Artist: Pruitt Igoe
Album: Pruitt Igoe
Genre: Ambient, Free Jazz, Experimental
Pruitt Igoe was a
housing project built by the government in the 1950's in St. Louis,
MO. By 1970, it had become a symbol of everything that was wrong
with government-controlled housing: crime, violence, drugs,
vandalism, etc. From 1972 to 1974 all 33 buildings of the project
were systematically demolished. The name Pruitt Igoe became
inextricably linked with the failure of the government at all levels
to address the problems of poverty and inner-city decay.
Having grown up in
the St. Louis area in the 70's, I was well aware of Pruitt Igoe and
it's reputation. So, when I was looking through a stack of CD's to
review, the self-titled work by a group named Pruitt Igoe naturally
caught my eye. Surely a group which takes its name from such a
ignoble chapter in our history is going to offer something far
outside the realm of the mass-produced music that has become so
prevalent. Pruitt Igoe, the group, doesn't disappoint.
To simply classify
Pruitt Igoe's music is difficult. Combine Heavy Metal, Opera, Beat
poetry, Free Jazz and performance art, and you have a very rough
approximation. Spoken words are mixed with traditional and
non-traditional musical elements. Soaring soprano solos mix with
sounds reminiscent of a circuit-bending experiment gone tragically
This group manages
to take this collection of conflicting elements and somehow manages
to merge them into a cohesive whole. The members of Pruitt Igoe, Ted
Washington (spoken word), Molly Wilmot (mezzo-soprano), Matthew Kerr
(keyboards and samples), Jon Cordova (guitar), Chad Farran
(percussion and flute), and Coco Cambell (dance) bring a unique
vision to life.
Fair warning, this
is music is not for everyone. It will challenge you. It will make
you question your definitions of music, performance and art. If you
are looking for some pleasant background music to play during a
dinner party or a quiet conversation, this is not it. Pruitt Igoe
demands your attention, and once it has your attention, it does not
relinquish it willingly. You will find yourself drawn from one song
to the next if for no other reason than to satisfy your own curiosity
of what they will present next.
information on Pruitt Igoe can be found on their web site,
You can listen to some samples of their music and buy their CD's.
As I said, not everyone will like what they do, but you owe it
yourself to expose your mind to the experience.