Of Lighters and Loathing

This weekend my friend Todd Reynolds was up here in Burlington performing with Phil Kline and his ensemble.  Todd is a violinist extrordinaire and fully embraces techology in his composition and performance.  His credits include the string quartet Ethel, Steve Reich’s ensemble and Bang on a Can.  Check out ToddReynolds.com.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The ensemble was performing 2 of Phil’s pieces, Zippo Songs (more on that in a minute) and Fear and Loathing (a song cycle based on the writings of Hunter S. Thompson).  I couldn’t get to the performance because of work commitments but Phil was speaking earlier in the day in Burlington at the Flynnspace so I decided to schlepp up and check it out.  Phil was very interesting and engaging to listen to and speak with.  I was glad I got to meet him.  And it’s always wonderful to see Todd who is an inspiration both musically and because he’s out there doing it and doing it well.  Plus he’s just an all around nice guy who speaks the music gear dialect of nerdspeak fluently.

 Zippo Songs is a song cycle based on the inscriptions on the zippo lighters of soldiers in the Vietnam War.  Apparently it was a tradition during that war (and apparently only that war) to have verses inscribed on your Zippo.  An example is “If I had a farm in Vietnam and a home in hell, I’d sell my farm and go home.”  A really amazing work.  This leads me to another point – I’m adding the feature of a weekly “Current Listening” section here on the blog and Zippo Songs is the inagural piece of music. 

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