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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mastermind - III - Tragic Symphony – Mastermind's third album is the first to see release on a major label. Mastermind are Bill and Rich Berends (brothers from New Jersey) who continue on in Volume III much as they did with the first...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues