One of the darker pieces from Little Bang's disc was playing somewhat distantly in the background at work and a colleague's ears perked up. Hmm? Is that something new from Tom Waits? And a little later, someone walked into my office, where Pahl's solo disc was playing, and asked if this was a record of lullabies. Nice music for putting kids to bed, right? Detroiter Pahl has a thing for certain kinds of sound palettes. On Music for Architecture he plays John Cage's circa 1940 invention, the prepared piano; nuts, bolts and other odds and ends are wedged between strings and ... voila, it's a new instrument. With Pahl at the helm here, think Balinese gamelan masters meeting Philip Glass in a music box. Little Bang (Pahl plus Terri Sarris and Doug Shimmin) has a similar tintinnabulation going with the members showing that toy instruments — with the odd wordless vocals and Class-A whistling — can be more than kids' stuff. Ever imagine you'd hear Ennio Morricone played this way?
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