Anti-Social Music

Anti-Social Music... Sings The Great American Songbook

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The title is a joke, of course. "Anti-Social Music is a composer-performer collective created for the purpose of presenting new music by emerging, primarily New York-based musicians," as its press release says, so you will not find any songs usually thought of as part of the Great American Songbook on its debut album. In fact, you won't find any songs, in the conventional sense or even in the "art song" sense. By "new music," the collective means contemporary classical music, and that means fragmentary melodies, abrupt changes of tempo, atonality, and odd, unexpected juxtapositions of instruments and vocals. There isn't anything here that John Cage or Steve Reich (not to mention Frank Zappa) didn't think of first. Amid the cacophony and chaos, there are certainly moments of musical accomplishment and meaning. But no sequence lasts long before being interrupted suddenly and for no apparent reason. This is deliberate, naturally, and, as the press release suggests, it is likely to make Sings the Great American Songbook an album to put on when you want to end a party and get your guests to go home; they're not called Anti-Social Music for nothing. It's always good to have at least one such album in your collection.

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