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Recital Records (Ian William Craig, Radiant Husk) release a compilation of music by avant-garde composer Charlie Morrow. The recordings of Toot! Too cover a long period of time - the earliest dating from 1970, the latest from 2014 - but rather than come across as scatterbrained, the big jumps emphasise Morrow’s adherence to guiding aesthetic principles. The release largely focuses on his ‘Wave Music’, compositions based on ‘swarms’ or similar instruments - sixty clarinets playing at a time, that sort of thing. Their results stumble towards the revelatory cadences of Terry Riley.

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  • LP £20.99
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  • R41 LP
  • R41 LP / LP on Recital. Limited edition of 500 copies, including a 20-page colour insert with program notes, artwork and scores
  • Includes download code

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Toot! Too by Charlie Morrow
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8/10 Robin Staff review, 29 March 2018

No other label of the weird and wacky releases its music with quite the gusto Recital do. Administering each new LP and retrospective with leagues of information and a brand silliness that feels somewhere between hyper-aware and totally oblivious, Sean McCann’s label now operates in a world of its own. This new edition of works by composer Charlie Morrow comes with a gorgeous booklet chock full of information on him, plus photos of his dinner with McCann and a lovely snap of him pouring out a glass of Jagermeister. When do composers get to have this much fun?

The music is radiant in its dissonance; from the early '70s to as recent as four years ago, Morrow made noisy workouts for bagpipe, chorus, percussion and a whole sea of horns. These pieces would often be performed in fantastical situations -- at dusk in the centre of Central Park, for instance. This sense of bravado and possibility lends his pieces a fantastic energy, a kind of cacophonous joy evident in works by Ornette Coleman and Tony Conrad. Even amidst the record’s darkest and most sonorous tones his works sound emphatic and in service of a greater bluster.

Described by Sean McCann himself as “a gorgeous toe” of Morrow’s overall output, this assemblage of pieces serves to show how Morrow could effectively dramatise through structure and tone, offering marching beats that mysteriously paused, bagpipes that screeched from beneath drones and a bunch of other surprises. To be enjoyed.


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