Peter Gordon and his Love of Life Orchestra--as a new audience discovered upon hearing the FabricLive.36 compilation, a handpicked mix from LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Pat Mahoney that opened and closed with Gordon's "Beginning of the Heartbreak / Don't Don't"--are testament to the incredible musical innovations happening in New York City in the late 1970s. Those two compositions, underpinned with disco and gilded with noisy guitar bursts, hanging piano chords and saxophone wails, exhibit not only Gordon's kaleidoscopic vision as a musician, but his precision as a producer and composer. Featuring avant-experimentalists and downtown legends David Byrne and Arto Lindsay as well as Love of Life Orchestra cofounders Gordon and David Van Tieghem, the tracks shine a light on the work of an artist whose influence on dance music is recognizable more than three decades later.
Gordon's hefty contribution to music is given an up-close look with Love of Life Orchestra, a retrospective of the composer's work. Compiled here are the aforementioned singles and songs that show the breadth and quality of Gordon's output. "Extended Niceties" unfurls a dizzying call-and-response between blaring sax and synths, while the expansive "Roses on the Disco Floor" builds in intensity, size and tempo as it nears its epic end. "Still You" and "Beautiful Dreamer" by Justine & The Victorian Punks (a collaborative project with New York-based visual artist Colette) feature disco grooves and sweetly voiced melodies. "Iago's Escape," which begins with dramatic strings and quasi-operatic vocals, unexpectedly incorporates klezmer-influenced clarinet. "That Hat" is a quirky experiment incorporating early hip-hop beats and featuring vocals from pioneer Arthur Russell, New York Doll David Johansen and Rebecca Armstrong.
The album is rounded out with "Another Heartbreak / Don't Don't Redux," Gordon's own reworking of the seminal opening medley, which freshly reinterprets the original's sax lead and adds new synthesizer parts. Throughout this impressive catalog, harmoniously interwoven strains of jazz, rock and neoclassical, add texture and color to these wonderful songs. Love of Life Orchestra, taken as a whole, serves as ample testimony to the far-reaching scope of Gordon's musical sensibilities and a reminder of his enduring musical legacy.
- Beginning of the Heartbreak / Don't Don't
- Extended Niceties
- Don't Don't (Reprise)
- Roses On The Disco Floor
- Still You
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Iago's Escape
- That Hat
- Another Heartbreak / Don't Don't (Redux)