The avant-garde composer has partnered with The Love Of Life Orchestra for a new album, due out in May.
The makeup of The Love Of Life Orchestra has changed quite a bit down the years—the ensemble dates back to 1977—but its core group has remained stable. Several of the musicians who appear on Symphony #5 have worked with Gordon for more than three decades, including trombonist Peter Zummo and guitarist Randy Gun. Gordon's son Max also features on the record as a trumpet player.
Symphony #5 is a 40-minute work comprising five movements. It was recorded in front of a live audience at Brooklyn's Roulette concert hall in June 2013, and produced by Jeff Jones, AKA The Jedi Master, who has worked with the likes of Public Enemy and Willie Nelson.
The album will come out via London label Foom, and forms the first instalment in a series of releases that will focus on unknown material from Gordon's archives, along with a small number of reissues.
Gordon was on the receiving end of a DFA retrospective (Peter Gordon: Love of Life Orchestra) in 2010, and he teamed up with London trio Factory Floor for a record on Optimo Music in 2013. We spoke with Gordon via email to discuss the making of Symphony #5:
How did this album come together and where did most of the recording get done?
This album features my Symphony No. 5. It's a 40-minute work, divided into five movements and composed over a six-year span. I consider it a major musical statement. The music begins with my notated score, at times rather complex, which is then developed with the band over the course of rehearsals and performances.
For the recording, I wanted the energy and intensity of live performance, with the sonic detail and objectivity of studio recording. What we have is a single live performance (at Roulette, in Brooklyn, June, 2013), recorded from multiple perspectives (close mics, room mics), and brilliantly mixed by Jeff Jones (AKA Jedi Master.) I think it has a nice balance between rawness and clarity.
Do you plan to tour with the Love Of Live Orchestra after the release of this LP?
Hopefully. There will be some tours and performances with LOLO in various configurations and contexts. Stay posted.
What was it like working with your son on the record?
It was all very natural. With LOLO, when we are in rehearsal and performance—it is all very much like family. We are a band, which means we are a community—a tribe, a family—and we are inter-generational.
What else have you got planned for 2014?
I am producing the music and performing live electronics for Robert Ashley’s “Vidas Perfectas” at the Whitney Museum Biennial in New York; I have collaborated with Bruno Pronsato on one of the tracks on his imminent Archangel album; there’s a new single with Tim Burgess, Oh, Men, released on Record Store Day, with an album planned; I am mixing and mastering unreleased LOLO tracks, which should be released later in the year.
04. Homeland Security
05. Chamber Disco
Foom will release Symphony #5 on May 19th, 2014.