Phil Minton

Past

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When you get willful eccentrics like singer/sound experimentalist Phil Minton and pianist/singer Veryan Weston together, there's a pretty decent chance that the results will be less than listenable. But there's also a good chance that they'll be quirkily delightful, and this album ends up offering a good helping of each. There's charming whimsy of the Henry Cow-meets-Bertolt Brecht variety on the tongue-in-cheek "Romantic Artist," and there's goofy experimentalism on "Gemini I"; there's a dreadfully ill-advised attempt at Schumann's In Wunderschönen Monat Mai, which serves only to emphasize Minton's vocal limitations (as Schumann tends to do for all singers), and there's a slightly more enjoyable rendition of Hank Williams' classic "I Guess I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive." There's also a completely ridiculous and ultimately tedious deconstruction of a Monteverdi Magnificat setting. But even at their worst, Minton and Weston communicate a warmth and humor that is always fun, or at least interesting, to hear -- the mistakes seem to be made in good faith. That's something, anyway.

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