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    Various Artists – Fire in My Bones

    December 24th, 2010

    Various Artists - Fire in My Bones.

    Complied by Chemical Imbalance and Yeti publisher Mike McGonigal, Fire in My Bones is a thoroughly combustible set of Raw and Rare and Otherworldly African-American Gospel. We’re talking no less than 88 tracks sprayed out over three CDs exhaustively crammed full of blazing post-World War II church music. The bulk of the material spans from the 1950s through the 1970s, with a handful of tracks from the ’80s and ’90s and even one from 2007. My favorite cuts tend to be early ones–the more raw and low-fidelity, the better! Take Elder Beck’s fiery, wild and wooly “Rock and Roll Sermon” (1956), for example, which preaches against the “moral decay” that the newly-emerging rock music wrought upon young people. Ironically, Elder’s performance is just as raucous as that of the rockers. Or Sister Ola Mae Terrell’s gloriously out of tune guitar strumning and soulful throat wailing that make “How Long” (1948) light a fire under your ass. Nathaniel Rivers simply stabs the stale, sweaty air with some seriously scalding singing on “The Wicked Shall Cease From Troubling” (1973). And that’s only three out of 27 tracks on disc one!

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    Various Artists – Works by Robert Erickson, Harvey Sollberger, Peter Westergaard, Phillip Rhodes, Edwin Dugger

    November 11th, 2010

    Various Artists - Works by Robert Erickson, Harvey Sollberger, Peter Westergaard, Phillip Rhodes, Edwin Dugger

    This 1999 CD collects five thorny avant-garde pieces from the 1960s for small instrumental chamber ensembles. All of these tracks were previously issued on three old Acoustic Research LPs. Phillip Rhodes’ “Duo For Violin and Cello” throws a few fleeting, homely melodies into a morass of prickly jabs before the whole thing surrenders to a mellow mood. Employing both traditional and experimental techniques, Harvey Sollberger’s “Grand Quartet for Flutes” sprays out a slew of sprightly melodies that tumble across each other like a gaggle of drunk gymnasts.

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    Various Artists – Portraits of Three Ladies

    November 10th, 2010

    Various Artists - Portraits of Three Ladies

    Here we have three chunks of serialism-inspired American music from the 1960s. Right out of the gate, an orchestra spackles some seriously quirky instrumental music all over your entire head during Charles Whittenberg’s “Variations for Nine Players,” which steadily progresses from shy single notes to brazen chords. Edwin London’s incredibly boisterous “Portraits of Three Ladies” adds a narrator, a singer and, ironically, plenty of drama and outright free jazz-like scree to the great big bowl of serial that is this CD. Sans emotional vocalists, Richard Hoffman’s “Orchestra Piece 1961” harks back to the formal serialism of “Variations.” Sonorities shift abruptly from light tinkles to blaring explosions, forming a rigorous yet invigorating sound world in the process. When all is sung and done, this is a perfect CD for anyone seeking challenging 20th century music.

    Label: New World Records Catalog Number: 80562-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 51:38 Country: United States Released: 1999 More: Richard Hoffman, Edwin London, Charles Whittenberg, New World Records

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