Mystic muso

By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  November 4, 2009

Inclusiveness was Palmer’s trump card. He had the rare ability to explain the sound of any music to the layman, and in often colorful language. His take on thorny noise-rockers Swans is a gem. “At first,” he wrote in the Times, “Swans records sound like gorillas beating on pots and pans and muttering incoherently, accompanied by the clamor of a machine shop. Closer listening reveals differences in verse structure, texture, and mood that distinguish one song from another.”

For its breadth, knowledge, and craftsmanship, Blues & Chaos reminds us that Palmer was as irreplaceable on the American landscape as many of the great musicians his writing explored.

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