43-tone scale and an arsenal of bespoke instruments to perform his works. This was his first major-label release - the original liner notes are worth reading in full to gain more of an insight into Partch's musical worldview, and can be found here.
Three wonderful, life-affirming examples of Partch's music are featured here. The 17-minute Daphne Of The Dunes, originally the soundtrack to a short film called Windsong (1958), moves through multiple short segments. Some are highly percussive and gamelan-esque, and others focus on the shimmering, resonating multiple strings of his bespoke zithers, or 'kitharas'.
Partch also believed that music, dance and theatre shouldn't be distinct specialties, and the second track here creates a Beat-era dramatic narrative in 9 minutes. This piece, its full title Barstow: Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California, introduces each scene with a little marimba melody before each fascinating slice of life is recited and then sung. Finally, Castor & Pollux is an absorbing 16 minutes of bell-chime melodies and various kithara and marimba workouts, and more of a rhythmic drive overall reflecting its purpose as a theatre/dance piece. Highly recommended.
I'm going home to Boston, Massachusetts - it's 4pm and I'm hungry and broke, I wish I was dead, but today I am a man.
alt. link (zippy)