First off concept compilation albums can be tough. Maybe it's the narrow focus or simply the fact that their foundation lies on their very novelty, one which may find itself easily growing tiresome. It is perhaps because of this that Song on Conceptual Art makes such a lasting impression. Curated by the team of Crystal Baxley & Stefan Ransom who took Sol LeWitt's seminal art theory text Sentences on Conceptual Art and more importantly artist John Baldessari's video piece "Baldessari Sings LeWitt" as a jumping off point inviting musicians & groups to reinterpret one of the 35 sentences contained in the original text. An interesting idea that proves to be as listenable as the concept is thought provoking.
The compilation boasts exclusive contributions from Lucky Dragons, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Arp, Sun Foot, White Rainbow, Karl Blau, & White Fang to name a few. The results are a highly diverse look into the West Coasts contemporary experimental / art rock scene. Ranging from the atmospheric (L.A. Ladies Choir, Jackie-O Motherfucker) , house / club oriented (Secret Circuit, Art Husband) , shambolic rock (White Fang, Crazy Band), straight up pop (Dunes, Davis Hooker), & all out weird (Rob Walmart). Yet for the diversity & eclecticism there still remains some unspoken aesthetic thread (besides the fact that no track ventures beyond the 3 minute mark) that ties the music together making for a cohesive listen that I believe can be heard without knowledge of the project. It is not often enough that compilation albums arrive this well curated, thought out, and thoughtfully conceived.
Luckily the Kickstarter created for the project has already reached it's goal with a much time to spare. So we can rest peacefully at night knowing it was lovingly funded. Before I forget the project also has a beautifully designed website where you can read more about the project and stream the compilation.