Bruce Haack

Dance to the Music

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The 1972 album Dance to the Music is one of the best expressions of Dimension 5's aesthetic, mixing Bruce Haack and Esther Nelson's inspired outlook and folk, pop, and classical elements and filtering them through homespun electronics. Activity songs like "When the Music's Over" and "Squarefinger" update musical chairs and square dancing with the Dimension 5 approach, which means doing a square dance with your fingers and receiving instructions like "when the music's over, be the sound you hear." Hints of bluegrass and country can be heard in Dance to the Music, particularly on "EIO (New MacDonalds Have a Form)," an update of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" that celebrates the body and its parts, explaining "Your form results mostly from the way your genetic program programs you," and "Liza Jane," which features electronic banjos and a shuffling tempo. The album also features some of Dimension 5's most psychedelic moments, including "Surprise," a sound collage piece that ranges from music hall pop to "America the Beautiful" and "Soul Transportation," which is one of the simplest, yet most creative explanations of meditation ever recorded. Haack and Nelson intone directions like, "You just sort of relax and let your head go where it wants to" and "Now make sure there is nothing like furniture near you so you don't really trip." The duo guides the listener through a group meditation experience, noting, "At this point some children feel that they are all one child, made of many children," and the hovering space-synth background music shifts to very trippy, Indian-based electronic music. The subtle layers of humor, education, musical skill and electronic whimsy present in all of Dimension 5's albums are especially evident on Dance to the Music, making it one of Haack's finest works.

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