Music In Brief 4205

None of the soundtrack excerpts on the two-disc Ennio Morricone collection Crime And Dissonance (Ipecac) are appropriate for a dusty desert duel: They find the famed composer toasting abstraction with a shattered glass. Compiled by Sun City Girls guitarist Alan Bishop and put out by yodel-skronk noisenik Mike Patton, the tracks wander through spacey funk, damaged jazz, and fiery rock—all with the same sense of space and drama that Morricone brought to films like Once Upon A Time In The West. The sequencing is impeccable, tracing suggestive connections between drastically different mood cues. It's enough to bring to life the steamy scenes (from obscure Italian films only a Morricone fanatic will have seen) of hot lesbian sex depicted in the glossy liner booklet... A-

The history books are wrong about late-period T. Rex. First came a reissue wave including the revelatory Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow; now, the Rhino label finishes the project with a handful of terrific albums usually derided as the last gasp of a falling star. Bolan's Zip Gun, from 1975, works as a pared-down and slightly less insane corollary to Zinc Alloy, but the real gem in the new batch is Futuristic Dragon, an ambitious 1976 blowout that sizzles through glam-rock played loose and tight. Any album whose hit spins around the lyrics "Did you ever see a woman coming out of New York City / with a frog in her hand?" is worth hearing time and again... B+

An adventurous trumpeter who laughs down the idea that jazz is over, Dave Douglas courts tradition and progression without puzzling over the difference. His new Keystone (Greenleaf) features compositions written for the silent films of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, a round clown whose buoyant emotions take on dim new hues in Douglas' mysterious atmospheres. The music works well on its own, charting gauzy space between acoustic jazz and electronic ambience, and the two films on an accompanying DVD look considerably different than they do with saloon piano and tin whistles... B

...both of which abound on Good For What Ails You: Music Of The Medicine Shows 1926-1937 (Old Hat), a lovingly crafted two-disc set of songs played by snake-oil salesmen. A 72-page booklet surveys the roaming road shows of old, and the grainy, goofy songs—check "Beans" by Beans Hambone, or Jim Jackson's "I Heard The Voice Of A Porkchop"—revisit a time when entertainment was hard to come by. B+

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