I’ve got mixed feelings about thing Floating World Vol. 1; at times it’s a joy but at many other points I feel that it’s a wasted opportunity. The record is a noble enterprise, in the manner of Charles Spearin or the Fiery Furnaces’ remarkable Rehearsing My Choir, or something that Moondog would knock out. It’s the sort of stuff that really should be dictating the outlook of anyone with a bit of feeling, and yes… I do feel a bit churlish for having a pop, but when you read the poems and listen along to the music they are set to, you can’t help but wonder about some of the arrangements or the manner of “sonic attack” chosen. For one thing Floating World Vol. 1 is just too bloody long and lacking in any real elasticity in the arrangements and overall focus on the subjects in hand. Time For Underdiaper and That Bad Undelicious Cookie (both by Michael Bernard Loggins) sound clumsy and over developed, or just missing the point completely. Therapy sounds like an underdeveloped piss take and Hitler 1945 sounds like a point missed.
You know there are some truly interesting statements and poems here: a lot by someone who must have been a truly remarkable character, (and pretty much the inspiration for this record): one Bart Alberti, but a lot of the originality of the work has been put through its paces in what can only be described as an academic, and slightly anaemic manner. When music and words do come together the record sparkles: such as the boulevardier sweep of The Classicist, or Story of One Single Thing That Would Only Make One Difference which are great and almost Weil-style cabaret. Philip Roth is a scream too. Why can’t the LP be more like this?
Apparently the late great Bart Alberti, (the main reason for liking this enterprise is for the introduction to his work, but I digress), used to run into his local bookshop shouting “Where’s gravity?” To which this reviewer might well sadly respond, after listening to bits of this LP, “where’s the musical empathy?”