Praise & Lament
Dan Plonsey: Tenor sax, Clarinet & Bass Clarinet
Steve Horowitz: Bass
- Lament for Planet Earth, Pt. 1
- In Praise of the Bees
- In Praise of the Common Ostrich
- In Praise of the Red Ruffed Lemur
- In Praise of the Monarch Butterfly
- Lament for Planet Earth, Pt. 2
- In Praise of the Black Spotted Newt
- In Praise of the Giant Anteaters
- In Praise of the Banbury Springs Limpet
- Lament for Planet Earth, Pt. 3
Produced by Fluffy Schwartz
Artwork by Austin Smith
Second Engineer; Austin Smith
All compositions by Horowitz & Plonsey, except Lament For Planet Earth, by Plonsey.
(C) & (P) 2023 Fluff-Tone Digital
Steve Horowitz and I have been friends since the mid-80s, when he appeared from out of nowhere. Soon after, we formed a cooperative creative music quintet, The Manufacturing of Humidifiers, and over the next few years played many shows, and recorded two albums.
When Steve returned to California in 2010, he played in a recording session of my “New Monsters” tunes, and during those sessions suggested recasting them in a format similar to our old group. We assembled a crack quintet, featuring Steve Adams, Scott Looney & Jim Bove, and toured the West Coast as New Monsters and recorded three albums over the next few years.
Recently, as the pandemic let up, Steve and I got together for coffee and decided it would be fun to play a bit — these duets are the result. Steve has edited very lightly — what you will hear is most of what we recorded, omitting only some alternate takes of “Lament for Planet Earth.” Steve went in thinking that maybe he’d use one track for a compilation; I was just happy to be in a studio again, and we were both surprised by how much we liked the music which resulted — quite likely the lack of intention and stress were key.
While the titles came after the playing (other than “Bees,” which was suggested by Steve’s intro on that track), for us (for most of us, I expect) fears — and gratitude — for our planet are always present in some form. “Lament for Planet Earth” was inspired by compositions by Thyagaraja, composer and saint of Carnatic (Southern Indian) music, in which he used modes of just four pitches, in praise of Rama. The inevitability of ending and the consistency of being transform all praises into laments, and all laments into praises, hence the seeming conflict of titles. Lament and praise what you will; these were the particular animals whose images came to us (Steve titled most, and Austin, who I’d just met, noted correctly that there are animal origins to my style of playing.) No offense intended to those omitted, in particular the crows, skunks, swallowtails, humans, and gopher snakes that we take pleasure in seeing around here — we’re all in it together!
–Dan Plonsey (August 2023)
Interview: Video by Austin Smith
Steve sits down with multi-talented composer performer Dan Plonsey to talk about everything music from his vast creative career, working with musical luminaries including Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, Bang on a Can, Pauline Oliveros & discuss his time at Yale & Mills College and his love for Sun Ra.
–Steve Horowitz and Dan Plonsey