David Shea

Mort Aux Vaches

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Sampler virtuoso David Shea presents two versions of works recorded elsewhere, "Hsi-Yu Chi" and "Satyricon." The former is a short part of the suite issued on Tzadik, a sampler solo that effectively mixes ambient sounds, Chinese romantic ballads, and soulful saxophone into a kind of smoky film clip. The lengthy "Satyricon" traverses much wider territory from techno-like rhythms to ghostly guitars to double-reed laments over plucked strings. Shea is extremely adept on his instrument of choice, enough to utterly confuse the listener who's trying to place the source of this or that sample. Early in the piece there's a furiously hammered piano that gradually becomes treated to the point where it sounds as though it's fed through Fred Frith's guitar. Several agglomerated percussion instruments mix with a women's choir and, though presumably recorded at far different times and places, it sounds perfectly appropriate. It doesn't appear that there are any overt references to Nino Rota in the performance (although there is a moment very reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann), but this is less a soundtrack than an "aural-movie" with a very episodic character that cross-cuts between genres with abandon. It's one of Shea's most engaging and approachable releases and may surprise listeners who underestimate the capabilities of the sampler, especially in the hands of someone who has a solid conceptual framework.