New York Post

Musical multitasker Madsen founded the a capella group the Bobs and created scores for movies, TV shows, video games and plays. Now, he turns his attention to music for kids. The best here are the multitracked vocals that create wacky-sounding walls of Bobby McFerrin-esque sound, like on “Mozart’s at the Window (40th Symphony)” and “Sun Comes Up.” Weirdness is plentiful in many forms, from the slightly off-kilter “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” (a song about a man’s uncontrollable urge to waltz) to the Talking Heads-y anthem “Library Party.” “I’m Growing” is pretty different from any other children’s album out there, and is all the better for it.

KidsMusicThatRocks

March 12, 2008

Well, I guess I made a donkey out of both of us, because I assumed this guy was just another goofy, over-the-top kids’ performer, judging by his past kids’ album covers and song titles. BOY, WAS I WRONG! I’m Growing has to be the most inventive, unique children’s music CD of the year, and a majority of the magic was achieved using nothing but voices and piano.

Gunnar Madsen is a seasoned songwriting veteran, with several grownup CDs and kids’ albums under his belt. He founded the a cappella group The Bobs in the early ’80s (thus the abundance of voices and vocal percussion on I’m Growing), and has written music for theater, film, television, and video games. He also wrote the score for the musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, and produced the documentary Svetlana Village. And all of this experience informs the work on I’m Growing.

Man, where to begin with the highlights: The explosion of vocals on the title track, the Harry Nilsson dead ringer “Walkin’ Back to Texas”, the Todd Rundgren-like “Simple”, or the 7/8 time better-than-anything-on-the-Lion-King-soundtrack “Sun Comes Up”. “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” is the best anti-waltz waltz you’ll ever hear; and “Raise Your Voices”, well, could be a Polyphonic Spree song, could be a tune from Godspell … at any rate, it’s a rousing hymn to the power of love.
And then there’s the ridiculous but amazing “Mozart’s at the Window”, Madsen’s lyrical take on Mozart’s 40th symphony; the witty words of “Pumpkin Hair” and “Library Party”; the kitty chorus of “There’s a Bowl of Milk in the Moonlight” (pair that one with Kevin Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon); and Madsen’s almost mantra-like version of “Shenandoah”.

To fully appreciate and comprehend the music on I’m Growing you should read Gunnar’s bio and the album’s liner notes … the songs will make that much more sense. It wouldn’t matter to a kid, of course, as this is simply a solid collection of great songs, but it’s incredibly interesting to see how the course of Madsen’s life affected the development of these particular tunes: Madsen didn’t simply make up and throw together a bunch of songs just to have a kids’ album on the market.

You’d find out, for example, that “Raise Your Voices” and “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” are from a musical-in-progress; that “Cutest Little Guy” is Madsen’s homage to the songwriting styles of Sammy Cahn and Roger Miller; and that Madsen is replying to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” with “Walkin’ Back to Texas”.

Brilliant arrangements and performances. Period. And funny! And fun! And entertaining for everyone in the family! What more could a kid and his grownups want?

San Jose Mercury News

Yoshi Kato
March 6, 2008

Whenever I buy a new album, the first thing I do is devour the liner notes. (I’m also the type of cinema patron to sit through to the very end of the credits – much to the annoyance of my amazingly patient movie-viewing companions.) Curiously, I do the opposite whenever music is passed along for me to listen to. I do that so that each track is a surprise the first time through and I’m unaware of any special guest musicians or addition of interesting instruments.

Once I had finished listening to singer-songwriter-multi-
instrumentalist Gunnar Madsen’s fun, diverse new album, “I’m Growing,” I immediately went to the CD case to learn the details of the 15 creative numbers. The Berkeley resident’s liner notes are like mini-essays and come across as naturally as a seasoned performer’s between-songs banter. So I appreciated the music of “I’m Growing” (to be released March 18 on Gee Spot, Records) even more after reading about it.

There is something rhythmically unusual about the Caribbean-sounding fourth song, “Sun Comes Up.” Madsen’s happy singing is backed by his own vocal bass line and percussion, with the only other sounds coming from his hand-clapping and drum programming.

