Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour

Guy Klucevsek is a monster of an accordionist. His combination of solid accordion technique and forward-thinking tendencies is unusual; in my experience, accordionists of such old-school virtuosity rarely have much interest in experimental music whatsoever. 

In contrast, Klucevsek has worked with people like John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Anthony Braxton, and Burt BacharachHis newest CD, The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour, seems aptly titled. Though thoroughly Eurocentric, the diversity of styles represented here reflects the sort of musical schizophrenia described in Trevor Dunn's essay, "For and Against Technique."

The arrangements show a Morricone-like orchestrational openness that only amplifies the impressive affect of the virtuosity involved. The exuberance of the 7/8 opener "Breathless and Bewildered" is amplified by the banjo doubling the melody, just as the xylophone in "Waltz for Sandy" is a welcome timbral diversion following what is my favorite virtuosic display of the album. 

"Gimme a Minute Please (My Sequins Are Showing)" reminds me of Allesandro Allesandroni's Preludietto (a track and album I love), while "Larsong" recalls Klucevsek's Well-Tampered Accordion.

The highlight in "Ratatatatouille" is again in the arrangement - a well orchestrated build that peaks with choral "aah's" reminiscent of Collage, 70's Estonian ensemble.

The second half of the album sees Klucevsek backed by the infamous Brave Combo. Though all of these tunes are stellar, "O'O" stands out as a surprisingly straightforward tune, full of organ swells and Martin Denny-ish bird calls (interspersed with high, subtle accordion clusters).

Guy Klucevsek's music is simultaneously an homage to and a subversion of musical traditions. The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour is a stunning album steeped in the widespread roots of the accordion, and it becomes quickly apparent that it is a topic Klucevsek knows a little something about.

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