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Brain Weather - The Story of the Rosenbergs

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Album Review

As a radio playwright, Jon Rose's art peaked in 1993. Brain Weather is simply unclassifiable. A pure work of mystification, it intermingles levels of narration and themes through seemingly unrelated but nonetheless alternating scenes. While the narrative jumps around from tales of a plastic surgeon to pathetic court scenes (featuring the delightfully exuberant vocalist Phil Minton), an encounter of the third kind, and libidinous golf stories, the music covers as much erratic ground. Modern composition, cabaret jazz, death metal, electro-acoustics, and cheap impersonations of Bob Dylan assault the listener. Once again the central character is the Rosenberg family, portrayed here as a bunch of lunatics. The brain is explored in all its meanders, psychological phenomena providing a loose guiding thread, the word "brain" itself turning into a comical leitmotif. The piece, 50 minutes total, feels monolithic at first hearing — such is its density and relentlessness. After a few listens it reveals itself as a highly enjoyable work, brilliant in its own surreal way (Shelley Hirsch is another featured singer). The album is completed by the 20-minute "The Weather Man," an improvisation by Rose on a violin linked to a computer system. His "real" playing is left unaltered, but augmented by interacting transformations and synthesized sounds. Brain Weather is simply the craziest of Rose's plays from the early to mid-'90s. Recommended to listeners with a sense of humor. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Jon Rose is a highly versatile violin player despite the fact that that tends to be forgotten. A maverick, subversive character and one of the most colorful artists in new music, Rose is mostly known for his many experimental radio dramas, conceptual stage pieces, deconstructed/reinvented string instruments, and a wicked sense of humor. Most of his works are threaded with cross-thematic elements (in a way that strongly recalls Frank Zappa's own "conceptual continuity") that elaborate a revision of...
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Brain Weather - The Story of the Rosenbergs, Jon Rose
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