Personnel: Paul Dresher (guitar, keyboards, electronics); Craig Fry (violin); Paul Hanson (bassoon); Marja Mutru, Philip Aaberg (keyboards).
Liner Note Author: Carl Stone.
Recording information: California Institute Of The Arts Studio (??/1993-03/1998); Japan (??/1993-03/1998); Oakland, CA (??/1993-03/1998).
Composer Jay Cloidt has been called "the Spike Jones of the Bay Area's new music scene," and while there's certainly something to that comparison, it's not entirely fair. There's no missing the sense of humor that pervades many of these pieces; titles like "Jimi's Fridge" and "DixieLurch Music" are dead giveaways, and it takes not only a deeply talented but also a slightly twisted composer to fashion compelling music out of samples of cats meowing and babies cooing. But the humor is only part of this music's charm. The excellent title piece, presented in two very different realizations, one by the Kronos Quartet and one by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, includes quotes from "Sunshine of Your Love" and Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," as well as some very original and attractive thematic development. The title of "Karoshi," for bass instrument and sampled percussion, has reference to a medical syndrome first observed in Japan in which businessmen drop dead without warning due to job-related stress. The meowing cats and gurgling babies are excerpts from a larger composition entitled "Exploded View" and are actually samples controlled by members of the Kronos Quartet playing Zeta MIDI instruments. Need I say more? This is a wonderful, accessible, and yet challenging album from one of new music's brightest lights. ~ Rick Anderson