Kate Koenig, Arts Editor
It’s always fun to discover good music through a trusted recommendation, and who better to ask than people who have devoted their lives to the study of it? We thought that might be a worthwhile idea, so we asked professors from SUNY Oneonta’s music department to pick a favorite album to recommend, and this was the result:
Kim Paterson – Piano
A favorite recording of mine is “Psalm 69” by Ministry. I consider it the pinnacle, or maybe the nadir, of a 90s trend I call “reduction”—the gradual elimination of more and more musical structure, until it’s finally possible to have an entire song based on only one note. Also the CD captures, for me, the true spirit of American imperial Christianity.
Dr. Art Falbush – Jazz
Louis Armstrong – “Satch Plays Fats”
Some things are timely, they appeal to us at a specific period and then fade away. Others are timeless, they appeal to humanity across centuries. The beauty of Louis Armstrong will still be relevant four hundred years from now, much the way Shakespeare is still relevant today. Like Thoreau said, “How much more important to know what that is which was never old!”
Mark Pawkett – Guitar
Ween – “Quebec”
A quirky mix of straight ahead pop tunes, electronica, dirty punk and Spinal Tap! If you are unfamiliar with this band, this would be the album to start with! Tracks to pay attention to: “Transdermal Celebration,” “Hey There Fancy Pants,” “Chocolate Town,” and “If You Could Save Yourself.”
Ben Aldridge – Trumpet, Chamber Music
Either “Tales from Topographic Oceans” or “Relayer”—both from the 70s and both by Yes. Both are incredibly virtuosic, imaginative examples of large-form progressive rock music at its absolute best.
Blake Fleming – Drum Set
The Pretty Things – “S. F. Sorrow”
Released around the same time as The Beatles’ “White Album” and Floyd’s debut “Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” “S. F, Sorrow” got lost in the shuffle as EMI unfortunately did very little to promote this psychedelic masterpiece, despite it being the first rock opera which The Who falsely laid claim to with “Tommy.” “Tommy” didn’t occur until over a year later.
As far as the great concept albums of the 60s, I think “S. F. Sorrow” is superior to The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s,” with the exception of “A Day in the Life.” But as an album, I find it more compelling.
“S. F. Sorrow” has a timeless quality, blending psychedelia, eastern influence, folk, collage, music concrete (sound was hitting a whole new frontier, especially at Abbey Road where this was done) and even predating heavy metal in parts.
Highly recommended. Find the mono reissue if possible. Like many of the earlier Beatles records, the main mix was to mono. Stereo was usually a quick afterthought where most of the time the band wasn’t even present at the stereo mixing session.
Dr. Orlando Legname – Audio Production
My all-time favorite album is Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” It is a 1973 album that is really innovative and creative. It became the most important album in rock history. They incorporated “Musique Concrete” sounds and absolutely fantastic songwriting. David Gilmour’s solos defined my life as a musician and the performance of singer Clare Torry in “The Great Gig in the Sky” evokes my deepest emotions. It is absolute genius.
Andris Balins – Audio Production
Eliane Radigue – “Trilogie de la Mort”
A French woman that composed music on the ARP 2500 synthesizer exclusively for over 20 years. “Trilogie de la Mort” is a three hour album that creates a musical world much different than most other listening experiences.
Dr. Robert Barstow – Choral Music, Music History
One very recent favorite recording: Beethoven Symphony No. 7 by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of their recently hired conductor Jaap Van Zweden. It was recorded live as part of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 2007 concert series of all the Beethoven Symphonies. It grabbed my attention because the third and fourth (especially the third) movements are taken at a tempo much faster than the norm. The Dallas Symphony rises to the occasion and plays cleanly, with great ensemble and exceptional emotional fervor. Fasten your seatbelt because it maketh the heart palpitate in a most exciting manner!
Rich Mollin – Bass
Rypdal, Vitous, Dejohnette
It’s in between silence and words.
[Editor’s Note: The album has no title; it’s simply known by the artists’ names.]
Colby Thomas – Voice
Sting – “Ten Summoner’s Tales”
Tony Scafide – Music Industry
John Scofield – A Go Go
From guitar9.com: Scofield teams with Generation X funksters Medeski, Martin and Wood for an album of greasy grooves and hip downtown sonorities. All ten tracks are Scofield originals but it was surely a group effort to develop such a deep pocket of funk. From the hip-hop of the opening title cut we get a sense that this is not your average jazz quartet.
Dr. Joseph Pignato – Music Industry
Albert Ayler, “Spiritual Unity” or David Bowie, “Berlin Trilogy.”