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SITE-SPECIFIC SOUNDS
September 21st, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

Igor Kellor is a multimedia whiz and a very clever person. He’s the creator of the musical Mackris v. O’Reilly and the blog Hideous Belltown.

Now he’s got a CD out (also available online), Greater Seattle.

While billed under the band name Longboat, Keller provides almost all the instrumental sounds (mostly synths) and all the lead vocals.

Don’t expect any perky paeans to tourist vistas and real estate opportunities here. Kellor has more ambitious agendas.

He offers snappy, snarky cabaret ditties about 10 Seattle neighborhoods (including Harbor Island!) and five outlying communities. Each tune is influenced by a different musical genre. Some of the melodies and arrangements match the tone of the lyric tales; others starkly contrast with them.

“Belltown” is a dirge, befitting the chorus of “downtown’s afterthought.”

“Ballard” is a sad sea shanty, about the upscaling away of its entire heritage.

“Fremont” is an uptempo hoedown, even though Keller sings that “To me Fremont will always be/The gateway to Ballard.”

“Downtown” is a brisk calypso-beat tale about the police shooting of John T. Williams.

Some of the songs are more up to date than others. The opening track, “Bellevue,” features the standard stereotype of the Eastside’s largest city as a whitebread conformist nightmare. In real life, it’s becoming more ethnically diverse than Seattle.

Kellor also doesn’t care much for Mercer Island (“It’s clear that money can’t buy taste”), Buren (“Visiting here makes your mind go numb/It’s much like a bug in your cranium”), and Federal Way (depicted as an ideal home for “a violent modern man”).

And he absolutely loathes Edmonds (“A police state/Bad cops rule this town”), recounting a story of “teenage drivers against police cruisers.”

Kellor wraps up all this sharp civic commentary with a sharp change of pace and attitude, a pleasant rendition of “Seattle” (the old Here Come the Brides theme) joined in by a trumpet, trombone and tuba.

Greater Seattle is an ambitious, brusque love letter to the city, warts n’ all.


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