essentially two variations on the same theme.

A.S.: Good ear there!  I had never noticed that until just now, but now that you mention it, hearing this song and “Tres Quatro” back to back, they have the exact same theme, just in different time signatures and arrangements.  I’m pretty fond of this one; the minor key keyboard melody pitting against the swing of the rhythm section is really cool.  The best part is when that main theme returns and we get those awesome pedal bass blasts from the trombone and bass sax.  Or is that a bass sax?  I don’t think the bari could go down to that concert C.

L.K.:  I am terrible at mental transposition for Eb instruments, but I think we determined that that would be an A on a baritone sax? Some bari saxes have low A keys, but I would be very, very surprised if Linnell would’ve shelled out for a fancy baritone considering that he doesn’t even use it that much. I’m guessing it’s the bass sax. (You know, the one that he apparently sold on Craigslist recently, if John Flansburgh is to be believed…)


L.K.:  If you don’t know what a bass saxophone is, I will tell you. It is the greatest instrument of all time. It is a really big, really low saxophone, but not so low as to be flatulent. It’s only been used sporadically in popular music since the 1930s or so, outside of traditional jazz bands or a couple of stranger bands like the Bonzo Dog Band (who incidentally got their start as a pseudo-trad jazz band). John Linnell acquired a bass sax at some point in the late 80s/ early 90s; there’s a couple live videos with it (“Lie Still Little Bottle”) and it also makes an appearance in the music video for “The Guitar”, in addition to appearing on a number of tracks from Apollo 18.

A.S.: That thing pops up in TMBG songs a lot; I’m kind of surprised we haven’t come across more of them at this point, but we will in the future.  I’m partial to bass clarinet myself (which TMBG also use an awful lot).  But anyway, again, I have no idea which episode of Malcolm this was used in, as I never really watched the show, but even outside of any sort of soundtrack context, it’s a really cool, energetic little instrumental tune.

L.K.:  Yeah. One good thing about the soundtrack and other commercial work projects they’ve taken on is how it gave them a chance to stretch out a bit and do things in different styles… not that they haven’t done those sorts of things on their albums either, but the weird little instrumentals and things are a lot rarer in their regular work.

A.S.: This of course, not to be confused with “La Dolce Vita”…

One Response to “#72 – “La Dolce” (2000)”
  1. Kate says:

    I started reading this a month or two ago, then forgot about it for a bit, so today I caught up all the way. I really love this blog because I love tmbg but don’t know some of the more obscure songs (like this one, for instance). The surprise element of shuffling tmbg’s entire discography is pretty dang awesome, and I’m totally looking forward to following this more closely from here on out. Thanks for doing this project!

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