Tip! Music of BL Lacerta is an album of spontaneous music featuring two live performances, one at the University of North Texas art gallery and one at the Second National Tuba-Euphonium Symposium-Workshop, and a stray studio recording done at a facility in Lexington, Kentucky. The collective BL Lacerta, whose name is derived from a distant astronomical constellation, formed in 1976 (Lacerta also translates to “lizard,” accounting for the group’s reptilian cartoon logo). They began as classical music students at the University of North Texas and steadily built a reputation for their exceptionally tight improvised performances.
Lacerta’s approach borrowed variously from the aleatoric composition of John Cage—whom the group later commissioned to write the piece “Improvisation A + B” (ca. 1984)—and the theatricality of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, with whom they shared a propensity for costume and humor. The record features both unstructured improv, built from the ground up during performance, and what the band referred to as “character improvisation”—riffs on a prompt, such as “Stravinsky,” their pastiche of the Russian composer, and the album’s final track “Monkey Chant,” based on Balinese kecak.