Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

259

Pete M. Wyer: Stories from the City at Night

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Pete M. Wyer's Stories from the City at Night bears uncanny reference to Kenneth Patchen and John Cage's 1942 radio play, The City Wears A Slouch Hat. Patchen, the "father of the beat poets," collaborated with composer Cage (there were no such titles as sound designer or DJ in those days) on an extraordinary soundtrack. Cage created sound effects to accompany the great poet's words, using tin cans, gongs, woodblocks, alarm bells, a Chinese tom-tom, bongos, cowbells, maracas, claves, ratchett, pod rattle, foghorn, and a thunder sheet. Certainly decades ahead of its time, it now has a dated feel to it. It is a relic of the past, sacred though it may be.

Likewise, Wyer's Stories from the City at Night has that dated feel, like something from a radio broadcast made before the ubiquitous spread of television. It's an album that demands full attention, without the intrusions of life. Played with the lights out and without any distractions, the city, New York, comes alive.

Wyer is a UK-born guitarist who has composed for orchestra, opera, TV, film and dance. This session incorporates a wide spectrum of players, voices and sounds. The thrust here is the diversity of lives and experiences that is the modern city. From the airplane flying over the rainy soundscape of the opening track, to the rain-spattered pleading of the thunderous "Pray For Me," the sounds bolster spoken (and sometimes sung) word texts in a way uncommon to modern music.

This is a radio play, a collection of short stories for the ear. It's about the nighttime dreams of men, or the clanging tale of Dina, the proprietor of the all-night diner. The character explains how her jazz dreams got sidetracked by love, and the misconception that the man she hit with her bicycle knew who Charlie Parker was.

Wyer is the orchestrator of these stories, collecting field recordings of the city with musicians including Matthew Shipp, Rob Heasman, Chris Cundy and Alan Tomlinson to flavor the voices of Wally Burr, Carol Lipnik, Jenny Agutter, Joe Warren, Peter Gordon and John Schaefer.

Wyer travels from the hell that is east of the Lower East side, filled with fork-tailed devils and an archangel perched upon the Woolworth building. Darkness penetrates this recording, evoking the ghosts of Raymond Chandler, Humphrey Bogart and Edward Hopper. The music, sounds, voices and stories belong to Wyer, but the visuals come from the active participation of the listener.

Track Listing: Pier 45; Somebody; East of Manhattan; Dina

Personnel: Pete M. Wyer: guitar, piano, cutlery, arrangements, field recordings, sound design; Wally Burr: voice; Simon Taylor: saxophones; Matthew Sharp: cello, voice; Matthew Shipp: piano; Carol Lipnik: voice; Rob Heasman: trumpet; Chris Cundy: saxophone, clarinet; Alan Tomlinson: trombone; Joe Warren: voice; John Schaefer: radio voice; Peter Gordon: voice; Evelyn Beech: whistler, vocal; Jenny Agutter: voice.

Title: Stories from the City at Night | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Moon Trio: Earth-Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moon Trio: Earth-Time
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "The Failure of Words" CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "14.11.2016" CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor