Slip Jherek Bischoff’s Composed CD into your player and you’ll be convinced you’re listening to some lush, orchestral pop epic. Take one glance at the liner notes, though, and that illusion will come crashing down as you learn it was all recorded one instrument at a time by the composer with a microphone and a laptop. Originally, Jherek channeled his Tiny Tim and wrote the songs on ukelele, then embarked on an epic three-year recording session, in which he layered up the myriad instruments of the classical orchestra and fronted them with numerous luminous guests, like David Byrne (The Talking Heads), who sings on the lilting “Eyes,” Nels Cline (Wilco), who brandishes his usual frenetic guitar noodling in a dissonant outburst at the end of the decidedly more subdued setting of “Blossom,” the Tropicalia legend, Caetano Veloso, who joins in the stage musical-like “The Secret of the Machines,” the buoyant rock-like insistence of “Young and Lovely” (with nary a guitar in sight), plus several more. Taken as a whole, Composed reminds me of a soundtrack to an off-kilter off-Broadway musical lightly sprinkled with sections of cut-up editing and electronic flourishes for the perfect amount of pleasant disorientation. And after the dramatic and epic crescendo of “Insomnia, Death and the Sea” spills out of your speakers, you realize it’s time to compose yourself and press Replay.
Text ©2013 Arcane Candy