I’m listening to the hypnotic “Tramp With Orchestra” on Gavin Bryar’s 1993 recording “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.”
Rereading the liner notes reinforced my feelings for the piece. Bryan left the loop playing of the tramp singing the lines, over and over.
The power of the loop became apparent to Bryar coming back from fetching a cup of coffee. He had left the door of the recording studio opened, which opened on a living area.
Here’s the quote from the liner notes: “I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdues. People were moving about much more slowly than usual, and a few were sitting, quietly weeping… they had been overcome by the old man’s unaccompanied singing.”
So, the piece has musical tidbits added as the loop of the old man repeats, gradually evolving. You have to listen closely to catch the additions as it unfolds. In its way, it’s a moving piece.
Oh, and Tom Waits’ voice is included in the piece, by the way. It’s a bit of genius.


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