Israel Kamakawiwoole's Wonderful World
Wonderful World, Israel Kamakawiwoole, (Mountain Apple Co.)
This revisionist aesthetic has been extended to an entire album’s worth of Iz tracks, with orchestral arrangements embellishing both popular Iz favorites, such as “White Sandy Beach,” and rarities, such as a live recording of “E Kuu Morning Dew.” The results are akin to smearing cheese onto the delicate wings of a butterfly. Nothing that has been added reveals anything new about Kamakawiwoole’s timeless appeal.
The best tracks are the subtlest ones, which, while not improving Iz’s performances, at least don’t kill them. “Henehene Kou Aka,” for example, is given a perky “I Dream of Jeannie”-style treatment that’s relatively unobtrusive.
Mind you, I’m not intrinsically opposed to remix projects—what about a Rick-Rubin-style reimagining of Iz’s work that strips his recordings down to their essence? (The synth-y Jawaiian of “Hawaiian Sup’pa Man” pops to mind as a promising candidate for subtractive editing.)
Bottom line: Overcooked and unnecessary.