Andy Ditzler “Songs from Yes and No” (Frequent Small Meals, 2007)
by David Cowling
October 10, 2007

Chomsky, Coltrane, Jive Bunny and Performance Art

These songs originally appeared in a multi-media theatre work, but don’t let that put you off; this is as broad ranging and as interesting as the strap-line suggests. The contemporary Kafkaesque customer services experience of the opening ‘Another Customer’ blends electronics, Prince style guitar and brass and resolves itself as exactly the kind of musak that would be played whilst you are on interminable hold. ‘Economics’ with the refrain of ‘Competition makes everything the same’ wryly dissects globalisation whilst some swinging jazz trumpet and tenor sax keeps everything light and tight.

His meta-song ‘Just the Six of Us’ is mostly constructed from direct quotations from other songs, phrases that surround us everyday that we don’t really listen to- spliced together in this setting they become decontextualised from the cultural fabric full of importance and empty of any real meaning. ‘Rock Against Fundamentalism I’ uses a short parable about Buddhism and some beautiful strings to make its point in an economical 45 seconds. ‘Manifesto’ with its Coltrane (blowing free) like sax and turntableism reminds me of the work of Uri Caine, irony that on such a political record. ‘Manifesto’ is an instrumental, the jazz doing the talking eloquently enough.

Sometimes the stage origins show through - the closing ‘Rock Against Fundamentalism II’ manages to analyse the growing concentration of the media into fewer hands, pass on some Buddhist teachings, sound like Kraftwerk and reprise the preceding songs, a true show finale. Intelligent, thought provoking and a good listen.

Reviewers Rating: 7 out of 10

back to Frequent Small Meals