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Discovering this album in a thrift-store was one of the most startling experiences of my record-hunting life. Hearing good ol' Johann Sebastian performed on the likes of snare drums, woodblocks and tom-toms had me completely bewildered. The New York Percussion Ensemble didn't cheat by using melodic percussion instruments like xylophones or marimbas - the list of instruments on the back include, apart from the ones I just mentioned, tambourines, cymbals, maracas, castanets, bongos, claves, triangle, cowbell, tympani, boobams, and sleigh bells.
The sound lies closer to traditional African music then to classical. To quote a Time magazine review: "The result has the effect of an X-ray photograph of a flower — barely recognizable, eerie and oddly fascinating." We make available three of the album's four cuts - the first track, a version of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," had a nasty gouge in it, but don't worry, it wasn't as good as the other three tracks.
This was no joke. Arranger John Klein's credits on the back cover are extensive - an early classical training, numerous classical and pop credits, and authorship of a "monumental two-volume work entitled 'The First Four Centuries of Music.'" I have no idea what this means, though: "Mr. Klein has composed music for no less then 137 dramas for the United States Treasury Department NBC Transcription Series..."