The genesis of this album is the score for the film Watch. It objects to the process whereby machines slowly but surely are stifling creative juices to the point of recreating reality in their image. The creator of this album, the music and words, is Bradley Parker-Sparrow. He is co-founder of Southport, the label on which this project is captured. The other co-founder, vocalist Joanie Pallatto, plays the object of Parker-Sparrow's denouncement, viz., the machine. Listening to this album recalls the experimental theater productions of Orson Welles and others during the late '30s and '40s as well as the beat poetry of the '60s -- the vehicle of protest for the beat generation -- so passionate and so self-assured in its righteousness as expressed on "Little John." While Pallatto's voice may represent the machines, it is Parker-Sparrow who plays them: synthesizer, keyboard sampler, and other contrivances that many musicians use to produce ersatz music. In contrast, there are occasional rebellious appearances by acoustic instruments; Tatsu Aoki's bass, Billy Brimfield' trumpet, Pallatto's wooden flute, and Larry Gray on cello come in from time to time, resisting displacement by the dreaded machines. But the most effective and telling instrument is Pallatto's voice, often in wordless vocalizing format. She is the vehicle of evolution from acoustic to electric, starting with the first cut, "Watch," with each successive track representing the persistent takeover by machines, despite sporadic counterattacks. Not only is the machine assailed, but so is another product of poor taste: Eminem. There are two tracks that describe, with explicit lyrics, the distaste for this white rapper and what he represents. There are many other surprises waiting on this CD. This is heady stuff bulging with long overdue chastisements.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan