Saturday, August 9, 2008

Record Report, 8/8/08

Peter Breslin-Duology 1
BettySoo-Little Tiny Secrets


I've had this record for a while, but not too long. About five months or so. It has been really difficult for me to get past the brilliance of the second track, "Atlas", and give any of the rest of it the attention it deserves. I mean, "Atlas" has to be one of the most fantastic pieces of music I've heard in a long time. I feel about it the way I felt about "Paranoid Android" for a good while. It just works so well, and yet you are totally bewildered about how it might have been assembled/composed. This album is really difficult to describe...There's a post-punk-ish element to it, and a prog element, but that really shortchanges what the music is.

Most inspiring about this record is the idea that records like this are still possible...that I can sit here and try and convey to you what it's like, but it's so unique that any effort is insufficient. Please go listen to this record, because it is certainly a record that deserves to be listened to by people who enjoy challenging and innovative music.

Peter Breslin-Duology 1

I have only listened to this once (my ambitions for the weekly record report are slowly but surely becoming overly ambitious...I don't feel like I've been able to give any of the five records for this week sufficient attention). It is a recording from 2007, a live concert where Peter brought in six other musicians, and performed improvised duets with them. The order they occurred in was determined by chance (names pulled out of a hat, to be exact): Mark Weaver on tuba, Ruth Zaporah on spoken vocals, Chris Jonas on saxophone, Jeremy Bleich on percussion and oud (a middle eastern stringed instrument), Paul Brown on double bass, and Mike Rowland on drum set. Peter played piano on all selections.

Like I said in the previous entry, I've always had an interest in what might be called "avant-garde". I don't really believe in that distinction...Music is music, whether composed or improvised, whether "folk" or "art"...I think distinctions such as these ultimately are meaningless. Do I think that there was a certain magic to these improvisations that would only be experienced by hearing them live? Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that there's not real musical interaction here that can be appreciated from any perspective. Some people aren't going to get it, but I don' t think that's the musicians' fault. I really don't. We can't fault them for doing something that they believe in, for creating challenging art because that's what their lives and their experience lead them to do.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure (in case you didn't read the last entry), Peter Breslin was a teacher of mine in college. Great guy. Hang out and talk to him someday if you have the chance, or just go read his blog at

BettySoo-Little Tiny Secrets

Betty is also someone I know, someone that KC and I have gotten to know a bit through the folk scene recently. She's a singer-songwriter from Austin. She has a gorgeous voice, something that cannot be said of every folky chanteuse KC and I have heard over the last few years. I like this record, even though there are some songs I enjoy a lot more than others. "The Story of Us", "If You Fall", "Easy Living" and "Goodbye" are all ones I enjoy, and I think I enjoy them more now that I've heard Betty play them live. "Revival", however, is easily my favorite song on the record, largely for reasons that I would describe as spiritual. Being someone who calls himself "Christian", but is largely disappointed with the way that some other Christians conduct themselves in the larger world, this song gives me hope. It is what I believe the Church should be, the way its people should be conducting themselves, the actions that should be taken in the name of Christ versus the ones that are. I have not spoken with Betty about faith or this song in particular, so I don't know for sure how she was feeling or what she was thinking when she wrote it, but it always makes me feel less lonely when I realize there are others out there who might look at the Church the same way I do at this point in history.

BettySoo is also not afraid to write a catchy song, and this should be something that is celebrated in the folk world a lot more than it is. I look forward to enjoying more of her music in the future.

Okay, that's all I got. I wanted to add two more records to this report, but I'm really tired and I haven't had the chance to really give them the attention they deserve. Even these records here have been shortchanged to some degree. We'll have to revamp the plan a bit, maybe...We'll see. Keep listening.


Rodney said...

The Battles song is ace. I don't keep up with new music very well it's nice to hear something new. Although everything new I hear has some element of 1978 in it.

I do like them Fleet Foxes a lot.

Mixtape Jones said...

Yeah, I've heard a little of the Fleet Foxes record and I was interested in hearing more...If I can scrounge up some stuff to trade for it, maybe I'll pick it up.

peter breslin said...

Hey Mixtape Jones! :-) Thanks for linking to Duology 1. I think there is a certain "you had to be there" energy to performances like those. A few moments stand out musically for me, especially the duets with Chris and Mike. I also liked the way Jeremy started on trash can lids and moved to oud. The duet with Ruth Z was totally "you had to be there," as she did some amazing theater stuff. There's a videotape of it flying around somewhere I haven't seen.

peace, stay in touch,


Rodney said...

I've listened to 'Atlas' several times since I posted and it's kind of a fascinating thing, isn't it? I can't really imagine what would inspire someone to make a song like that...the only thing I know to compare it to is Neu!'s 'Lila Engel (Lilac Angel)'...which is also a fascinating song I can't imagine someone coming up with.

I love songs like that.