Van Dyke Parks: Songs Cycled
New release (Bella Union)
Photo by Roman Cho
This is the first new album credited to Van Dyke Parks alone since 1989’s Tokyo Rose, but the dozen tracks are actually the A- and B-sides of six singles he released on his own label, Bananastan, in 2011 and ’12. Furthermore, whereas four of the A-sides are indeed new-since-1989 original songs (and another track is a co-write), five selections are arrangements of traditional, folk, or classical material, and the remaining two are re-recordings of earlier Parks compositions.
On paper, then, Songs Cycled is a hodgepodge. But when did we ever listen to Van Dyke Parks on paper? Fact is, the 12 numbers miraculously form a coherent whole — an album that, true to its creator’s longtime ambition, celebrates the glorious sound of music.