Peter Ivers is the writer of "In Heaven (Lady in the Radiator Song)," for director David Lynch’s cult-classic 1976 film Eraserhead. And while I’m not familiar with any of his work, the press kit also states that he was a musician, composer, screenwriter, yoga master and a talent scout of sorts. Othewise, HUX Records has released the first "legitimate" reissue of the 1969 LP for Epic Records. Ivers died a violent death in 1983, but had built a widespread presence within artistic circles and periodically hosted the Los Angeles based New Wave Theater for the upstart USA TV network. This album in particular provides an intimate glimpse into Ivers’ curiously interesting musical mind.
Ivers’s blues harmonica performances generate a somewhat bizarre contrast to these off-kilter blues, rock, avant-garde and chamber-rock works. Listening to Sri Lankan jazz vocalist Yolande Bavan sing atop these peppy, up-tempo blues-rock motifs presents yet another set of enticing contrasts. Ivers and band-mates explore avant-garde chamber movements, thanks to oboist Henry Schuman and bassoonist Steve Kowarsky, where the ensemble occasionally dives into the Latin element as well. Its part, tripped-out psychedelia, coupled with a touch of world music and crash/burn exercises that parlay an off-kilter methodology. Nonetheless, Ivers’ tosses quite a few sweeping curveballs into the mix.
On the piece titled "Tobacco," Bavan scat sings atop a hip, beatnik type and slow-tempo theme, offset by percussionist A. Frank Pozar’s sequential tapping of what sounds like a snare drum. Strangely compelling, the players also inject a cosmic burnout while the reed section provides an eerie, underlying lower-register theme. The fun continues on "Ain’t That Peculiar," with future Ornette Coleman band vocalist Asha Puthli partaking in a rowdy gospel vamp.
Overall, and given the timeframe, this is an album that is perhaps unlike any other. Sure, Zappa was making a mark with his complex yet satirical and zany Mothers of Invention band, but Ivers delves into a subtler muse that is dappled with a consortium of counterbalancing genres and hues. I really couldn’t make a broad recommendation, but if you’re captivated by this very fertile era in modern music, then it might serve you well to check out Ivers irrefutably, advanced concepts and implementations.