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Warren Dale (USA) - 2004 - "The Burden of Duplicity"
TRACK LIST: 1. Dance of the Heretics 6:50 2. Here Today 6:36 3. The Ugly Forge 5:00 4. Tears of a Velvet Clown 13:38 5. Broken Home 6:25 6. Holovertures 16:48 7. What's in a Name 11:02 All tracks: by W Dale. Engineered & produced by W Dale. LINE-UP: Warren Dale - keyboards; reeds; mallet percussion Chris Smith - violins Gary Parra - traps Earl Schrader - bass With: Pam Thompson - tuba Will Stewart - trumpet Steven Dale - trumpet Stephanie Dale - piccolo &: "New Music Ensemble"
Prolusion. "The Burden of Duplicity" is the first solo album by Warren DALE, the American multi-instrumentalist and composer, one of the principal members of the mighty French TV. Warren is supported by another permanent member of French TV Chris Smith and Trap's main man Gary Parra, while most of the other participants appear as guest musicians both here and on the latest by FTV, >"Pardon Our French".
Synopsis. It seems the burden of duplicity is hard:-), as this is in many ways a bifacial album indeed. Besides, its inconsistency bears more a compositional than stylistic character, so I have rather ambivalent feelings about it or, to be more precise, its contents. Two tracks are looking like foreign color matters in the album's musical palette: Here Today and The Ugly Forge (2 & 3). The former consists of slow solos of reeds alternating with synthesizer effects, and the latter of random percussive sounds, much in accordance with its title. Both were revisited more than once, so I can assert that there is neither symphonic nor improvisational harmony, no melodies nor countermelodies, etc and so on. Is this a musical surrealism? No! No associations with the great Salvador Dali and the like. Perhaps it's some kind of impressionism, like Malevitch's famous (huh!) Black Square, which has just nothing to do with Art. (BTW, Malevitch means Dauber in Russian, by the irony of fate.) Another track that I am rather disappointed with is Broken Home (5). It can be called an Avant-garde Concerto for Reeds and Percussion, but still, everything is spontaneous rather than eclectic, so it sounds like the said two pieces being intermixed. Thankfully, as it happens today all around, the CD is long enough to restrict its playing time within the vintage LP framework by excluding the three tracks when programming a CD player. As a result, here is a 48-minute masterpiece, a true piece of Art, all the contents of which are just perfect, even if most of them are entities of non-Euclidean dimensions, generally speaking. From avant-garde jazz histrionics on What's in a Name, through a blend of progressive World music (of the Middle and Far East in particular) and, say, academic classicism on Holovertures, to a marvelously cohesive confluence of both of the Classical and Avant-garde kinds of Academic music, RIO, and chamber symphonic Rock on Dance of the Heretics and Tears of a Velvet Clown. The original version of the latter begins with an optimistic march and is vastly different from its rendition on French TV-8 in general. Unlike that, it is strikingly unique, showing a different approach to the arrangements, the great importance of which is just unquestionable. There are still a few episodes with Circus music, but no those with French chanson. In fact, there is nothing, which would resemble someone's concrete creation, not in the least. String, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments abound, all of various stripes. The music does have a highly polyphonic nature, and each composition is full of catchy and angular melodic lines alike, from dissonant stuffs to majestic beauty. The brilliance of the longer compositions and the top-flight musicianship on each of them easily make up the deficit in music on those accidental tracks, so I won't account them when describing my opinion on the album as a whole.
Conclusion. Warren Dale's solo album is filled with superbly crafted and enjoyably unpredictable music. This is a clever, ambitious and intricate opus that can appeal to many profound Prog-heads and will certainly overwhelm those into the 20th Century Classical music and an ultra-sophisticated Progressive Rock of similar directions. All in all, the CD gets my highest recommendations.
VM: August 13, 2004
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