Full of Madsen’s multi-tracked vocals and piano, the fifth selection, called “Mozart’s at the Window,” I later discovered, sounded very familiar; turns out it’s based on Wolfgang Amadeus’ famed Symphony No. 40. Again in his liner notes, Madsen explains that in the first music theory class he took in college, everyone was recalling ways that they had been taught to remember the melodies to great classical works when they were young – such as “Ba-NA-na-NA” for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

One method he was introduced to was, “Now Mozart’s at the window/Let him in, let him in, let him in” for Mozart’s 40th. Years later, he made that the lyrical basis for a musical homage to that great symphony.

Even the only cover on “I’m Growing,” the folk song “Shenandoah,” has a distinctly Gunnarian sound to it. Though he learned the song in the comfort of a classroom back in elementary school, he gives it a campfire feeling by adding the sounds of a recorded creek as well as crickets and zephyrs to his heavenly vocals.

Madsen’s music may already be familiar to many. He was the founder of the self-effacing a cappella group the Bobs and wrote the score for the classic video game San Francisco Rush.

 

New York Post

Musical multitasker Madsen founded the a capella group the Bobs and created scores for movies, TV shows, video games and plays. Now, he turns his attention to music for kids. The best here are the multitracked vocals that create wacky-sounding walls of Bobby McFerrin-esque sound, like on “Mozart’s at the Window (40th Symphony)” and “Sun Comes Up.” Weirdness is plentiful in many forms, from the slightly off-kilter “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” (a song about a man’s uncontrollable urge to waltz) to the Talking Heads-y anthem “Library Party.” “I’m Growing” is pretty different from any other children’s album out there, and is all the better for it.

KidsMusicThatRocks

March 12, 2008

Well, I guess I made a donkey out of both of us, because I assumed this guy was just another goofy, over-the-top kids’ performer, judging by his past kids’ album covers and song titles. BOY, WAS I WRONG! I’m Growing has to be the most inventive, unique children’s music CD of the year, and a majority of the magic was achieved using nothing but voices and piano.

Gunnar Madsen is a seasoned songwriting veteran, with several grownup CDs and kids’ albums under his belt. He founded the a cappella group The Bobs in the early ’80s (thus the abundance of voices and vocal percussion on I’m Growing), and has written music for theater, film, television, and video games. He also wrote the score for the musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, and produced the documentary Svetlana Village. And all of this experience informs the work on I’m Growing.

Man, where to begin with the highlights: The explosion of vocals on the title track, the Harry Nilsson dead ringer “Walkin’ Back to Texas”, the Todd Rundgren-like “Simple”, or the 7/8 time better-than-anything-on-the-Lion-King-soundtrack “Sun Comes Up”. “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” is the best anti-waltz waltz you’ll ever hear; and “Raise Your Voices”, well, could be a Polyphonic Spree song, could be a tune from Godspell … at any rate, it’s a rousing hymn to the power of love.
And then there’s the ridiculous but amazing “Mozart’s at the Window”, Madsen’s lyrical take on Mozart’s 40th symphony; the witty words of “Pumpkin Hair” and “Library Party”; the kitty chorus of “There’s a Bowl of Milk in the Moonlight” (pair that one with Kevin Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon); and Madsen’s almost mantra-like version of “Shenandoah”.

To fully appreciate and comprehend the music on I’m Growing you should read Gunnar’s bio and the album’s liner notes … the songs will make that much more sense. It wouldn’t matter to a kid, of course, as this is simply a solid collection of great songs, but it’s incredibly interesting to see how the course of Madsen’s life affected the development of these particular tunes: Madsen didn’t simply make up and throw together a bunch of songs just to have a kids’ album on the market.

You’d find out, for example, that “Raise Your Voices” and “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” are from a musical-in-progress; that “Cutest Little Guy” is Madsen’s homage to the songwriting styles of Sammy Cahn and Roger Miller; and that Madsen is replying to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” with “Walkin’ Back to Texas”.

Brilliant arrangements and performances. Period. And funny! And fun! And entertaining for everyone in the family! What more could a kid and his grownups want?

