FAME Review: Jason Seed Stringtet - In the Gallery
Jason Seed Stringtet - In the Gallery

In the Gallery

Jason Seed Stringtet

Available from Jason Seed's web site July 2 2013.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

If my research is correct and if I'm not drunk, this is Jason Seed's fourth release and, though it's composed of members of the Milwaukee and Chicago Symphonies, it had, upon the combo's very first issuance in 2007, led some wit to call the group the "world's weirdest rock band" engaged in "rockedixieofunkenjazzabilliclassicadelica". As soon as I can get my tongue unknotted from trying to pronounce that, I'll speak to the issue.

There are probably a lot of modal differences between that six year old CD in what was then called the Jason Seed Elixir Ensemble and In the Gallery 'cause, in this collection of songs, I'm finding little of the constituent ingredients in the death-defying term present. The material is much more a collision of late classical, neoclassical, tango, bolero, chamber, outside baroque prog, and the sort of stuff the Cuneiform label excels in producing and/or distributing, often uncategorizable save perhaps for the catch-all of 'avant'. Seed is a composer and guitar player flanked by cello, bass, viola, and violin, and then Yang Wei wielding a pipa in Where the Corners Meet. What's manifest can be a trifle challenging, though thoroughly enjoyable once past the daunting virtuosities.

If you like Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the classically oriented RIO crowd, Michael Nyman's non-serial work, and such, then this is for you, but the compositions accord themselves with an uncustomary weird grace even among that crowd. The peripatetics of Goulash Rag, for instance, are so mutated yet so familiar that I'm never sure whether to step back in awe or laugh out loud, wildly shifting images parading in the æther like cosmic gypsies settling in for dinner, drink, and a wild carouse. That irreverent trademark pretty much pervades the entire disc, and though the early-years everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach may not be quite so broad now, what it's been refined into is entertaining, diverting, larksome, and impressive as hell. This would be a hoot to hear and see in concert, and if Sneed ever stumbles upon the unique PDQ Bach, watch out!, 'cause he's already half way there.

Track List:

  • Invocation
  • Goulash Rag
  • Tangoesque
  • Pictures of an Exhibitionist
  • Ishtar
  • Krakow
  • Where the Corners Meet
  • In the Right Light
  • Caterpillar Kif
  • One in Five
  • In the Gallery
All songs written by Jason Seed.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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