Exposé Online banner

Michael P. Dawson — Brandnewbug Concertos
(Elephant Shrew ESMCD-2, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

Brandnewbug Concertos Cover art

An interesting album indeed. Dawson is a Bay Area composer who originally released an earlier version of this (subtitled "Papa's Got a Brand New Bug") on cassette at the end of 1994. Compositionally, the material here is quite impressive, much of it encompassing a modern neo-classical ethic, building and changing over time, offering unpredictability and measured doses of dissonance. My only gripe is that the entire album is midi programmed, and while many tracks come off well this way, others (most notably "Whirligig") sound very mechanical and cold, and would have benefited from some additional non-programmed instrumentation. "Penguin Dust" is composed entirely of unlikely percussive samples, while "Under the Double Helix" evokes a haunting dreamlike melody. Other tracks of note include "Tycho Brahe," with its Zappa-meets-Ravel's "Bolero" approach, and the ten-minute "Fiery Searcher" with its alternations between an odd-time refrain and variations on the original theme. But the album's best has to be "Doctor Hoffmann's Problem Child," a totally off-the-wall quirk-fest that cuts between several melodic scenarios, all the while maintaining an ever-present rhythm in some odd time signature. Album closer "Hell" is another interesting one that drifts through a dreamscape of sampled space whispers. Overall, highest marks for concept and composition, but the execution could use attention in a couple places. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Michael P. Dawson

More info
http://michaelpdawson.bandcamp.com/album/the-brandnewbug-concertos

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jade Warrior - Distant Echoes – For the uninitiated, Jade Warrior's recorded history began around 1970 as a three-piece, integrating east Asian themes, introspective jazz-rock ideas, some elements of folk, and a lot more into a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues