Plonsey, Dan / Portcullis
Album: Portcullis   Collection:General
Artist:Plonsey, Dan   Added:Aug 2004
Label:Unlimited Sedition  

A-File Activity
Add Date: 2004-10-04 Pull Date: 2004-12-06
Week Ending: Dec 5 Nov 21 Nov 7 Oct 31 Oct 24 Oct 17 Oct 10
Airplays: 1 1 2 1 2 3 4

Recent Airplay
1. Jan 13, 2010: Customary Surprise
4. Dec 01, 2004: The Dog and Pony Show
2. May 04, 2007: Memory Select
Intro, and parts A-D [during and after the Concert Calendar]
5. Nov 14, 2004: Oh Messy Life
M, L2, L, K, J
3. Jun 02, 2006: Memory Select
Intr / A / B
6. Nov 05, 2004: Still No Cover, No Minimum
(Intro and sections A through D)

Album Review
Reviewed 2004-09-28
Dan Plonsey’s “Music for 18 Musicians”. A sprawling hour-long continuous composition that is based on various subsets of the 18 musicians carrying a charmingly lumbering and slightly shambolic melody in unison as other grouplets make minor adjustments to same. Big chords are hardly ever in sight. Everything is built up note by note in time and the effect is sort of a neat trick whereby you can easily follow the main theme at every moment but there’s always this distracting but interesting counterpoint (which is not a harmony). OK, IANAC (I am not a composer) so there’s probably a pithy term for what I described but Plonsey himself wants you to hear this without preconceptions, thus dubbing it “Music of El Cerrito”. OK. Good stuff.

1. Overture of sorts; strings particularly prominent
2. Establishing the theme; sort of long and a bit samey
Play the next two together:
3. Sudden burst of horns and the theme shifts to a more lively section
4. Continuation and elaboration of track 3
5. Lightness in the melody and arrangement continue
6. Descending scales over a warbly, whirling keyboard figure; circuslike
7. Playfully pompous
8. Vaguely disintegrating in multiple directions
9. Pulled back from the mild chaos of track 8 into short, well-resolved 10-note snippets that somehow remind me very much of a lovely Residents or Gravity-era Fred Frith or Snakefinger tune
10. A bit of a Chinese touch to the melody and instrumentation in this section; quite pretty
11. Rapid, stabbing notes refuse to be packed up as chords
12. Rambling
13. Palpable relief at the use of actual chords, though even these tend to mutate into atonal clusters; nice
14. Yikes, someone’s singing now, carrying on the theme of track 13 and when that’s over, we descend into a screechy improv where just the slightest thread of the melody carries through
15. Unexpectedly similar to a 70s blaxploitation soundtrack; I guess a chukka-chukka rhythm guitar will do that; works nicely
16. Climbing, again in that weirdly amelodic melodic way (that the Residents, Snakefinger, and Fred Frith used so effectively)
17. Solemn piece of closing up shop; mildly wailing, whimpering guitars don’t want to go but go they must; lovely

Track Listing
1. Intr   9. H
2. A   10. I
3. B   11. J
4. C   12. K
5. D   13. L
6. E   14. L2
7. F   15. M
8. G   16. N
  17. O