Album Review

Keith, Rodd – “Ecstacy to Frenzy ” – [Tzadik]

Max Level   1/7/2006   A Library, CD

Two lengthy keyboard/vocal improvisations and three short pop-type numbers. 75 minutes of strange, crazy music. Rodney Keith Eskelin, who died in 1974, was a talented but eccentric musician/arranger. In the 1960-70s, he worked for various record companies, setting lyrics by amateur songwriters to music for possible pop hits. Amusing jazz/rock/pop mini-masterpieces ensued; Tracks 2, 3, and 4 here are typical examples. In addition to the day job, he made his own odd music in the studio at night: Track 1 is 33+ minutes of weird organ/piano patterns and nonsense vocals (counting, burping noises, yelps, etc) with the right channel backwards on the tape for some reason. Nobody knows whether the left and right channels were intended as two separate pieces, or as one piece containing both a forward and backward track. To confound us further, Track 5 is that same long piece reversed, each channel now playing in the opposite direction for a different listening perspective.

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