Thursday, March 24, 2022

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Verlaines, Ready to Fly
  • Chicago Underground Duo, Synesthesia
  • Carla Bley, European Tour 1977
  • Carla Bley / Michael Mantler, 13 / 3/4
  • Sonic Youth, In/Out/In
  • The Verlaines, Ready to Fly
Michael Mantler, Carla Bley, 13, 3/4

13 / 3/4 (1975) is one of my absolute favorite LPs never to have made it to CD. Bley’s side (“3/4”) is hypnotic, droll, and sly. Mantler’s side (“13”) is a full-on anxiety attack. Both pieces are made even more interesting by the juxtaposition. Portrait of a marriage? (But they did stay together for 16 more years...)

Both sides keep gathering intensity and keep me engrossed the whole way. The complex artistry of Bley’s piece sneaks up on you, concealed by the piece’s light and amusing surface, just as the ticking and whirling repetitions may lull you into missing the ever-varying tale told by the arranging. And Mantler’s piece wallops you over the head with its intensity and seriousness right from the get-go, then just keeps grimly walloping you harder and harder — until all you can do is laugh.

On Allmusic, Brian Olewnick’s review describes “3/4” as “arguably [Bley’s] finest work”. I wouldn’t argue back.

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