Phil Kline, Zippo Songs

John Schaefer

By John Schaefer

on 01.18.11 in Reviews

NY guitarist/composer Phil Kline is perhaps best known for his walking holiday piece for multiple boomboxes called "Unsilent Night," which annually takes place in and around Manhattan's Lower East Side and now in other cities around the world. Here Kline channels both Franz Schubert and Jim Morrison. In Vietnam, soldiers etched little slogans, some of them surprisingly poetic, onto the sides of their Zippo lighters. With America now embroiled in a Middle Eastern version of Vietnam, Phil Kline assembled those fragments into a cycle of electric art-songs, with voice, violin, guitar and percussion all heavily amplified and processed into a psychedelic haze of love, loss, lust, drugs, war and more drugs. The bonus "3 Rumsfeld Songs" takes some of the unintentionally hilarious obfuscations of everyone's favorite Defense Secretary and reveals Rumsfeld's inner Broadway belter. (Just in case you didn't get the Iraq-Vietnam connection.)