Christopher Fox’s second album on Metier, following on from last year’s More Light, is a tribute to artists he admires, notably the Dadaist genius Kurt Schwitters, whose life-affirming work belied the many vicissitudes of his career. A-N-N-A Blossom-time consists of setting nine nonsense poems by Schwitters, loosely translated into English. Fox says that he tried to locate the songs within musical conventions of the 1920s and 1930s, when the poems were written. The rhythms and harmonies of these catchy songs are often jazzy, thought the harmonies are ones which only became established with modern jazz. Louisiana features shorter songs also based on Schwitters’ poetry.
You, Us, Me is a meandering habañera, deliberately flat emotionally and unresolved. MERZSonata forms a collage tribute to Schwitters indebted in many of its sounds and form to the great soundpoem Ursonate. The solo piano piece Block gestures towards Joseph Beuys, who has included grand pianos in many of his installations; I Sing For The Muses and Myself is a short piano piece dedicated to the artists Ian Hamilton Finlay. Ian Pace is convincing in all idioms here, while Amanda Crawley conveys the nonsense most entertainingly… a thoroughly entertaining presentation of the work of this quirky and inventive British composer.