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Warren Smith

Dragon Dave Meets Prince Black Knight From the Darkside of the Moon

(Porter; US: 17 May 2011; UK: 20 Jun 2011)

This is a case of the material not nearly living up to its title. Warren Smith’s Dragon Dave Meets Prince Black Knight From the Darkside of the Moon clearly has as its mark the boisterous, anything-goes spirit of Charles Mingus’ more experimental work. And Smith and his large ensemble do conjure up a bit of that feel on the few tracks that have some semblance of structure. The rest is a cacophony of gongs, dissonant horn blasts, and whistles. The whistles are sprinkled generously throughout the album, as if Smith believes each one is taking him closer to a Rahsaan Roland Kirk-like level of transcendence. No such luck. There are voices amid the cacophony, but it’s difficult to make out what they’re saying, much less follow a narrative. What Smith clearly intended to be profoundly shambolic is merely a shambles.


John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.

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