David Moss

Time Stories

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There is only one David Moss. Some would say, "Thank gawd." And yet, he can be endearing in his obsessive attention to nuances of the human voice -- and, these days especially, performance and self-promotion -- that would slip by those not paying careful attention. This series of duets was recorded in a weeklong period and features Moss' electronics, percussion instruments, and, of course, his voice. All of the works here are in series, with two or three pieces making up mini-suites with alleged themes to link them, such as Cliffhangers, which has three different duet pieces contained within it, or Chronicles, which has four. There are all manner of European improvisers helping out, from singer Catherine Jauniaux to Heiner Goebbels to Phil Minton to Frank Schulte to Christian Marclay, as well as others. The duets that involve other instruments with Moss as a vocalist alone seem to work best -- the pieces with Jauniaux excepted. "Der Junge Mann," with Frank Schulte on turntables and samplers, seems a perfect match for Moss' vocals and percussive ambitions. Along this line, the work that closes the album, "Novel Manners" with Marclay, works well too, as does "Specific Tongue" with Japanese vocalist and percussionist Koichi Makigami. Of the works with Jauniaux, they are the most beautiful and "non-ironic" things on the record, which is rare (beauty, that is). Despite his gifts, Moss' insistence on irony and fooling about on almost every track is a shade more than irritating -- "Hourglass Distance," "Light Fragment," and "Kalimba Loop" are downright moving, and make the listener wish Time Stories was Jauniaux' album instead of his.

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