Dwight Frizzell: Bulldog Devildog President
The other half of Bulldog Devildog President makes significant strides beyond simple irony and parody. Frizzell harnesses a truly amazing array of musicians (and a frighteningly vast collection of instruments and found sounds; see personnel listing below) to create landscapes of sound, not far in their aesthetics from the Ozarks themselves. "Appalling Heart" combines sparse, legato soprano lyrics with groaning and wheezing noises, proceeding at a measured pace until it finally exhausts its dark, solemn mood.
The two improvised "Anamnesis" pieces dwell in a textured zone of reeds, bells, and unidentified home-made instruments, offering a similarly dark and lonely feel. The very quiet "Scrat" includes flowing water, bird-like noises, and Frizzell's gustatory contributions chewing an apple and swallowing water. These group improvisations convey a sense of mystery, isolation, and shadow. The stomping jazz denouement at the conclusion of the last track is both a statement of vicious irony and a victorious return to conventional forms... more emphasis on the former concept, to be sure.
Bullfrog Devildog President offers historical appeal for those interested in Truman's (rightly) underdocumented piano playing. It also experiments boldly at the intersection between natural sounds, found sounds, samples, and instruments in live performance. Often incredibly abstruse, this disc is quite a challenge to penetrate. To these ears, it seems like more of an experiment in progress than a clear vision brought to fruition.
Track Listing: Black Hawk Waltz 1; The Irish Wilderness; Black Hawk Waltz 2; Appalling Heart; Black Hawk Waltz 3; Anamnesis 1; Black Hawk Waltz 4; Anamnesis 2; Black Hawk Waltz 5; Scrat; Devildog.
Personnel: Dwight Frizzell: whistles, digital processors and 6-channel sound, body-dubbed heartbeat and galvanic skin response, reeds, varmint calls, zwoom, contra-alto clarinet, masticating and swallowing sounds, baritone and alto saxophones; P. Alonzo Conway: bassoon, percussion, radio; Thomas Aber: bagpipes, bass and contra-alto clarinets; Patricia Johnson: soprano; Tony Allard: body vocalizations; Jim Cottingham: Chapman stick, electric guitar; Clive Graham: original electro-acoustic instruments; Knut Aufermann: sampler; Adam Bowman: multifarious amplified objects; Jonathan Bowman: amplified/acoustic objects and prepared tapes; Cliff Caruthers: flutes, bottlecaps; Stephen Elisa: cello; Lyra Pherigo: flute, dog whistle; Jan Faidley: alto saxophone; Ingrid Stolzel: audio oscillators; Dr. Marc Deckard: Tesla coil; Mark Lowry: percussion; Pat Ireland: electric violins; Eric George: electric basses; Arnold Young: drums.
Record Label: Sparkling Beatnik Records
Style: Modern Jazz