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Phil Kline: Around the World in a Daze

From vast boombox symphonies to chamber music and songs cycles, Phil Kline's work has been hailed for its originality and beauty. His compositions have been performed in rock clubs, art galleries, and major concert halls throughout the world.

Phil Kline

Kline's Zippo Songs, a song cycle based on poems that American GIs inscribed on their cigarette lighters in Vietnam, was one of the most widely hailed new music CDs of 2004. In addition to receiving news coverage by CNN, NPR, The London Guardian, and many others, the CD was named "Best of the Year" by The New York Times, Newsday, and Gramophone. The New Yorker called Zippo Songs "one of the most brutally frank song cycles ever penned."
His signature boombox composition Unsilent Night debuted on the sidewalks of Greenwich Village in 1992 and is today a cult holiday tradition throughout the world. A public parade of hundreds of boomboxes carried through city streets during the Christmas season, it has been presented in cities like San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, San Diego, Tallahassee, and Tucson, as well as Berlin, Turin, Middlesborough (UK), Sydney (Australia), Vancouver B.C., and Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times: "It immerses a listener in suspended wonderment, as if time itself had paused within a string of jingling sleigh bells."
A figure in the downtown New York rock scene in the 1980s, Kline founded the band the Del-Byzanteens with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and painter James Nares, collaborated with photographer Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to her Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and toured the world as a veteran of Glenn Branca's legendary guitar ensemble.
Kline's compelling music has been heralded by leading critics:

"Magic was happening as you sat there. Here was a real original."
- Paul Griffiths, The New York Times
"Kline has graduated from 'experimental' to 'original' he's one of America's most important compositional voices."
- David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Everything he does as Cage said of Feldman's music is just almost too beautiful."
- Kyle Gann, The Village Voice

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The Housatonic at Henry Street
For Ives the river of life, running right by my window.
Electronica and tape orchestra. Field recording: Henry Street at Rutgers, evening in July.

Svarga Yatra
An uphill climb. It might mean Stairway to Heaven in Sanskrit.
Performed by Ethel (Todd Reynolds and Mary Rowell, violins, Ralph Farris, viola, Dorothy Lawson, cello) with tape choir.

The Maryland Sample
A madrigal about love and science, bitterness and bees.
Performed by Kamala Sankaram (vocals) and Phil Kline (vocals, strings and percussion). Field recording: bug zappers on Nicola Teslas porch

Pennies from Heaven
The trickle down theory. Everything is falling. Every time it rains it rains.
Tape orchestra

On the Waterfront
This is not a recording, but something happening right now in Istanbul.
Luv U 2 Death
Death hastened by technology. And our love become a funeral pyre.
Wagner Liebestod
The Wailing Wall
The pull of the moon. A blind man tries to describe it.
Vocals by Phil Kline
Grand Etude for the Elevation
The importance of height: I can see my house from here.
Violinistics by Todd Reynolds
Departing, the end begins.
Bach Prelude in B flat minor. Field recording: Tuesday morning, Zurich station.

The Housatonic at Dzanga
The mystery of red mercury, observed by a million gray parrots.
Electronica and tape choir. Field recording: the watering hole at Dzanga, Central African Republic (Louis Sarno)

DVD One Total Time: 65:17 | Introduction: John Schaefer


MEDITATION (run as fast as you can)
music video by Phil Kline

Interview with John Schaefer

Production Photos

Total Content: 110 min.
NTSC All Region

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