San Jose Mercury News

Yoshi Kato
March 6, 2008

Whenever I buy a new album, the first thing I do is devour the liner notes. (I’m also the type of cinema patron to sit through to the very end of the credits – much to the annoyance of my amazingly patient movie-viewing companions.) Curiously, I do the opposite whenever music is passed along for me to listen to. I do that so that each track is a surprise the first time through and I’m unaware of any special guest musicians or addition of interesting instruments.

Once I had finished listening to singer-songwriter-multi-
instrumentalist Gunnar Madsen’s fun, diverse new album, “I’m Growing,” I immediately went to the CD case to learn the details of the 15 creative numbers. The Berkeley resident’s liner notes are like mini-essays and come across as naturally as a seasoned performer’s between-songs banter. So I appreciated the music of “I’m Growing” (to be released March 18 on Gee Spot, Records) even more after reading about it.

There is something rhythmically unusual about the Caribbean-sounding fourth song, “Sun Comes Up.” Madsen’s happy singing is backed by his own vocal bass line and percussion, with the only other sounds coming from his hand-clapping and drum programming.

Full of Madsen’s multi-tracked vocals and piano, the fifth selection, called “Mozart’s at the Window,” I later discovered, sounded very familiar; turns out it’s based on Wolfgang Amadeus’ famed Symphony No. 40. Again in his liner notes, Madsen explains that in the first music theory class he took in college, everyone was recalling ways that they had been taught to remember the melodies to great classical works when they were young – such as “Ba-NA-na-NA” for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

One method he was introduced to was, “Now Mozart’s at the window/Let him in, let him in, let him in” for Mozart’s 40th. Years later, he made that the lyrical basis for a musical homage to that great symphony.

Even the only cover on “I’m Growing,” the folk song “Shenandoah,” has a distinctly Gunnarian sound to it. Though he learned the song in the comfort of a classroom back in elementary school, he gives it a campfire feeling by adding the sounds of a recorded creek as well as crickets and zephyrs to his heavenly vocals.

Madsen’s music may already be familiar to many. He was the founder of the self-effacing a cappella group the Bobs and wrote the score for the classic video game San Francisco Rush.

 

New York Post

Musical multitasker Madsen founded the a capella group the Bobs and created scores for movies, TV shows, video games and plays. Now, he turns his attention to music for kids. The best here are the multitracked vocals that create wacky-sounding walls of Bobby McFerrin-esque sound, like on “Mozart’s at the Window (40th Symphony)” and “Sun Comes Up.” Weirdness is plentiful in many forms, from the slightly off-kilter “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” (a song about a man’s uncontrollable urge to waltz) to the Talking Heads-y anthem “Library Party.” “I’m Growing” is pretty different from any other children’s album out there, and is all the better for it.

KidsMusicThatRocks

March 12, 2008

Well, I guess I made a donkey out of both of us, because I assumed this guy was just another goofy, over-the-top kids’ performer, judging by his past kids’ album covers and song titles. BOY, WAS I WRONG! I’m Growing has to be the most inventive, unique children’s music CD of the year, and a majority of the magic was achieved using nothing but voices and piano.

Gunnar Madsen is a seasoned songwriting veteran, with several grownup CDs and kids’ albums under his belt. He founded the a cappella group The Bobs in the early ’80s (thus the abundance of voices and vocal percussion on I’m Growing), and has written music for theater, film, television, and video games. He also wrote the score for the musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, and produced the documentary Svetlana Village. And all of this experience informs the work on I’m Growing.

Man, where to begin with the highlights: The explosion of vocals on the title track, the Harry Nilsson dead ringer “Walkin’ Back to Texas”, the Todd Rundgren-like “Simple”, or the 7/8 time better-than-anything-on-the-Lion-King-soundtrack “Sun Comes Up”. “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” is the best anti-waltz waltz you’ll ever hear; and “Raise Your Voices”, well, could be a Polyphonic Spree song, could be a tune from Godspell … at any rate, it’s a rousing hymn to the power of love.
And then there’s the ridiculous but amazing “Mozart’s at the Window”, Madsen’s lyrical take on Mozart’s 40th symphony; the witty words of “Pumpkin Hair” and “Library Party”; the kitty chorus of “There’s a Bowl of Milk in the Moonlight” (pair that one with Kevin Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon); and Madsen’s almost mantra-like version of “Shenandoah”.

