Besides performing on avant-garde records released by adventurous new music labels, New York hornman/synthesist/composer Gordon — formerly the leader of the downtown post-punk art-fusion Love of Life Orchestra — has made solo albums for the CBS megalith. With the assistance of assorted East Coast luminaries, Gordon demonstrates a grasp of both the mainstream and the fringe on the mostly instrumental Innocent. Including one old LOLO recording (“Diamond Lane”), the carefully structured tracks allow the sensual, rhythmically rich sounds to be an audio end in themselves. Esoteric, but easy to enjoy.
Gordon evidently found a trans-river relocation inspirational: Brooklyn, recorded with a similar collection of underground celebrities, celebrates the borough in title, picture and song. Unfortunately, the funky “Brooklyn” is merely an obnoxious and juvenile iteration of neighborhood names. In general, Gordon’s stabs at vocal song structure reveal him to be a trivial lyricist and an unappealing singer, leaving the pleasant instrumental pieces — nothing too obscure this time — to carry the album, which they really don’t.
Music Gordon composed in 1983 for an experimental Italian production of the Verdi opera is contained on the cassette-only Otello. Drawing bits from the original score and incorporating actual recordings of traditional performances, he created a distinctly offbeat modern electronic interpolation.