Peter Gordon & the Love of Life Orchestra, Love of Life Orchestra

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 08.30.11 in Reviews

Love of Life Orchestra

Peter Gordon & The Love Of Life Orchestra

There was a moment in New York in the late ’70s and early ’80s when a little cluster of classically trained composers discovered the joys of disco and started making their own dance records. Saxophonist Peter Gordon was one of those composers; with his ever-shifting group Love of Life Orchestra, whose only other constant was percussionist David Van Tieghem, he recorded a string of releases that didn’t quite fit into either the disco or avant-garde niches, but sound fantastic three decades later. This 2010 compilation is anchored by the band’s astonishing Extended Niceties EP (for which LOLO’s lineup featured David Byrne and Arto Lindsay on guitar), as well as an alternate version of its epic groove “Beginning of the Heartbreak/Don’t Don’t.” It’s filled out by the two songs that appeared on a single credited to Justine & the Victorian Punks (notably a discofied version of Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” whose singer sounds like she’s muttering the lyrics from the bottom of a K-hole), an excerpt from Gordon’s mutation of Verdi’s Otello, and a splendid, nutty long dance track called “That Hat,” written by Arthur Russell (who sings and plays ferociously overdriven cello) and featuring a guest vocal performance by the New York Dolls’ David Johansen.