A Toolbox Christmas marks Woody Phillips' breathtaking debut into a world of repertoire and instrumentation only dreamed of by composers who have gone before him. True, Beethoven gave us the 'Hammer (klavier) Sonata' -- but Phillips has dared to explore the full range of the workbench's symphonic palette.
Never before have your ears experienced the the exquisite marimba-like 2x4's in Jingle Bells ; the majestic table saw duet in Joy to the World ; the sensitive counterpoint provided by the power planer in I Saw Three Ships ; the filigreed ornamentation of the clanking pipes in We Wish You a Merry Christmas ; the uniquely persuasive percussion of the pneumatic nailer in Patapan ; the panoply of hand and power tools in The Twelve Days of Christmas -- listen and you'll know you're in a new and extraordinary realm of holiday music.
Tchaikowsky's beloved Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy may never sound the same to you again once you've experienced Phillips' ensemble of antique hand drill, mandolin, anvil, t-square, level and pipes. Will an eye remain dry as Auld Lang Syne, ethereal and poignant on the musical saw, shimmers over the drone of the shop vac?
Phillips' ear is impeccable, perfectly attuned to nuances of tone and subtle differences of timbre among the various power tools, always employing the right tool for each job. Never, however, does Phillips disdain the traditional instruments of the concert hall. Though purists may balk at the sound of actual musical instruments on A Toolbox Christmas , when Phillips senses the need for a cello, mandolin, oboe or flute, in it goes, without regard for mere commercial considerations. His generous, all-encompassing love of beautiful sounds permits no petty divisions in his artistic kingdom.
Above all, Phillips' true genius in A Toolbox Christmas has been to include the entire ambiance of the workshop on this recording. He has drawn not only on the incomparable sonorities of the tools themselves, but adds sounds every home-improver will recognize with delight: a tape measure retracting; duct tape tearing; the little ball bearing rolling as the spray paint can is shaken. He has created choirs of bottles and chiming sacks of 10d nails. Perhaps most inspired of all is his brilliant use of the perfectly-timed pop-top.
The resulting magic awaits you in A Toolbox Christmas .
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