Ok, here’s the dealie:
There are some frighteningly creative musicians residing in this here Bay Area. Some of them I’m proud to call my friends. One of said creative musician friends commits a certain level of casual bad-assery whilst armed with keyboardy items or saws… you could probably make him close his eyes, stick a carburetor in his hands, and out would come something beautiful.
Without further ballyhoo, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Dan Cantrell. I’m going to do something that I don’t normally do in these blog pages, I’m going to get to the point:
Here is the point: Dan is about to unleash upon an unsuspecting world a masterpiece of a record, humbly entitled “Orphaned Anthems”. The birth of this little bundle of musicality will be celebrated with a concert – a concert where Dan will surround himself with other ridiculously talented musicians and, most likely, flabbergast all of those in attendance.
Dan quietly calls this his “piano album”. But, my friends, don’t be fooled by the unassuming descriptor. This is Bulgarian dance music meets Mr. Bungle meets Carl Stallings meets Erik Satie meets a boggled mind (yours, that is, when you hear how it all holds together). As the first piece (Pinstripe) began to drip mellifluously from my speakers I found myself with a cartoonish grin, shaking my head in disbelief that this music did not just careen off the rails. Chased by Cartoon Flowers made me laugh out loud with utter delight, whilst widening my beady little eyes in amazement at the right-angled musical turns. Sorta like your first trip to Vegas when there’s a surprise around every corner.
By track four (The Man Born on Wednesday), we have traveled to Bali via some strange alternate universe back alley – jazzy pianer riffs with shadows of Ketjak, outlined by Hawaiian steel guitar. Dan confessed to me that he feared listeners might get tired out and not be able to listen to the thing in its entirety. To that I say, “Balderdash, my good man!” (I didn’t really say that, but I thought it sounded pretty good, and how often do we get to say “Balderdash, my good man!” anyway?)
Let me tell you the things that tire me out:
> Watching Dave Matthews dance… but only because I’m laughing so hard. (Pop in at about 1:11)
> Listening to vapid pop ala Spears, Bieber, etc. (Bieber, by the by, is the very first name to pop up when you type J-u-s-t- into your Google search bar…. go ahead try it. Justice is third. What does that tell us about our culture’s values?)
> Having diarrhea.
> Not being able to breathe.
I think, pretty much in that order.
Listening to Dan’s new album thrills me to no end. It is absolute proof of Alfred North Whitehead’s notion of the creative advance into novelty:
There is a fundamental cosmic urge toward novelty that is intertwined with the very process of evolution. This urge calls all of the events of the world forward into ever more profound beauty, variety, and complexity. (or something like that…)
Orphaned Anthems is that (^) expressed in music. It reminds me of all of the reasons there are to love people.
I’m going to give you all of the information so that you may attend Dan Cantrell’s CD Release concert and sit and be thrilled with me. Here it is:
This Friday, April 12th, in the year of our Lord 2013.
The Hillside Club
2286 Cedar St. near Arch St.
Come to the show, dammit.
Dan will be accompanied by a whole tribe of fellow bad-asses:
Jason Ditzian-clarinet/bass clarinet
Rebecca Kleinman-flute/alto flute
Madeline (Maddy) Tasquin-voice
Diana Strong-accordion/celeste/wurlitzer/toy piano
Is that still not enough to force you to leave the comfort of your home? Well… there will be dancers too! Moving to the choreography of the lovely Elizabeth Strong will be:
Elizabeth Strong (herself)
Now will you come? Put Dan on your musical radar. BE THRILLED.