Jay Cloidt: Kole Kat Krush
wonderful, accessible, and yet challenging album from one of new music's
of the few composers in the post-sampler era to fully develop that tool's
fascinating and witty potential."
Jay Cloidt concocts his slyly humorous pieces with what
Carl Stone calls "skill, wit, perversity, and adroitness." The
composer's spliced-together deconstructions of both classical and pop references,
combined with his masterful sampling of everyday sounds, are, as Stone
notes, "fabulous and fun to behold."
Cloidt's astutely entertaining music has delighted audiences throughout the
US and overseas. London's Musical Times writes that Exploded
View is "the
stuff of surrealist fantasy: a string quartet playing with the straight-backed
elegance of the Viennese tradition but producing the voices of industrial machinery,
kitchen appliances, roaring animals and whining babies." And the Los
Angeles Times comments that Karoshi is "a hoot... The
piece, made of sampled crashes and kabooms and cartoony melodies, knows exactly
how to fill five minutes."
The Kronos Quartet begins the CD with the effervescent Kole
Kat Krush. The
Kronos commissioned this piece from Cloidt, and they also premiered it. This
frequently programmed piece careens between Stravinsky, Beethoven, Eric Clapton,
and Sly Stone, among others. The Kronos recorded this Starkland version at George
Lucas's technically sophisticated Skywalker Ranch.
Cloidt offers these comments about the CD's next piece:
" 'Karoshi' is a medical syndrome that occurs in
Japanese businessmen: after many years of over-work, a 'salaryman' will sometimes
drop dead on the sidewalk, literally 'stressed to death.' This composition,
for bass instrument and sampled percussion, was commissioned by Basso Bongo;
other versions have been performed by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the New York
duo twisted tutu, and the California EAR Unit."
Jimi's Fridge was composed for Brenda Way's ODC-San
Francisco's dance work "The
Secret House," with text by Rinde Eckert and music co-composed by Jay Cloidt
and Paul Dresher. The sound source was a sample of the motor from Cloidt's home
refrigerator (processed by a cheap analog delay line), and the electronic percussion
is by Gene Reffkin.
Commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, "Life Is Good . . . And People
Are Basically Decent" is a suite of loosely related pieces based on a diverse
collection of sound materials and musical inspirations. We hear permutations
on a familiar piano motif, a sampled motorcycle, some Native American "wolf
scares" bullroarers, the complex whining drone of stair-climb exercise machines,
and music Cloidt calls an homage to two of his musical heroes, Thelonious Monk
and Frank Zappa.
Carl Stone offers these comments about the three sections from Cloidt's Exploded
View (commissioned by the Kronos Quartet) heard on the CD:
"But when Cloidt's music strays from the world
of ironic quotation to other realms, the fascination does not cease. Without
knowing the title 'Cats,' I assumed I was listening to a virtuoso manipulation
of the sound of an old joke 'cow-in-a-can.' Not only has the composer achieved
a kind of inter-species morphism where felinity becomes bovinity becomes divinity,
but amazingly 'Cats,' and its companions 'Baby Talk' and 'Auto/Motive,' each
using their own distinctive class of 'non-musical' samples, are actually written
for and performed by a string quartet."
Cloidt aims "to create a work that is straightforwardly beautiful" in
the soothing, hypnotic Light Fall, commissioned by the Margaret Jenkins Dance
Company. Stone finds that "Cloidt's always present love of sound as sound
is set in bold relief. It is here where we hear Cloidt the sonologist, and, some
of us may say, where the best music of all lies."
The CD concludes with a second version of Kole Kat Krush, performed by the Paul
Dresher Electro-Acoustic Band (with Cloidt on keyboard) and recorded live on
tour in Japan.
Summing up, Stone concludes that Cloidt's talents "give
him the ability to negotiate sharp musical curves without careening into a ditch.
Like most if not all good music, repeated listening never fails to reveal. And
thus Cloidt's music never fails to succor even the most jaded listener."
Visit Jay Cloidt's website.
Kole Kat Krush
Life is Good...And People Are Basically Decent
(Paul Dresher Ensemble)
Exploded View [excerpts]
Kole Kat Krush
(Paul Dresher Ensemble)
Introduction: Carl Stone
Total Time 60:15