"Blue" Gene Tyranny - Out Of The Blue
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"Blue" Gene Tyranny
Out Of The Blue

One of two amazing re-releases (the other being Lubomyr Melnyk's stunning KMH) on the small Unseen Worlds label, Out Of The Blue is one of the most strange abstract pop releases that I've heard in some time. "Blue" Gene Tyranny (born Robert Sheff) not only released several solo albums, but also appeared (as a pianist) on records by John Cage, and Laurie Anderson (among others) and was even nominated for a Grammy as a composer at one point. On this four song release, he wields control of what's essentially a progressive rock chamber orchestra, with horns and guitars bumping up against loads of Polymoog and RMI synthesizers and female vocals.

Needless to say, you probably haven't heard anything quite like this before. Sure, there are threads of several different genres and styles seeping through the release, and he dips into everything from Terry Riley-esque minimalism to straight-up disco funk pop. Despite the more AM Gold stylings in places, nothing is ever simple on Out Of The Blue as songs stretch out in length and take delightful instrumental detours. "Next Time Might Be Your Time" opens the release, and is the perfect example of the aforementioned, an insanely poppy track that blends warm female vocals, loads of sparkling synths, and horns into an insanely poppy track. Instead of running a standard length, though, it clocks in at over eight minutes, keeping things moving with time signature changes and extended guitar/synth passages that are hyper melodic.

"For David K." changes things up completely, and it's both rocking and downright goofy in places, veering through almost six minutes of instrumental goodness. At times, it recalls Walter Carlos gone disco, while at others guitars and horns rock out with a funk fusion that's still hard to pinpoint. "Leading A Double Life" takes things down a notch, again sprawling out for over eight minutes with a hymn-like track of soft synths, piano, and a female choir. Musically, it's probably the least-exciting track on the release, but it's also quite subtle and pretty.

The last twenty-six minutes of the release (over half the running length) are taken up with "A Letter From Home," a meandering, quiet piece constructed from synths, acoustic guitar, spoken word, and more female vocal choirs. It's truly one of the more out-there pieces I've heard in some time, playing out like a theatre piece, with sections of dialogue offset by gorgeous instrumental passages and an omniscient choir. As with the Melnyk reissue, Out Of The Blue is gorgeous, with a large, 24 page liner note booklet with lots of information and a nice remaster on the audio itself. Odd and adventurous, but highly melodic, this is definitely one to seek out of you're a lover of experimental chamber pop.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2007-08-16 21:10:05