A good deal of John Wolf Brennan’s spirit (see separate review of a solo work on Leo) is invested in Pago Libre, but here he is joined by three more Irishmen, or at least they would be if they didn’t come from Russia, Austria and Italy. There’s the same interest in dance, folk music (a particular interest of horn player Arkady Shilkloper), film, fantasy and folklore as heard in Brennan’s Nevergreens.
A bout de souffle, inspired by Godard, is in the seemingly impossible time of 33/8 but as with other tracks in metres that defy ordinary execution, the spirit is playful rather than furrowed. Brennan’s Kissing Joy (As It Flies), inspired by an Irish saying/blessing, is inspired by Oliver Nelson’s Blues And The Abstract Truth. Other tracks are inspired by Satie, Brahms, novelist Karl May, and in one of the bonus tracks included to pad out this anniversary reissue, Stravinsky’s Firebird and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
If this all sounds like laddish daftness, there is a welcome touch of that, but Pago Libre’s soundworld is absolutely unique, endlessly fascinating and strangely healing and consoling. If you’re unfamiliar with it, these tracks are an ideal place to begin.
Enticing; A Bout De Souffle; Synopsis; Kissing Joy (As It Flies); Alperiduo; Tikkettitakkitakk; Nostalghia; Entr’acte: Le Tango De E. S.; Folk Song; Suonatina; Little Big Horn; Dance Of Kara Ben Nemsi; Aimez-vous Brahms?; [bonus tracks] Tuptai-Kulai; RMX; Rasende Gnome (73.14)
Arkady Shilkloper (hn, flh, alphorn, alperidoo, v); Tscho Theissing (vn, v); John Wolf Brennan (p, arcopiano, mel, v); Daniele Patumi (b, v); Georg Breinschmid (b on bonus tracks). Various places and dates.
Leo CD LR 863