Beat Circus Dreamland

What a hell of a concept. Essentially the first in lead composer Brian Carpenter’s "Weird American Gothic Trilogy,” this album tries to capture the music and feel of Coney Island before it was burnt down in 1911. Yep, it’s gonna be sounding "old-timey.” Drawing on the talents of other weirdo collaborators, like Alec K. Redfearn, this music is rife with atmosphere and considerable talent, but you definitely have to be in the mood. Songs like "The Ghost of Emma Jean” could be enjoyed anytime, with its dreamy, muted trombone and gorgeous banjo playing. Other songs, like "Coney Island Creepshow,” only fit in the context of this album. As is de rigueur nowadays, there’s a Gypsy-influenced track, "Slavochka,” but this has been done better and wilder by others. An oddity among oddities, but at least it’s a well-composed one. For those looking to go through the looking glass, this has plenty of weirdo charm. (Cuneiform)