I have to quote Robert Carlsberg who's quoted in the liner notes of this 1995 release, because he has summed up things perfectly:
"What a delicious concept, Cuneiform bands play their favorite music by other Cuneiform bands. Since they all share (or did at the time) a similar aesthetic, the result is stylistically coherent while still bringing fresh perspective. The music is as clever as the pun in the title!"
Favorite track: Philharmonie [covers Miriodor] - Transsibérien.
25 Cuneiform artists cover the compositions of other Cuneiform bands!
Essential for the Cuneiform fan and an excellent overview of what we do for the novice. Over 2 hours of otherwise unavailbale music by: Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, David Borden, George Cartwright, Doctor Zero (Doctor Nerve + Univers Zero), Forrest Fang, Happy Family, Hugh Hopper, Henry Kaiser, Piero Milesi, Phil Miller, Miriodor, Virgil Moorefield, The Muffins, PFS, Philharmonie, Present, Rattlemouth, U Totem, Volapük and more!
"Perhaps the finest various artists compilation of new music to ever hit the scene"
"What a delicious concept, Cuneiform bands play their favorite music by other Cuneiform bands. Since they all share (or did at the time) a similar aesthetic, the result is stylistically coherent while still bringing fresh perspective. The music is as clever as the pun in the title!
There are even some rare treats for the cognoscenti: unfinished tracks that see their first release here, medleys across bands (Miriodor play both Present and Univers Zero), cross-Atlantic collaborations (Doctor Nerve and Univers Zero playing together through the miracle of tape), and more.
In the liner notes, label head Steve Feigenbaum states that the double album took over 4 years to pull together (1991-1995), which might explain why it's never spawned a sequel. Certainly the music cries out for one !!" – Robert Carlberg
“The idea came from Forever Einstein's Chuck Vrtacek: to put together an album of Cuneiform Records artists interpreting tunes from their label mates. Since the label had a pretty stable roster by 1994-1995, with most of them sharing some common musical aesthetics, the project has the possibility of being interesting. And it is. Unsettled Scores is not a compilation album or a label sampler. All tracks with the exception of one can't be find anywhere else (Volapük's rendition of Nick Didkovsky's "Three Curiously Insubstantial Duets No. 3" would later appear on their CD Slang!, along with No. 1 and 2). And yet, this is not an "unreleased material" patchwork: all tracks have been put together in 1994-1995, especially for the project, therefore one can feel the artistic cohesion of the whole. Ex-Soft Machine Hugh Hopper, Richard Pinhas, Doctor Nerve, and Univers Zéro all get tribute to the important place they hold in Cuneiform's catalogue. Some of the numerous highlights on Unsettled Scores include: Philarmonie's beautiful reading of Miriodor's "Transsibérien"; the latter's Present/Univers Zéro medley (including parts of "Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal" and "Heatwave"); a incredibly fast version of Daniel Denis' "Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances," delivered by the prog-core Japanese outfit Happy Family; Djam Karet's spirited jam on Richard Pinhas' "Dedicated to K.C."; George Cartwright's jazzed-up take on Univers Zéro's "Complainte"; and finally an unreleased Univers Zéro piece completed by Nick Didkovsky (that one's a real treat!). Other renderers/renderees include Forever Einstein, The Muffins, Piero Milesi, David Borden, Birdsongs of the Mezosoic, Phil Miller, Henry Kaiser, U Totem, Virgil Moorefield, and Forrest Fang. Any fan of the Cuneiform roster will find something to like in here, but Univers Zéro aficionados will be particularly delighted.” – AllMusic
released October 1, 1995
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic:
- Michael Bierylo / guitar, percussions
- Ken Field / saxophone, percussions
- Erik Lindgren / piano, drum machine
- Rick Scott / synthesizer, percussion
- David Borden / keyboards, synthesizers
- Gabriel Borden / guitar
- George Cartwright / tenor saxophone
- Jim Duckworth / guitar
- Bruce Golden / drums
- Al Gamble / organ
- Jim Spake / baritone saxophone
Doctor Zero (Doctro Nerve + Universe Zero):
- Jean-Pierre Cathoul / violin
- Don Davis / tenor saxophone
- Nick Didkovsky / guitar
- Yves Duboin / flute
- Paulette Duhaut / voice
- Steve Gore / drums
- Andy Kirk / noises and influences
- Jan Kuijken / cello
- Guy Segers / bass, voice
- Marc Wagnon / piano
- Forrest Fang / sampler, mandolins, synthesizer
- C.W. Vrtacek / guitar
- Marc Sichel / bass
- John Roulat / drums