New online: my review of General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners, which is much better than I expected it to be. (I like Faith No More's Angel Dust; pretty much everything else Mike Patton's ever done, until this album, I've found worthless and frequently masturbatory.)
Saw Cecil Taylor at Iridium last night. It was a trio date, which was good; his big orchestral things always fall flat for me. I don't know who his current bassist and drummer are. The last time I saw him, he was using Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen, but this wasn't them. I kind of missed Duval bowing frantically, sweating through his black T-shirt as his ponytail bounced around. This guy was a little too hippieish for me; he liked to play this thing that looked like a bowl with a bunch of slim metal rods around its rim - he'd bow the rods to get a weird violin-like sound, or tap the bowl for some other semi-wavery ringing tone. When he actually played the bass, he was much better. The drummer was too busy. Sometimes he had something to contribute, but for most of the set, I tuned him out and focused on Cecil.
Taylor was in top form. The first, 35-minute piece began with a brief poem (and some of that weird thing the bassist liked), but quickly became a typical Taylor tidal wave of sound. Watching his hands fly across the keyboard, in total control at blinding speed, is really one of the most intense live-art experiences you can have.
The second piece was just as good, if slightly mellower. There was more space between notes, and little melodies repeated throughout, with slight but significant variation. One of the friends who came with me was reminded of Debussy.
It was a good show, and it was good to get out of the house. I went to Kim's, too, and picked up some CDs:
Earth, Living In The Gleam Of An Unsheathed Sword
Bo Diddley, The Best Of Bo Diddley: The Millennium Collection
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, We Run The South
Cold Bleak Heart, It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War
And I got the new issues of Harper's and The Atlantic. Harper's promised a piece by Colson Whitehead on going to the movies, and they delivered, but I was disappointed. It's more of a prose poem about the experience of moviegoing than, say, a critique of contemporary cinema, which is what I actually wanted. (I still remember his writing for Spin.) The rest of the issue looks to be the usual warmed-over half-baked lefty crap, that chases away half its potential audience by its sheer obtuseness. And The Atlantic is its usual (current) crypto-right-wing self, including an article about how a Harvard education ain't all that. What the fuck ever.