On The Leopard Altar
Voices-Jessica Lowe, Paul Mackey, Susan James, Dennis Parnell
Keyboards-Brad Ellis, David Kuehn, Arlene Dunlap, Lentz
Wineglasses-Ellis, Kuehn, Dunlap, Lowe, James
This record came out first in 1984 on Icon records then quickly went out of print to my dismay. It got good notices then and I have to say it was well worth the wait. Five early compositions by Lentz are here. In “Is It Love?” the voices chant texts in hypnotic, subtractive patterns. It makes you think of early Glass only it’s more informal and hotwired. “Lascaux” for wineglass ensemble makes sound wave reverberation a positive virtue. Lentz is the champion and master of the under-appreciated wineglass. Here, as in so much of his career, he fully embraces beauty, which is almost as reckless today as it was in 1984. That’s other folks’ loss. The work is as gorgeous as all get-out, so bleak modernists were being given notice. “On The Leopard Altar” is mesmerizingly attractive, even lush, and the ensemble here, as on every track on this record, performs excellently. The voices are partly Glassian, but much more erotic than anything the sober Glass was coming up with. “Wolf Is Dead” has plenty of repetitive playfulness and is very light on its feet. “Requiem” takes words from a Latin Mass and might be the soundtrack for a Catholic David Lynch movie. This is one of the very best Cold Blues. Enthusiastically recommended.