The Viennese label Klanggalerie and its head Walter Robotka keep doing justice to the musical legacy of cellist Tom Cora, one of the key members of the 1980s Downtown New York scene, who passed away prematurely in 1998 when he was only 45 years old. Cora studied the cello with cellist Pablo Casals’ student Luis Garcia-Renart and later with vibes player Karl Berger. He moved to New York in 1979 where he worked with Shockabilly guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, and performed at improvising clubs and venues in New York with John Zorn, Fred Frith, Butch Morris, Wayne Horvitz, David Moss, Toshinori Kondo and many others. Cora’s collaboration with George Cartwright and Bill Laswell led to the formation of the art-rock band Curlew in 1979 and in 1982 he formed the improvising rock and jazz band Skeleton Crew with Frith, who played in a few recordings of Curlew.
In March 1982 Cora recorded «Cargo Cult Revival» with drummer-vocalist David Moss for Fred Frith’s now-defunct label Rift Records, live and in real-time (with no overdubbing) at OAO studio in Brooklyn. Moss is known today as an experimental vocalist who sang in Olga Neuwirth’s opera «Lost Highway» (Kairos, 2006), in Heiner Goebbels’ «Surrogate Cities» (ECM, 2000) and with Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie as the baritone soloist in Iannis Xenakis «ÄIS», and now he is the artistic director of the Institute for Living Voice in Berlin. Frith, Moss and Cora’s partner, vocalist Catherine Jauniaux assisted in realizing the reissue of «Cargo Cult Revival».
«Cargo Cult Revival» offers ten wild, hyperactive and often quite absurdist free improvised duets. Cora and Moss employ everything with eyesight – cello, other string instruments, assorted percussive instruments and devices, and eccentric vocal utterances. Always with an urgent energy, adventurous risk-taking and joyful and noisy recklessness. There is no knowing what Cora and Moss would do next and the absurdist titles of these improvised pieces capture faithfully the dadaist spirit of this album that still sounds fresh and relevant, more than forty years after it was recorded.
Tom Cora (c, resonated obj), David Moss (perc, v)