Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guy Klucevsek “Polka From the Fringe” Release Announced by Starkland

A major project from leading new music accordionist Guy Klucevsek, out-of-print for nearly two decades, will be re-released on October 16, 2012 by Starkland, in its most comprehensive edition yet.

For his original “Polka From The Fringe” undertaking, Klucevsek commissioned over two-dozen two-steps, resulting in highly diverse music from a wide variety of composers.

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[L to R] Bill Ruyle, John King, Guy Klucevsek,
David Garland, David Hofstra 
The new Starkland double-CD release offers 29 polka pieces, ranging from Elliot Sharp’s punk-infused Happy Chappie Polka, Fred Frith’s humorous The Disinformation Polka, and John King’s slyly political song about a one-legged polka, to Carl Finch’s (of Brave Combo) beautiful Prairie Dogs, William Obrecht’s witty Guy, Won’t You Play Your Accordion?, and Dick Connette’s poignant Wild Goose.

In addition to Klucevsek, other composers include: Mary Ellen Childs, Anthony Coleman, Tom Cora, Guy De Bievre, William Duckworth, Steve Elson, David Garland, Peter Garland, Daniel Goode, Rolf Groesbeck, Robin Holcomb, Phillip Johnston, Joseph Kasinskas, Aaron Jay Kernis, Mary Jane Leach, David Mahler, Bobby Previte, Bill Ruyle, Carl Stone, Lois V Vierk, and Peter Zummo.

Once chosen as the Best Recordings of the Year by WNYC's John Schaefer, the original two CDs disappeared not long after their release (the Japanese label went out of business), and the general public had little chance to discover this exceptional music.

Guy's debut of these widely diverse polkas won "a raucous standing ovation at a downtown Philadelphia night club" at New Music America, writes organizer Joe Franklin, adding that Guy's concert "was one of the true highlights” and “as memorable a New Music America event as any during the festival's 11-year history.”

Starkland’s 24-page booklet includes the complete lyrics, updated commentary from Klucevsek, and an Introduction freshly penned by New York Downtown veteran Elliott Sharp, who recalls that “ ‘Polka From The Fringe’ met with immediate popular response – an undercurrent of sly humor seemed to permeate the music, and audiences came away thrilled and excited both by Guy’s fantastic playing and the sheer audaciousness of this innovative undertaking.”

Klucevsek’s concerts featuring these works at the Brooklyn Academy of Music were enthusiastically praised by Kyle Gann in the Village Voice:
“BAM finally unearths a real gem: Guy Klucevsek, one of New York’s most imaginative, least pretentious composer/performers. Thanks to his expertise and activism, the accordion has become a staple of with-it avant-garde ensembles, and the collection of polkas he’s commissioned – and called ‘Polka From the Fringe’ – makes a fun and very revealing snapshot of new music in the ’80s.”
In Japan, the worthiness of Klucevsek’s ambitious project attracted the attention of noted composer Toru Takemitsu, who personally invited Klucevsek and his polka band to participate in Takemitsu’s Music Today festival.

Starkland’s previous two Klucevsek CDs received impressive kudos. "Transylvanian Softwear" was awarded a “Recording of Special Merit” from Stereo Review, and "Free Range Accordion" was deemed “a funny, rich, and meaningful expression of this great American squeezeboxer's brilliance” (Santa Barbara Independent).

About Guy Klucevsek

Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. He has performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn. Klucevsek is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship, an unrestricted $50,000 award given annually to “America's finest artists.”

About Starkland 

Starkland’s previous recordings have received over 200 favorable reviews, including those in The New York Times, Gramophone, Stereophile, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Washington Post, Sound & Vision, New York Magazine, UK’s The Wire, Canada’s Musicworks, and France’s Revue & Corrigée. The label’s releases have been featured on such national radio programs as NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. Other recordings present Charles Amirkhanian, Tod Dockstader, Paul Dresher, Ethel Quartet, Aaron Jay Kernis, Phil Kline, Guy Klucevsek, Kronos Quartet, Keeril Makan, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Todd Reynolds, Turtle Island String Quartet, John Zorn, more.

Under the direction of “one-man army” Thomas Steenland, Starkland has also commissioned over two hours of high-resolution surround-sound music from thirteen prominent new-music composers, a commitment likely unequaled by any other label.

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