French TV — #7 The Case Against Art
(Pretentious Dinosaur CD006, 2002, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2002-04-01
You have to hand it to Mike Sary and Co., every French TV seems an improvement on the last, a feat impressive considering the strength of 1999's The Violence of Amateurs. Album number seven is here with five long pieces of music and guests including Trap's Warren Dale, guitarist Shawn Persinger, and vocalist Cliff Fortney. All three are present on the album's middle piece, a cover of Happy the Man's "Partly the State." While this rates among my least favorites of that band's songs, the rendition here is a vast improvement over the one on Beginnings, capitalizing on the broad and tasteful strengths of French TV's current line up. The music certainly evinces a number of RIO and Canterbury influences, but Sary's integration of these over the years into his own vision has resulted in an idiosyncratic blend that is practically recognizable now. It's not just the complexity and dynamics, which are abundant throughout, but it's also the quirky humor and oddball time changes that do more than deliver good music, they also deliver it with a casual panache often missing in the dead-serious world of progressive rock. Another of the album's strengths is its wonderful dynamics, a chromatic range from the full-tilt and rocking to the soft and introspective, all enhanced by the tasteful and instrumentally eclectic guest appearances. For fans of the intricate, humorous, and left field, The Case Against Art is likely to leave one with an unsolvable paradox, as this makes a rather damn good case for art. This is clever, tasteful music the fan of avant-rock should make a priority purchase.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more