Trevor Dunn: Four Films (2008)
Bassist Trevor Dunn is a witness-to-history kind of guy. A survey of his recordings finds him showing up in everything that has happened since the mid-1980s in both New York and on the West Coast. His bass can be heard anchoring important recordings from Mr. Bungle, the various and many projects of John Zorn, Graham Connah, Junk Genius, Rob Price, Jenny Scheinman, and Beth Custer. This mostly solo project features many more facets of Trevor Dunn, in the scoring of three films by Peter Bolt: Dandelion Man, Cameron Vale, and White Noise, together with Holly S. Neuberg's Glendale Blvd.
Even with no knowledge of the films, the enjoyment gained from the diverse music isn't diminished. Dunn even chooses to arrange the tracks not in order of the films, but to maximize the effect of the disc as a musical entity, by splitting up the heaviness of White Noise with the softer sounds of the Dandelion Man.
Like his friend John Zorn is apt to do, Dunn dabbles in a bit of Ennio Morricone on the track "End" and he is also evidently a fan of the hollow-body guitar sounds used on the "Boardwalk" and "Happy L.A. Ending." He seemingly touches on late 20th century TV music for "Shit-Talker."
For more than half the tracks, Dunn plays all the instruments, although he does invite collaborators here and there. Of note are his long time friends Chris Speed playing warm sounding clarinet in tandem with Rob Burger's Rhodes keyboard on the slightly sentimental "Paris Whore," while Dunn's long time time collaborator Shelley Burgon sits at her harp for five tracks, including the dreamy "Lying In Bed, Talking About Nothing" with Speed's clarinet accenting the harps majesty.
Interspersed between this grab bag of styles is a bit of noise ("Second Nightmare"), some spacey, shredded guitar ("Third Nightmare"), and some freely improvised noise ("First Nightmare").
Those with a bit of Asperger's syndrome can program your players to play all the same film scores together, keeping the nice parts and the noisy stuff separate. That said, the album also works like Thanksgiving dinner. The succotash gets mixed into the potatoes and covered with gravy.
Track Listing: Perfect Crime; Lies; Paris Whore; End; Second Nightmare; The Boardwalk; Lizards & Robots; Opening; Shit-Talker; Lying In Bed, Talking About Nothing; Fire Disco; Fog Burn Neuroses; Third Nightmare; Isabelle; Contemplator; Late Night Science; Drive; Glendale Blvd; End Credits; Accident; Squamata Robota; First Nightmare; Haunted By Video Games; Fog Burn; Happy L.A. Ending; Taking Mom Out.
Personnel: Rob Burger: Rhodes piano; Trevor Dunn: all instruments; Marika Hughes: cello; Tim Keiper: percussion, drums; Chris Speed: clarinet; Kenny Wollesen: drums; Shelley Burgon: harp, voice; Olivier Conan: voice.
Record Label: Tzadik
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde