I first got the chance to see Adam Green in what was, actually, my first concert. Touring with The Strokes after their successful Is This It was released, Green was a modest opener that took to the stage with only his guitar to join him. He was fresh off his split as one half of the Moldy Peaches and had just written his most famous song, “Jessica.” Though the crowd seemed disinterested in what Green was pushing, his music felt honest and carried a great deal of self-worth.
Since then, Green has made a name for himself by writing somewhat childish lyrics that are paired with even more playful music. He’s fought hard to garner any kind of respect but one thing’s for sure, he’s made a career out of making music his way. His new project finds him writing classical-like music in an all-instrumental album, Musik for a Play. In participating with others for the production of a little-known book, Green has amassed a commendable and often, stellar, collection of music that is very honestly, impressive.
The music on here is the score Green wrote for the production of the theatrical adaptation to Paul Auster’s novella, Timbuktu. In the novel a dog and his owner travel to Baltimore for one last journey. The story is told through the eyes of the dog, Mr. Bones, as he comes to grips with realizing that his ailing owner is going to pass away very soon and although it’s something he has succumb to, he worries that he wont be able to travel to heaven with him. In that same manner, Green’s music comes to life behind the basis of the story’s own themes: existentialism, death, finding the purposes for one’s life and companionship.
The play itself seems like something that would be of worthy interest, as does the book, but the music itself is no slouch either. Green relates to having one partner to guide him in his life and he brings forth an attention to liveliness, creativity and an engrossing amount of ability. Although this is just the score, with no visual presentation of what it accompanies, Green displays a proficient amount of musicianship in penning these instrumental tracks. Whether or not he plays all of the instruments himself is a wonder but for every Spanish guitar, flute, tuba, string bass, mallet instrument and more, Green showcases a fine aptitude in composing absorbing music.
These songs shift from upbeat background suites to imaginative snapshots of life. Even with only a simple song title to describe it, the sounds depict exactly that, allowing the listener to picture what is going on the stage. “Lazy Dog” features a winning melody that is introduced by a delicate flute before the entire orchestra joins in a swing feel that shakes from side to side and later, “Sticky Ricky” finds Green employing a mysterious tone behind the mask of honking trumpets and pacified percussion. While nothing goes over the 2:30 minute mark and the complete album is over in about twenty minutes, Green is able to keep you sucked in through its entirety.
The album also comes with three demos of what the songs sounded like when Green was writing them. Even as demos, they still sound fresh and refreshing and they portray what it takes to write such good music. But more than that, it proves just how sincere Green’s music is, that even if you don’t necessarily ‘get’ him, he’s made something admirable with Musik for a Play – something that should surely get him some well-deserved attention.
“Gallop” by Adam Green