With Van Dyke Parks’ new Songs Cycled (Bella Union), the renowned composer, arranger and vocalist (in that order), not only releases his first album of originals since 1995’s Orange Crate Art (with Brian Wilson singing), but lends his usually complex creations a renewed sense of simplicity. The thoughts may be determinedly complicated and touched by the soul of social protest, but Parks’ music is deliciously direct, while remaining as elegant as anything he’s done for himself (à la 1968’s chamber-pop initiator Song Cycle) or others (the Beach Boys and Rufus Wainwright amongst them). Parks will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature with him.
Parks: This instrumental treasure, just out, features piano-virtuoso/composer Tom in a keyboard display that sets him firmly in the dynasty of New Orleans piano greats, from the time of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-’69), Professor Longhair, Jelly Roll Morton and into the peerage of my beloved friends Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. McDermott looks south in this, with intimations down to Brazil.
I’m honored to have curated this new album. It’s here to introduce a giant to a new audience, beyond Katrina. “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
Video after the jump.