Friday, July 31, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - July 29/09

Sometimes it takes a while for a disc to truly sink in. In this case, it's been about a year for "Imagination" to get to my sub-conscious.

This project between one-time Torontonian vocalist Yoon Sun Choi and pianist Jacob Sacks redefines the work of Joe Raposo who is best known as the composer for Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and Electric Company.

It is so refreshing to hear the familiar piano/voice combo apply itself to subject matter far away from tired standards. Since Raposo's music is for kids, or written from a child's perspective, these aren't love songs - at least not in the romantic sense. They are love songs about what we adults call simple pleasures - the alliterative, alphabet-based songs like "La La La" work perfectly in a jazz context, when things that start with the letter L are lovingly listed, right down to the "lump in my oatmeal". It's entirely different terrain for emotional expression.

This week's track explores "Imagination", and is more unsettling. When sung by an adult, the sentiment ("I close my eyes and my home isn't home/And my bed isn't really my bed") is borderline terrifying. It's ripe for a horror movie, especially with the hints of dissonance in Sacks' playing.

Sacks and Choi play this one relatively straight, compared to other Cecil Taylor meets Julie Tippetts-type tracks like the furious "What Makes Music". Choi is far more than some come-hither torch singer, she channels a wide range of singing techniques to serve this material, making light (or darkness) of so many implicit sentiments in Raposo's lyrics. Sacks resists the temptation to grandstand, yet he's always challenging Choi to come up with something new. Neither musician makes fun of the material, which is key. Kids hate it when you talk down to them.


beware the swordbat - the eternals (aesthetics usa)
dayha oulabes - boutaiba sghir (sublime frequencies)
gulli ya hilw - salaam (no label)
discord - the seasons (city centre offices)
murder ballad - st. dirt elementary school (barnyard)
ochun loops - sonic liberation front (slf)
blacab - kanada 70 (no label)
earthly matters - ras g (brainfeeder)
locomotive - more or les with fresh kils (backburner)
she really likes it - agape (sustainable)
put your hands up for detroit - tm juke & the jack baker trio (tru thoughts)
polylectic - poolplayers (songlines)
imagination - yoon son choi/jacob sacks (yeah yeah)
ver a ver - helado negro (asmathic kitty)
c'est super - daedalus rmx by michna (fof music)
feria de los jueves en lules - the peronists (zzk)
free but confined - gisto (historicalrecords)
exodus - dj quik & kurupt (mad science)
i'm not crazy - don carlos/captain sinbad (greensleeves)
king of israel - hugh mundell (king jammy's gold)
dub seasoning - bullwackies allstars (senrab)

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