Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1975 album The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color -- it’s unique. Kirk’s range -- of gifts, of stylistic masteries -- was unique, and this album is unique in his discography: A psychedelic funk-jazz cornucopia collage dreamscape.

With dollops of satire.

And homages to Miles Davis and Scott Joplin.

And his typically gorgeous lyricism typically smelted with his typical hot ensemble plenitude.

The music section of any big bookstore will have competing titles on Bach, Beethoven, Beatles, Ellington, Armstrong, Coltrane, Miles. Kirk belongs in the pantheon.

(If you want to track this one down, be sure to read the customer review regarding reissue labels.)

* * *

Glenn Gould gets the ink for bringing Bach’s
Goldberg Variations into popularity. I want to raise a cheer for Wanda Landowska, the Segovia of the harpsichord, who lived from 1879 to 1959. Not only was she was the first person to record them, but she was also the first person to perform them in the 20th century on the instrument for which they were written: the harpsichord.

Like Gould, Landowska recorded the Goldbergs twice, in 1933 and 1945; also like Gould, her interpretation slowed down as she aged. The 1945 reveals the brilliance of the harpsichord’s sound; I hear it and think, this music was meant for this instrument. Landowska was a superb colorist. But her 1933, while of poor sonic quality, is my favorite of the recordings I have heard. Never startlingly fast or surprisingly slow, her tempos are impeccable. The music sings free and clear.

* * *

Since becoming aware of the singing of Asha Bhosle, I have admired more than loved her recordings. Until now.

You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman's Bollywood, Kronos Quartet smooths out the often harsh timbres of Bollywood style, while Bhosle, now over 70 years old, still produces some of the loveliest vocal sounds on earth. Listening to this album I constantly thought, “They made this exactly for my demographic, and I’m loving it!” While smoother than Bollywood, Kronos’s sound palette has color, variety, and nuance, continually attracting the ear. The record’s demographic appeal reaches all the way to the ’70s-style drum sound, before the ’80s drums started sounding like cannons.

Bhosle is the most recorded singer in history, with over 12,000 songs recorded. Her husband Burman wrote wide-ranging songs for her, taking in western pop and rock influences as well as Indian pop and classical styles. Beguiling melodies, hooky riffs, lively rhythms. Whenever we listen to the album my 4-year-old son asks to hear one of the songs over and over. I happily oblige.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?