Read more about Phil Kline's Around the World in a Daze DVD.
“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.”
"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.
“Neuburg's new song cycle teeters beguilingly on the boundary between pop and avant-garde performance art, and to hear it complete and in sequence is to marvel at the grace and elegance with which Neuburg walks that tightrope… As serious as the cycle's overall import is, there’s a vein of wit that does wonders for the music. And when that humor bursts into full flower, as in the superbly drawn mental befuddlement of Dada Exhibit or the exuberant black comedy of Hey, the impact is irresistible.”Amy describes The Secret Language of Subways as “a song cycle about the inane and perpetually unfinished businesses of love and war — and New York.” A stylistically versatile, classically trained singer/composer with a four-octave range, Amy is best known for performances with voice, electronic drums, and live looping in which she creates a chorus of layered voices and rhythms. Two years in the making, Subways consists of intricately composed, multiple layers of cellos topped by Amy’s distinctive and striking vocals; the songs range from intimate art-song ballads to electronics-based pop to Dadaist meanderings to lush symphonic arrangements. Sometimes the cellos are processed with electronic effects, other times heard in the expressive richness of their natural timbres. Neuburg explains:
“The idea for The Secret Life of Subways began in 2003 when I fell in love with the expressive voice-like quality, enormous pitch range, and dramatic look of the cello — I felt I had found a sort of instrumental kindred spirit to my own voice. I conceived most of these songs while sitting on the subway during a 3-year period when I lived part-time in New York — inspired by the rhythmic lull of the train, the fragmented meanderings of my thoughts, the dramas of recent world and personal events, and the deluge of sensory input that is New York itself. New York at that time presented such a vivid example of how life, love and art continue to move forward with full force, in spite of (or perhaps encouraged by) the fears and uncertainties of war.”The thirteen songs form a compelling dramatic arc, drawing the listener into a vivid, subterranean emotional journey. Starting from the hushed a cappella opening of One Lie, Subways makes local stops at urban paranoia (The Closing Doors, Body Parts), nocturnal reveries (the haunting-yet-catchy Someone Else’s Sleep), the surreal juxtapositions of street life (The Gooseneck, Difficult), self-preservation through self-presentation (the lilting, folkish Hey), and Amy’s stunning closer, the resigned, chorale-like Shrapnel.
“Musically, Kline's 10-part Daze is like those Olivier Messiaen orchestral works that are suites of free-standing tone poems, all from different sound worlds, that impulsively eschew the traditional notions of symmetry, proportion and structure.”The article focuses on the use of visual content on DVDs that present new music. Regarding Daze, Stearns comments:
“Visual illustrations - still photographs from family pets to a grassy stream - often seem so unconnected that Kline is working with a John Cage-style faith in the accidental poetry of randomness.”Stearns also discusses a Frank Scheffer film that accompanies Brian Eno's 1978 ambient Music for Airports, as arranged by Bang on a Canners Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. Unmentioned is that this release also contains a second film, In the Ocean, a documentary by Scheffer about the history of the wonderful Bang on a Can festival. There are spoken contributions from and excerpts of music by John Cage, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, as well as the can-bangers themselves.