Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Completely Nostalgic


Alloy Orchestra
Originally uploaded by bsglaser.
Artist: Alloy Orchestra
Album: Silents
Source: Promo

One of the reasons The Beast has swelled to its current size has to do with the fact that I am both somewhat of a completist AND a total sucker for nostalgia. I like putting all the pieces into the puzzle, and I'll be even more enthusiastic if the final product keys up a good memory.

As a result, it turns out I've been fooling myself a little about this disc. The Alloy Orchestra is a three-piece group that writes and performs original scores for old silent films. They use all sort of synthesizers and weird junk-percussion, all in the service of modernistic msuci that doesn't feel out of place with films like 1915's Lost World and the 1922 vampire classic Nosferatu.

On top of that, the keyboard player is Roger Miller, who is also one-third of Mission of Burma, a nearly perfect rock band with a great sound and a lot of patience. So this album not only brought back memories of great Alloy performances (like Lost World at the Philadelphia Film Festival, and Buster Keaton's super-excellent The General in Prospect Park - man oh man do I love silent films with live music), but it helps make my Mission of Burma collection just a tad more complete.

Except that it only barely does the former, and the latter not at all. Of the five short film scores included on Silents, I have seen exactly one (Lost World). So it's mostly memories of having seen the group, not any of these particular pieces.

And lo and behold, when I took this off the shelf...Roger Miller ain't on it, neither. Seems he took over for Caleb Sampson, the keyboardist on this disc. Not a note of Mr. Miller's, and very few notes I've seen along with the film.

SISOSIG? After reviewing the evidence, I'm afraid the jury has sentenced this one to death row. Not that I need the nostalgia and/or completist factors to enjoy the music, but the truth is this music is amazing with the films...and good, but not great, without it.

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