Web Exclusive! Reviewed: Erik Satie, Music From the House With Four Chimneys, Arranged For Guitar and Other Instruments, by Eddy & the Esoteriks

Erik Satie (1866-1925) was an iconoclastic, avant-garde French composer, pianist, and writer who lived much of his life in poverty in a suburb of Paris.
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Satie’s compositions tend to be short and relatively minimalist, making them good candidates for guitar arrangements. Here, 31 of them are performed by various permutations of an ensemble of 13 musicians, including five guitarists: WilliII,am Ghezzi, Adam Larrabe, Draa Hobbs, Pablo Fanque, and producer Ed Eastridge. Being a guitarist who has always loved Satie’s music, I was quite interested in this album, and have been listening to it for several weeks. It is one of those recordings that you can hear again and again without ever tiring, both because the music is so beautiful, and because new things emerge with each listening. Highlights include the popular "Gymnopedie Variations I-III," "Le Picadilly" played on banjo by Larrabe, electric guitar versions of "Avant-Dernieres Pensees I-III" (a Boss RC-20 Loop Station is also credited), "Piéces Froides -Danses De Travers I" (with haunting oboe by Anne Grreenawalt), and "Gnossiennes V" (featuring Fanque on 7-string).

Satie has been credited with being a precursor to everything from impressionism, minimalism, neo-classicism, and atonalism to Dada, Surrealism, and the Theatre of the Absurd. More recent comparisons have been made to ambient music. Listening to this collection of his compositions it is easy to understand those assertions, to which I would add new age music, using that term in the most respectful sense. Whether you are a Satie fan, or have yet to discover his music, I heartily recommend this album. The pieces lend themselves perfectly to arrangements for guitar, and the elegant and understated performances by these fine players do them full justice. Magnifique! BigMo. —Barry Cleveland