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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 6

    July 21st, 2017

    Friday, July 21, 2017
    Downtown Panama City, Panama

    There's a lady who knows all that glitters is gold, and she's climbing a skyscraper to Heaven. Downtown Panama City, Panama.
    There’s a lady who knows all that glitters is gold, and she’s climbing a skyscraper to Heaven. Downtown Panama City, Panama.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 5

    July 20th, 2017

    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    A t-shirt seat cover in a taxi in Panama City, Panama.
    A t-shirt seat cover in a taxi in Panama City, Panama.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 4

    July 19th, 2017

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    The Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    The Cafe Coca-Cola in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 3

    July 19th, 2017

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    The Biomuseo designed by Frank Gehry in Panama City, Panama.
    The Biomuseo designed by Frank Gehry in Panama City, Panama.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 2

    July 17th, 2017

    Monday, July 17, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    La Iglesia de la Merced in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.
    La Iglesia de la Merced in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama.

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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 1

    July 16th, 2017

    Sunday, July 16, 2017
    Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

    A Red Devil bus trails my taxi cab on the way from Tocumen Airport to Panama City.
    A Red Devil bus trails my taxi cab on the way from Tocumen Airport to Panama City.

    “Panama is a country in Central America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia (in South America) to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country’s four million people.

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    Crystal Mooncone – Listening Beam Five

    July 13th, 2017

    Crystal Mooncone - Listening Beam Five

    First of all, let’s just get this out of the way: I really love the name of this band! Crystal Mooncone sounds like a name Stevie Nicks could have given her cat back in 1976 while Fleetwood Mac was recording Rumors up in the fence post-hippie environs of Marin County, California. But, she couldn’t do that, because she was too busy snorting cocaine in the hot tub and fighting with Lindsey Buckingham. Oh, well! Instead of a feline Crystal Mooncone, we eventually got a human one three decades later, which probably turned out for the best. I mean, hell, we got Listening Beam Five out of the deal, which contains “Fossil Tears,” and that’s all that matters!

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    Grant Cutler – Self Portrait

    June 11th, 2017

    Grant Cutler - Self Portrait

    I’m confused. The title of this CD by composer and musician Grant Cutler is Self Portrait, but the photo on the cover is not one he took of himself. It’s a napping woman. There’s a similar issue with the back cover. When I first saw it, I thought, “Oh, how clever: knife blades, as in cutlery, as in Grant Cutler.” Upon closer inspection in brighter light, though, I realized that the blades in question are actually plants, not knives. Derp! That’s okay, though. I’ll bet they’re still sharp enough to cut like a knife, like Bryan Adams said. But, yeah, this whole package, at least on a visual level, is all kinds of misleading. And it all revolves around Grant Cutler and his sharp name.

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    Tod Dockstader – From the Archives

    May 7th, 2017

    Tod Dockstader - From the Archives

    Tod Dockstader (1932-2015) was a sound engineer and effects specialist at Gotham Recording studios in New York City from the late 1950s to the mid-’60s who, with no formal musical training, secretly composed some of the best electro-acoustic music of all time on company equipment after hours. [Insert evil laughter here.] My ears now thank him. Tod’s vintage material ranks right up there with the best of the late-night drive accompaniment wafted out by major mid-century composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry and Iannis Xenakis.

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    Daniel Goode – Eight Thrushes in New York

    April 30th, 2017

    Daniel Goode - Eight Thrushes in New York

    “Daniel Goode is a New York-based composer and clarinetist who is the co-director of the Downtown Ensemble, a core member of Gamelan Son of Lion, and an important and early minimalist.”–Frog Peak. Eight Thrushes in New York is a collection of four pieces that span three decades–from 1969 to 1998–of devotion to clarinet and wind instrument playing. Hailing from 1998, the most recent piece, “Eight Thrushes, Accordion and Bagpipe,” starts out slowly and quietly with keening bird calls via one clarinet, eventually joined by other wind instruments as some subtle, sour bagpipes drone away in the background. Around the 17 minute mark, a bit of impassioned singing is thrown into the mix. Near the the end of the piece, which extends to well over a half-hour, the performers kick up quite a ruckus. Recorded in 1969, “Coeur d’Orr” proffers a rich organ drone from Harold Budd, topped off with a wildly keening clarinet courtesy of the composer. “There was something inside of me then, yearning to be free. This performance released it.”–Daniel Goode. “Clarinet Improvisation” from 1970 is a continuation of the previous piece, minus the organ, while “Mockingbird” from 1976 closes out the disc by indeed mocking a bird. Overall, it’s safe to say these four pieces present an interesting collision between birdsong and minimalism, and provide a strangely sustained listening environment for fans of both categories.

    Label: Frog Peak Music Catalog Number: FP010 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 4 Total Time: 64:06 Country: United States Released: 2002 More: Frog Peak Music, Official, Kalvos Damian

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