To fully appreciate and comprehend the music on I’m Growing you should read Gunnar’s bio and the album’s liner notes … the songs will make that much more sense. It wouldn’t matter to a kid, of course, as this is simply a solid collection of great songs, but it’s incredibly interesting to see how the course of Madsen’s life affected the development of these particular tunes: Madsen didn’t simply make up and throw together a bunch of songs just to have a kids’ album on the market.

You’d find out, for example, that “Raise Your Voices” and “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” are from a musical-in-progress; that “Cutest Little Guy” is Madsen’s homage to the songwriting styles of Sammy Cahn and Roger Miller; and that Madsen is replying to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” with “Walkin’ Back to Texas”.

Brilliant arrangements and performances. Period. And funny! And fun! And entertaining for everyone in the family! What more could a kid and his grownups want?

San Jose Mercury News

Yoshi Kato
March 6, 2008

Whenever I buy a new album, the first thing I do is devour the liner notes. (I’m also the type of cinema patron to sit through to the very end of the credits – much to the annoyance of my amazingly patient movie-viewing companions.) Curiously, I do the opposite whenever music is passed along for me to listen to. I do that so that each track is a surprise the first time through and I’m unaware of any special guest musicians or addition of interesting instruments.

Once I had finished listening to singer-songwriter-multi-
instrumentalist Gunnar Madsen’s fun, diverse new album, “I’m Growing,” I immediately went to the CD case to learn the details of the 15 creative numbers. The Berkeley resident’s liner notes are like mini-essays and come across as naturally as a seasoned performer’s between-songs banter. So I appreciated the music of “I’m Growing” (to be released March 18 on Gee Spot, Records) even more after reading about it.

There is something rhythmically unusual about the Caribbean-sounding fourth song, “Sun Comes Up.” Madsen’s happy singing is backed by his own vocal bass line and percussion, with the only other sounds coming from his hand-clapping and drum programming.

Full of Madsen’s multi-tracked vocals and piano, the fifth selection, called “Mozart’s at the Window,” I later discovered, sounded very familiar; turns out it’s based on Wolfgang Amadeus’ famed Symphony No. 40. Again in his liner notes, Madsen explains that in the first music theory class he took in college, everyone was recalling ways that they had been taught to remember the melodies to great classical works when they were young – such as “Ba-NA-na-NA” for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

One method he was introduced to was, “Now Mozart’s at the window/Let him in, let him in, let him in” for Mozart’s 40th. Years later, he made that the lyrical basis for a musical homage to that great symphony.

Even the only cover on “I’m Growing,” the folk song “Shenandoah,” has a distinctly Gunnarian sound to it. Though he learned the song in the comfort of a classroom back in elementary school, he gives it a campfire feeling by adding the sounds of a recorded creek as well as crickets and zephyrs to his heavenly vocals.

Madsen’s music may already be familiar to many. He was the founder of the self-effacing a cappella group the Bobs and wrote the score for the classic video game San Francisco Rush.

 

New York Post

Musical multitasker Madsen founded the a capella group the Bobs and created scores for movies, TV shows, video games and plays. Now, he turns his attention to music for kids. The best here are the multitracked vocals that create wacky-sounding walls of Bobby McFerrin-esque sound, like on “Mozart’s at the Window (40th Symphony)” and “Sun Comes Up.” Weirdness is plentiful in many forms, from the slightly off-kilter “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” (a song about a man’s uncontrollable urge to waltz) to the Talking Heads-y anthem “Library Party.” “I’m Growing” is pretty different from any other children’s album out there, and is all the better for it.

KidsMusicThatRocks

March 12, 2008

Well, I guess I made a donkey out of both of us, because I assumed this guy was just another goofy, over-the-top kids’ performer, judging by his past kids’ album covers and song titles. BOY, WAS I WRONG! I’m Growing has to be the most inventive, unique children’s music CD of the year, and a majority of the magic was achieved using nothing but voices and piano.

