Current Listening #1: Phil Kline’s “Zippo Songs”

So the inaugural piece of music for this section is Phil Kline’s Zippo Songs, a song cycle based on verses inscribed on the Zippo lighters of soldiers in the Vietnam war.  The recording is performed by Theo Bleckmann, baritone voice; Todd Reynolds, violin; Ha-Yang Kim , cello; Andrew Russo, piano; John Hadfield , percussion; Phil Kline, guitar.

There is so much here to digest I can’t yet adequately describe this.  Though the compositions make ample use of technology (including realtime looping) it never obscures the organic elements of the voice/instruments.  And one of the final pieces “The Funeral Of Jan Palach” is one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard.  For a taster check out

The piece also includes 3 “Rumsfeld Songs” that are settings of some of the former Secretary of Defense’s unintentionally hilarious Pentagon briefing quotes.  Example:

“As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.”

 Be sure to check out

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