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CURRAN, ALVIN: Endangered Species (Dbl CD)
Put on your shelf next to Derek Bailey’s Ballads and Ground Zero plays Standards; Alvin takes the golden songbook on a tour through the badlands [a type of dry terrain characterized by ‘steep slopes, minimal vegetation, lack of a substantial regolith [do I have to explain everything godammit?] and high drainage density’. Using the Yamaha™ Disklavier to control both piano and a ridiculous gallimaufry of disruptive, quotidian and exotic sounds, Alvin plays, interprets, mangles and dreamily noodles his way through Gershwin, Weill, Rogers & Hart, Eubie Blake, Ellington, Johnny Green, Harold Arden, Hoagy Carmichael, Fats Waller, and the like, in a seriously complicated and organic manner. Some records defy reduction and this is one of them - one of a few. Like Yaweh – or was it Popeye (or Walt Whitman) – it is what it is; and it contradicts itself; it contains multitudes. Some will say it’s just a raft of deconstructed piano standards battling it out with a cacophony of deranged noises-off. But you get to choose. Management recommends you don’t try to listen to it, just get on with your life and let it wash over you, drawing you in when it does. (It does - every time different). I count this an important record, because it tries to do an important thing; but not everyone will agree.