David Thomas — Mirror Man
(Cooking Vinyl COOK CD 175, 1999, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-11-01From a dizzy blurring pastiche of commentary and cadence comes a curious project, extremely artsy with obscure socio-overtones. The former lead vocalist of Pere Ubu, David Thomas has assembled one of the oddest collections of musicians for his "Pale Orchestra" project and this is only Act 1: Jack and the General. Starting out with poetry and recitation as the key focal point of the disc, political statements about the drift of priorities of the US are rampant. I can't help the obvious comparisons to a Captain Beefheart/Lou Reed/ Residents/Tom Waits event. Support is provided by several interesting participators including Linda Thompson who hasn't graced a live performance in almost fifteen years! Her lead vocal on "Nowheresville" is almost a Patti Smith style approach. Two prog heavy players, Peter Hammill and Chris Cutler, are utilized in instrumental support roles as part of the band: Hammill as second guitarist and harmonium player, Cutler on electric drums. Pieces such as "Ballad of Florida" benefit from a folksy motif with some brash echo trumpet from Andy Diagram. Plus there appears to be many more portions to this conceptual work as one part of the four day festival, "David Thomas: Disastrodome," how do they link? Missing the visual aspect of this work can be a bit disproving of the concept by making the proceedings more beat poetry than major multimedia event; hopefully there could be a DVD release? Overall, Mirror Man is a clever puzzle with many onion layers to peel. But I have no idea how long it takes to get to the center. Further info on the festival and a detailed context of the album's focus is available at www.projex.demon.co.uk.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more