Exposé Online banner

Michael P. Dawson — Brandnewbug Concertos
(Elephant Shrew ESMCD-2, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01

Brandnewbug Concertos Cover art

An interesting album indeed. Dawson is a Bay Area composer who originally released an earlier version of this (subtitled "Papa's Got a Brand New Bug") on cassette at the end of 1994. Compositionally, the material here is quite impressive, much of it encompassing a modern neo-classical ethic, building and changing over time, offering unpredictability and measured doses of dissonance. My only gripe is that the entire album is midi programmed, and while many tracks come off well this way, others (most notably "Whirligig") sound very mechanical and cold, and would have benefited from some additional non-programmed instrumentation. "Penguin Dust" is composed entirely of unlikely percussive samples, while "Under the Double Helix" evokes a haunting dreamlike melody. Other tracks of note include "Tycho Brahe," with its Zappa-meets-Ravel's "Bolero" approach, and the ten-minute "Fiery Searcher" with its alternations between an odd-time refrain and variations on the original theme. But the album's best has to be "Doctor Hoffmann's Problem Child," a totally off-the-wall quirk-fest that cuts between several melodic scenarios, all the while maintaining an ever-present rhythm in some odd time signature. Album closer "Hell" is another interesting one that drifts through a dreamscape of sampled space whispers. Overall, highest marks for concept and composition, but the execution could use attention in a couple places. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 9, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Michael P. Dawson

More info
http://michaelpdawson.bandcamp.com/album/the-brandnewbug-concertos

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
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


Previously in Exposé...

Nexus - Perpetuum Karma – This Argentine symphonic band made a big splash back around the turn of the decade, fronted by beautiful lead singer with golden voice, Mariela Gonzalez, leading to invitations to Baja and NEARfest....  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues