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 book barks but has the bite of a man who sees Los Angeles as utopia and dystopia. If you’re a stranger to this paradise, embroiled in its all-too-common love/hate relationship, and wonder at its shadow history, this book will reveal just how L.A. got to be such a town full of heroes and villains. It’s a perfect sequel to An Empire Of Their Own and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Scandalous.
Video after the jump.