Saturday, July 15, 2017

"further confirmation of Scott's singular genius"

This critical assessment by Marc Medwin (Dusted magazine) of the new Raymond Scott electronica set, Three Willow Park, isn't just the best review of the package—it's the best TEN reviews.

Unlike many of his contemporaries who churn out assembly-line reviews by cutting-and-pasting passages from press releases, Medwin practices old-fashioned music journalism. That takes time, because it requires the writer to actually LISTEN to the music being reviewed.

Here's an excerpt:
There is something romantic about Scott's quirky visions, something slightly humorous in the sounds often squeaking and brapping from his devices, as if nothing could be taken completely seriously at all times. Revel in the electro-acoustically saccharine “Portofino 3,” in which high-register women’s voices and saxophone pepper the electronic ripples and arpeggios. This whimsy even applies to his own corpus, as heard in the completely reworked and daffy version of “Toy Trumpet” from 1966, complementing the longer one that can be heard on Manhattan Research Inc. It’s Scott’s most well-known melody, but it’s given a complete makeover, as Miles Davis might have done with “So What” or Chick Corea did with “Spain.” Then, there are the positively zany sounds taken from the effects reel for Jim Henson’s 1966 film “The Organized Mind,” whose soundtrack is heard complete on MRI. Hearing the sounds divorced from context, like little misshapen galaxies, is instructive and a bit unnerving, a few jump-cut and smile-inducing moments notwithstanding. It’s all very far removed from the “serious” worlds of Stockhausen, Berio and the weighty concepts they imagined and championed. Ultimately, despite its complexities of vision and execution, there’s something endearing, almost childlike, in Scott’s music, something wondrous, sparking the imagination to travel paths similar to the trails its creator blazed.
Medwin brings lots of knowledge to his criticism.—he's an assistant professor in the music program at American University's College of Arts & Sciences, and wrote his dissertation on the late works of John Coltrane.

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