Reprinted from Stereo Review, April 1997

Bimstein: Garland Hirschi's Cows; The Louie Louie Variations; Dark Winds Rising; The Door; Vox=Dominum.
Modern Mandolin Quartet; Turtle Island String Quartet; sonic sampling and mixing, Phillip Kent Bimstein. Starkland ST-205 (57 min).

Performance: Composer-supervised
Recording: Very good

Phillip Kent Bimstein, a graduate of the Chicago Conservatory of Music and former leader of the New Wave band Phil 'n' the Blanks, is now (no kidding) mayor of Springdale, Utah, a staunch defender of that state's environment, and the creator of a truly offbeat, underground, alternative-music winner, Garland Hirschi's Cows. This amoosing concerto in three "moovements" based on the ruminations of Bimstein's neighbor, Garland Hirschi, and his happy herd of bellowing bovines, as well as two other works here -- The Door (a rollicking rock-and-roll version of Pierre Henry's musique concrète squeaky-door classic, Variations on a Door and a Sigh) and Vox=Dominum (using the vocal and instrumental sounds of Middle Eastern classical music)--are studio deconstructions that manipulate recorded, sampled sound.

Dark Winds Rising is for string quartet and the recorded voices of members of the Kaibab Paiute tribe, whose reservation near Springdale was threatened by the installation of a toxic-waste incinerator. The Louie Louie Variations, based on a simple rock chord progression, is purely acoustic, scored for mandolin quartet. To put it succinctly, there's a lot of immediacy, wit, and inventiveness on this CD.

-- Eric Salzman