Baroque pop is such a pretentious sounding way to describe interesting music. It sounds as if the artist crafting his work actually has a destination for his piece, a travel plan for the hands and fingers that chisel out the textures and details that turn atypical compositions into larger than life song structures. I had heard about Van Dyke Parks’ Song Cycle for some time before actually getting my hands on a copy. Van Dyke’s persona became somewhat legendary as a forerunner in the baroque pop aesthetic when he joined forces with Beach Boys’ maestro Brian Wilson to co write the lauded experimental pop masterpiece, Smile, the Versailles of baroque pop. It was on Smile that Wilson furthered his design of his modular production technique, an approach that made its way into the rotation of sounds on Van Dyke’s Song Cycle. It’s the acute attention to detail that crafts the baroque and Van Dyke proves his ability by applying his colorful wordsmithing, multi-instrumental arrangements to define each nook, cranny, and blemish on Song Cycle as well as Smile.
[mp3] Van Dyke Parks – Palm Desert
[mp3] The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up (Brian Wilson Solo)