Liner notes for Phillip Bimstein’s CD, Larkin Gifford’s Harmonica
by John Adams, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Music
Like their composer, the pieces on this album communicate a generous and good-natured spirit that is tempered with wry wit and a special
sense of the western landscape and culture that he so loves. Phillip Bimstein’s art is a low-key but very satisfying marriage of live performers (string quartets, wind ensembles, solo speakers) and sampled sounds. He has an enviable knack for choosing spoken narratives that reminds me of the filmmaker Errol Morris. These spoken riffs are placed in musical settings that give them flavor and color in a way that only Bimstein can do.
Listening to this album of Bimstein’s compositions makes me feel like I’ve taken a slow drive through a western landscape, meeting along the way everyone from Georgia O’Keeffe to Tony Hillerman, Mark Twain, Neal Cassady, Raymond Scott, Kurt Weill, Aphex Twin, and some of those grizzled geezers that populate the novels of Annie Proulx.