Beth Anderson: Peachy Keen-O

Gathering pieces written by composer/theorist Beth Anderson between 1973 and 1979, Peachy Keen-O is the first collection devoted exclusively to this American composer's work. Consisting largely of '70s-vintage original source recordings, although some performances are more recent, and featuring the likes of Wharton Tiers and Michael Blair in instrumental roles, Peachy Keen-O includes not only several examples of the text-sound music Anderson is probably best known for, but other examples of her avant-garde talents. Text-sound, in which voices speak words, phrases, and phonemes to create a sort of rhythmic, percussive music where the literal meaning of the words is entirely beside the point, accounts for most of the disc, including the first release of the full seven-minute-and-53-seconds version of Anderson's best-known composition, Torero Piece, and four other examples. The tape pieces Ode and Joan (an edited 12-minute version of what was originally a 20-minute piece) and a pair of graphic scores for multimedia shows, Tower of Power and Peachy Keen-O, complete the album, giving a well-rounded view of this admirably eclectic composer's skills and interests. Perhaps the most accessible starting points are the brief I Can't Stand It, best described as an anxiety attack set to a surprisingly bouncy and swinging drumbeat, and the similar but even more tightly wound, almost punky Ocean Motion Mildew Mind, which would not sound out of place on a collection of rare new wave singles between early work by Lene Lovich and Nina Hagen.

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