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Album Review

If there's an overriding characteristic of Gerald Busby's compositions on this disc, it's eclecticism, as he has a goal of writing for every instrument, and every combination of instruments. That's impossible to do within one CD, of course, even one that lasts 68 minutes and contains five lengthy works written between 1978 and 1982, each of which is in turn comprised of several sections. But each piece does have a different flavor, "Old World" using a pipe organ; "Stars" presenting songs for flute, piano, and soprano vocals; "Court Dances" being a suite for flute, cello, and harpsichord; "Camera" played by flute, double bass, and harpsichord; and "Parallel" being a suite for two harpsichords. (Busby himself plays on just one of the tracks, handling the piano on "Stars.") A sense of eerie, whimsical melancholy pervades the music, as befits someone who scored Robert Altman's 3 Women movie, where whimsical melancholy was the order of the day. It's not as long on memorable melody as it is on effective atmosphere, evoking sparsely populated, slightly tense situations, where uncertainty (though not necessarily disaster) lurks around the next corner or in the near future. As an instrumentalist on three of the compositions ("Stars," "Court Dances," and "Camera"), Michael Parloff is the most prominent contributor to these recordings with his skittering, anxious flute.

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