UPDATE 7/25/11: album back on line
Frank Pahl is one of the most criminally underrated composers/mad scientists at work today.
And while I still maintain that "We Who Live On Land," the album he recorded with The Scavenger Quartet that I wrote about a couple years ago, is one of the best albums of the '00s, I do thoroughly enjoy a more recent album of his, "Elementary," with the trio Little Bang Theory.
"Elementary" is performed entirely on toy instruments. It's all instrumental, and wanders over a fairly wide emotional range - no cute kiddie stuff here (not that I mind cuteness). The song writing is pretty ambitious, with some fairly lengthy "suites", tho with toy instruments you inevitably have a built-in nostalgic sweetness that keeps pretensions at bay. Utterly wonderful stuff, but it's in print, available from his site and elsewhere, so not gonna post it, but I did included a couple songs off it as BONUS! tracks, included with this other excellent Frank Pahl album that doesn't seem to be for sale anywhere.
Frank Pahl and Klimperei "Music For Desserts"
Pahl sez about this 2001 release: "What can I say? This is my favorite. All tracks began with home made automatic instruments. [French group] Klimperei laid down their sympathetic magic and I mixed."
And that's something I didn't realize when I first reviewed The Scavenger Quartet album: how many hand-built robot instruments are featured in Pahl's music, mixed in with all the strange, often antiquated human-played instruments. Da man plays: "Piano, Piano [Prepared, Prepared Barrel], Organ [Binary Air Quartet, Microcontrolled Air Quartet, Hohner Organette], Clarinet, Tipple, Marimba [Toy], Cello, Guitar [Tenor], Harmonium, Euphonium, Harp [Peacock, African], Flute [Bulgarian], Trombone [Toy], Trumpet [Toy], Bass Drum, Whistle, Ukulele, Ukulele [Automatic, Buzzsaw, Binary Quartet, Family], Zither, Zither [Automatic], Percussion, Percussion [Automatic], Performer [Autoglock, Binary Doorbell Quartet, Washing Machine, Jason Ortega's Auto Chime, Double String Trio, Virtual Pet: Gerbil, Humming Choir Loop, Shrutti Box]." No, I'm not entirely sure what all that means either, but it does give you an idea of how unique this music is, without losing a melodic approachability.