Music and mad science

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.” — Julia Cameron

At our house, Halloween weekend is always a celebration of creativity and make-believe, whether we’re stirring up a batch of Hell’s Kitchen Chili or putting the finishing touches on our costumes.  Which makes it the perfect time to introduce you to Doug’s brand-new CD, “Professor Pandemonium’s Cabinet of Wonders.”

As Doug likes to explain it, his album is a musical variation of an old curiosity cabinet — a wild assemblage that could just as easily belong to a mad scientist. Crack open the cover of the CD and youll discover 16 catchy tunes that are classified as “steampunk pop.” Like a potion from the medicine wagon in the Wizard of Oz, the whole mix is a little hard to describe. Start with the Beatles “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” and add equal parts Ray Bradburys novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Danny Elfmanns film, “Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Like a costume party, it’s pure fun — and highly entertaining.

I’ve always been a fan of the Victorian circus, so right now, my favorite song from the album is the dark and mysterious “Pandemonium Ensues.” I keep telling Doug that it ought to be included in the soundtrack of a Dr. Seuss film — it’s that atmospheric and cool. But not all the tunes are Halloweenish. “Just Be Friends” and “There Is No Time” are pretty mainstream, each with a lovely hook that stays with me. “Let Monkeys Rule” — which has its own video on YouTube — is pure political commentary on how our inability to get along is endangering our world and thwarting our own progress.

OK, I’ll admit I’m slightly biased. And five years of piano lessons didn’t make me a music critic, by any stretch. But this is my husband’s newest endeavor and I’ve got bragging rights. In any event, I’m the luckiest woman I know — married to such a creative guy who’s full of surprises. For reviews and information about the new CD, as well as a glimpse inside the professor’s cabinet, visit Professor Pandemonium’s Cabinet of Wonders. — CL

–Top photo of Douglas La Ferle (a.k.a. Professor Pandemonion) in his laboratory by Cindy La Ferle–