Gunnar Madsen is a seasoned songwriting veteran, with several grownup CDs and kids’ albums under his belt. He founded the a cappella group The Bobs in the early ’80s (thus the abundance of voices and vocal percussion on I’m Growing), and has written music for theater, film, television, and video games. He also wrote the score for the musical The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World, and produced the documentary Svetlana Village. And all of this experience informs the work on I’m Growing.

Man, where to begin with the highlights: The explosion of vocals on the title track, the Harry Nilsson dead ringer “Walkin’ Back to Texas”, the Todd Rundgren-like “Simple”, or the 7/8 time better-than-anything-on-the-Lion-King-soundtrack “Sun Comes Up”. “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” is the best anti-waltz waltz you’ll ever hear; and “Raise Your Voices”, well, could be a Polyphonic Spree song, could be a tune from Godspell … at any rate, it’s a rousing hymn to the power of love.
And then there’s the ridiculous but amazing “Mozart’s at the Window”, Madsen’s lyrical take on Mozart’s 40th symphony; the witty words of “Pumpkin Hair” and “Library Party”; the kitty chorus of “There’s a Bowl of Milk in the Moonlight” (pair that one with Kevin Henkes’ Kitten’s First Full Moon); and Madsen’s almost mantra-like version of “Shenandoah”.

To fully appreciate and comprehend the music on I’m Growing you should read Gunnar’s bio and the album’s liner notes … the songs will make that much more sense. It wouldn’t matter to a kid, of course, as this is simply a solid collection of great songs, but it’s incredibly interesting to see how the course of Madsen’s life affected the development of these particular tunes: Madsen didn’t simply make up and throw together a bunch of songs just to have a kids’ album on the market.

You’d find out, for example, that “Raise Your Voices” and “I Feel a Waltz Coming On” are from a musical-in-progress; that “Cutest Little Guy” is Madsen’s homage to the songwriting styles of Sammy Cahn and Roger Miller; and that Madsen is replying to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” with “Walkin’ Back to Texas”.

Brilliant arrangements and performances. Period. And funny! And fun! And entertaining for everyone in the family! What more could a kid and his grownups want?

San Jose Mercury News

Yoshi Kato
March 6, 2008

Whenever I buy a new album, the first thing I do is devour the liner notes. (I’m also the type of cinema patron to sit through to the very end of the credits – much to the annoyance of my amazingly patient movie-viewing companions.) Curiously, I do the opposite whenever music is passed along for me to listen to. I do that so that each track is a surprise the first time through and I’m unaware of any special guest musicians or addition of interesting instruments.

Once I had finished listening to singer-songwriter-multi-
instrumentalist Gunnar Madsen’s fun, diverse new album, “I’m Growing,” I immediately went to the CD case to learn the details of the 15 creative numbers. The Berkeley resident’s liner notes are like mini-essays and come across as naturally as a seasoned performer’s between-songs banter. So I appreciated the music of “I’m Growing” (to be released March 18 on Gee Spot, Records) even more after reading about it.

There is something rhythmically unusual about the Caribbean-sounding fourth song, “Sun Comes Up.” Madsen’s happy singing is backed by his own vocal bass line and percussion, with the only other sounds coming from his hand-clapping and drum programming.

Full of Madsen’s multi-tracked vocals and piano, the fifth selection, called “Mozart’s at the Window,” I later discovered, sounded very familiar; turns out it’s based on Wolfgang Amadeus’ famed Symphony No. 40. Again in his liner notes, Madsen explains that in the first music theory class he took in college, everyone was recalling ways that they had been taught to remember the melodies to great classical works when they were young – such as “Ba-NA-na-NA” for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

One method he was introduced to was, “Now Mozart’s at the window/Let him in, let him in, let him in” for Mozart’s 40th. Years later, he made that the lyrical basis for a musical homage to that great symphony.

Even the only cover on “I’m Growing,” the folk song “Shenandoah,” has a distinctly Gunnarian sound to it. Though he learned the song in the comfort of a classroom back in elementary school, he gives it a campfire feeling by adding the sounds of a recorded creek as well as crickets and zephyrs to his heavenly vocals.

Madsen’s music may already be familiar to many. He was the founder of the self-effacing a cappella group the Bobs and wrote the score for the classic video game San Francisco Rush.

 

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