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Monday, September 2, 2013

Chris Campbell, Grant Cutler, SchoolDays Over

For more or less half my life I associated Labor Day (which is today) with the end of summer and the impending start of the school year. Though it's been many years since I loaded up with books, notebooks, BIC pens and White-Out, and prepared to be enlightened, yet inevitably I still think of school days this time of year.

Understandably SchoolDays Over (Innova 862), a 12-inch, 20 minute 45 RPM EP by Chris Campbell and Grant Cutler, does rather hit a nerve with me right now. So what better time to talk about it?

It is one of those that straddles categories beautifully--an art song with a small, soundsculpting-soundscaping, almost minimalist chamber group of piano, cellos, glockenspiel, marimba, synths, pump-organ, gongs, "water bassoons," etc. There are times when there is a pulse and it's quasi-ethnic/minimal.

The vocal, song proper of the work comes in three sections with instrumental interludes. There is something there that reminds just a little of Robert Wyatt/early Soft Machine, Jeff Buckley and perhaps Nico-John Cale, but there is no rock feel per se in any obvious sense.

It is very evocative, introspective, on the quiet side, magical and appealing--really like nothing else ultimately. It sounds great on analog 45 RPM vinyl!

It has much affective about it. Leaving school and entering the work world is never easy and the music has a "remembrance of things past" reflectiveness perfect for the experience of looking back to that moment.


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