Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NPR to air music from Phillip Bimstein Starkland CD

NPR will air Phillip Bimstein's “The Bushy Wushy Rag” on Hearing Voices, beginning the week of Oct. 21, 2009. The excerpt (over 7 minutes) will lead off a lineup of baseball stories on this “Home Team” show from the Public Radio Hall of Fame. Their description:
“The sounds of a St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball game are combined with the echoes of Scott Joplin's ragtime and the distinctive calls of Bushy Wushy the Beer Man. This 39-year veteran beer vendor at Busch Stadium, he shares his love for the game, the crowd, and the communal spirit of St. Louis.”
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Hearing Voices from NPR is an hour of The Best of Public Radio: a sixty-minute stream of “driveway moments” connected by a weekly theme, with the help of a guest host. Each episode mixes broadcasts, podcasts, sound-portraits, slam poets, docs, radio dramas, features, and found-sound. The show is aired by over 100 stations.

“The Bushy Wushy Rag” appears on Bimstein’s Larkin Gifford’s Harmonica CD, released by Starkland.

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In the CD’s Introduction, John Adams writes:
"Like their composer, the pieces on this album communicate a generous and good-natured spirit that is tempered with wry wit and a special sense of the western landscape and culture that he so loves."
The delightful, funny, and genuine Robert Logan became known as "Bushy Wushy the Beer Man" over the years. Bimstein began "The Bushy Wushy Rag" by visiting Busch Stadium, recording the crack of the bat from behind home plate, the ball slamming into the catcher's mitt, and other baseball game sounds. He then combined these sampled sounds with stories told by the charming Bushy Wushy, all tied together with a score for wind quintet. Listeners will also hear echoes of music associated with baseball and St. Louis, such as The Maple Leaf Rag written about 100 years before by Scott Joplin in St. Louis.

NPR seems to love Bimstein’s music. Appearing on Weekend Edition, he discussed the CD’s title track “Larkin Gifford’s Harmonica.”

The New York Times warmly praised this second Starkland CD from Phillip Bimstein, stating, "The irresistible charm of Mr. Bimstein's music has less to do with technology than with his uncanny knack for finding the music of everyday life." Stereophile calls Bimstein "an American original” who “has evolved into a singular musical entity.” The audiophile magazine adds that this CD is “stunning and heartwarming,” offering “quirky, moving, and delightful musical journeys.”

“The Bushy Wushy Rag” is performed by the Equinox Chamber Players, who premiered the work in their hometown of St. Louis.

Read more about Phillip Bimstein’s Larkin Gifford’s Harmonica CD.

The CD is available at Amazon.

This is not the first time Starkland has homered with a Bimstein CD. His first Starkland release, Garland Hirschi's Cows, was widely praised and triggered hundreds of calls to radio stations around the country. Stereophile wrote that the “brilliantly original” Bimstein is “outstanding in his field” and uses “digital sampling technology to tell wry and moving stories, and to elevate the mundane to the level of high art."


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