||Abel / Destefano / Jae'b / Marshman|
Mark Abel: The Dream Gallery - Seven California Portraits CD (2012)
Delos Label Mark Abel calls his compositions postmodern art songs or alternative classical, and the stylistic pastiche those terms suggest is certainly present. A former alternative rock musician, Abel writes rock-like percussion lines into his music, and part of the appeal of this song cycle is the collision between the small ensemble of classical instruments and the thoroughly contemporary language. When was the last time you heard lines like "Pretty, but oh so green, I needed a mentor. I found one in Ken," or "We love the homeless down on Telegraph, somewhat less so on upper Solano," in classical settings? Abel's seven songs are portraits of characteristic individuals in seven California communities: Los Angeles, Taft (in Kern County), Berkeley (the subject of the withering satire exemplified by the second quotation above), San Diego, Richmond, Soledad, and Arcata. And what makes them persuasive is the depth of characterization in the texts (which are Abel's ...