This is the first of a 4-Volume, 80+ song Magnum Opus that is being released in instalments over the next twelve months - a song-writing master-class. Levity is the first topic, and these are songs satirical, sardonic, parodic - and occasionally aesthetically brilliant in their grasp (and subversion) of stylistic vernaculars. Brian lives and works in Hollywood - making music for Disney cartoons, television and theatre, but he's also part of tinseltown's more shadowy art fringe, on which daytime mainstreamers pursue their own musical interests for the hell and the love of it - and because they can't help themselves: self-financed releases like these are essentially what hyper-talented people do to stay sane.
As you'll hear, this means Brian has access to the best - the musicianship on this collection is world class, while his orchestrations run the full gamut of genres - as happy with radical simplicity as they are with hyper-complexity. And most points between. If you had to pay for this talent (and these studios) such meta-textual records would never get made, but money isn't everything - and Levity is one of those rare releases by mainstream professionals still willing to work for love on the things they love.
Fellow-travellers on this Volume include Van Dyke Parks, Joe Moe, David Yazbek, Jill Sobule & Terri Roche, Nathan Lane & Lisa Loeb, Elma Mayer, Marc Doten and Kimara Sajn; yes, mostly not household names - though they would be if we bothered to read the small-print credits at the end of American movies, mainstream music productions and TV programmes. How did we get here? Brian studied with Bernard Rands, Pauline Olivieros and Tom Lehrer, which goes some way I suppose to explain the rather unique and contradictory combination of skills and influences brought together here.
Levity & Novelty features 27 songs in styles running from indie-pop to Broadway and includes a seven-and-a-half minute 'prog' tour-de-force that manages to be satirical, ridiculous, technically brilliant, funny - not exactly disrespectful - and usefully analytical, all at the same time. "Not since... the wondrous works of young Brian Wilson... have I heard sound of this romantic design. Indispensable," wrote Van Dyke Parks'. "..a multi-talented musician, bordering on genius - should be up there with Zappa and Beefheart." BBC Radio 3, Mixing It.