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    Partch at the REDCAT 2008

    December 7th, 2008

    Partch at the REDCAT 2008.
    Partch ensemble founder, John Schneider.

    Los Angeles, California
    May 31, 2008

    Harry Partch (1901-1974) merely succeeded in realizing the most perfectly constructed, personal musical universe of the 20th Century. Shunning twelve-tone equal temperament—which has dominated Western music for well over a hundred years—he formed his own 43 tone scale realized through an antiquated pure tuning system known as Just Intonation. Harry then built his own strange, sculptural instruments to realize his exotic scores. Over several decades, he meshed this otherworldly-sounding music with dance and drama into what he called “corporeal” presentations, in which these three elements are fully integrated into a powerful, transporting whole. None of them were omitted or relegated to the background, as in traditional stage plays, classical concerts, etc.

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    White Magic at the Echo

    December 1st, 2008

    White Magic at the Echo, 2007.
    Mira Billotte.

    Los Angeles, California
    November 24, 2007

    Hailing from New York City, psych folk tugboat White Magic have been busy as a bee for the better part of this decade, plying their local waterways to gently guide huge dirge ships out onto the stormy, night sea. On a chilly November evening at the Echo in Los Angeles, the band took forever and a day to set up, only to be promptly plagued by technical difficulties. Almost an hour later, they finally got their act together and proceeded into songland, offering up gems from throughout their slim discography. Normally, I’m not one to go to a concert and expect to hear this song or that, cuz I like novelty and spontaneity, but I sure wouldn’t have objected if they played “Palm and Wine” off of their excellent Dat Rosa Mel Apibus album. They didn’t, but I still had a tempest-tossed time anyway. So did the thick crowd, who left with a belly full of sad, beautiful music.

    White Magic at the Echo, 2007.
    Mira Billotte and Doug Shaw.