Disease + The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart

An all-time great rock song and performance kicks off “16 Songs”. Here’s Allison Crowe live-in-concert – captured by Turtle Recording’s Larry Anschell (Engineer and Producer) and Brad Graham (Co-Engineer).

YouTube Preview Image

Lyrical and social themes “as we replace marble with plastic” mesh visually with “Dreams That Money Can Buy” – the avant garde cinematic creation of German surrealist, Dadaist+ Hans Richter and collaborators. “The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart“, the second of DTMCB’s seven dream sequences, is shaped by the rich vision of French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker, Fernand Léger. This experimental feature film received the Award for the Best Original Contribution to the Progress of Cinematography at the 1947 Venice Film Festival.

“Power-house intense” says an European reviewer, “”the energy of ‘Disease‘ can easily provide electricity to a small country for a decade.”

Writing in Süddeutsche Zeitung, a major German daily newspaper, journalist Peter Baier sets the stage (in this translation): “From the outset the Canadian songwriter wins the favor of the audience and increases the expectations with her coloratural laugh. Allison Crowe plays the piano with a strong grip. Its sound fits perfectly to her slightly-smoky, expressive, in short: Great voice. Sometimes her playing recalls the keyboard-capers of Konstantin Wecker and then there are moments to bring to mind Modest Mussorgsky’s „Pictures at an Exhibition“.

(And in the original text: Bereits mit ihren ersten Ansagen gewinnt die kanadische Songwriterin mit eigenem Label die Gunst des Publikums, lässt mit ihrem Koloratur-Lachen die Erwartung auf Weiteres ansteigen. Mit kräftigem Zugriff spielt Allison Crowe das Klavier, zu dessen Klang ihre leicht rauchige, ausducksstarke, kurz: große Stimme hervorragend passt. Manchmal erinnert ihr Spiel an die Tasten-Eskapaden eines Konstantin Wecker, dann wieder gibt es Momente, die an den Stil von Modest Mussorgsky’s „Bilder einer Ausstellung“ denken lassen.)

“Amazing composition,” says another in the musician’s broadly international audience, “there is so much intellect in the music writing of Allison Crowe, which you don’t see anywhere these days, not from the new artists nor the established ones.”

It’s an intellect revealed in part via inspired musical choices and its energetic expression is visceral in nature. Energy flows from the performer on-stage to engulf concert-goers as well. Spontaneous eruptions – stomping feet, clapping hands, rhythmically pulsing bodies – accompany this song (a recent bootleg video from Jazzhaus Freiburg further testifies to this rocking reality).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6t4Gk15IB4

#1 of 16 Songs

Allison Crowe - 16 Songs Video Album - New Moon - Disease

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“16 Songs” Video Album from Allison Crowe = Music + Movie Magic

“Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music is what I want to make.”

That’s how Allison Crowe framed things near the start of this century before launching Rubenesque Records Ltd., one of the world’s truly independent music labels.

Through legendary live performances, broadcasts, and a dynamic oeuvre of recordings, globally-acclaimed and loved, Crowe’s distinguished herself among today’s finest songwriters, recording and concert acts, and as a supreme interpreter of popular song.

Combining versatility and virtuosity, the amazing Canadian musician transmits emotion into a visceral joy – sharing heart and soul with audiences.

Timeless artistic expression has its own tradition in Canada, a land plentifully represented by: wordsmiths & tunesmiths, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young; by jazz pianist/composer Oscar Peterson; classical composer Marjan Mozetich; in theatre and opera – beautiful voices of Teresa Stratas, Richard Verreau, Léopold Simoneau; and other sublime standard-bearers.

Allison Crowe’s singularity carries her across the globe and into such company as the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and dates with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Thrilling, fun, and moving, the Nanaimo, BC-born musician traverses Europe and North America from home-base in Corner Brook, Newfoundland earning hoorays even from Hollywood where appreciative movie Director Zack Snyder invited her to cameo in the latest Superman blockbuster.

Coming soon Allison Crowe releases “16 Songs” a video album reimagining century-spanning film, three decades of songwriting, and a dozen albums of modern music. Renowned for gorgeous, often ground-breaking, interpretations of Mitchell, Cohen, The Beatles, Pearl Jam +, Crowe’s set-list here is radiantly international, mixing original tunes (Disease, Circular Reasoning, Double-Edged Swords +) with covers of: Annie Lennox & Eurythmics, Radiohead, Tori Amos, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Matthew Good, Hunters and Collectors.

"16 Songs" Video Album from Allison Crowe Coming Soon

16 Songs” Video Album from Allison Crowe Coming Soon

We’ve recently witnessed novel approaches to twinning of music and video releases in the American mainstream. In December 2013, pop superstar Beyoncé paired a video with each of her album’s 14 new song tracks adding three bonus music videos all as part of the “Beyoncé” album physical release. Partial clips of the vids were posted online upon the album’s surprise launch.

This Summer “Weird Al” Yankovic built upon the model of his 2011 “Alpocalypse” album. For his July 2014 release, “Mandatory Fun”, pop music’s über-parodist-satirist-accordionist amped awareness by production-partnering with an array of web portals to release eight videos online the same week his album’s 12 music tracks became available.

Allison Crowe’s music videos for most of this millennium comprise, either, documentary, live-in-performance, films (eg. the hugely popular “Tidings” series from director Alex Postowoi’s cinéma vérité crew), or, audio recordings with ‘still’ images. The exceptions – a pair of music videos in narrative style – were both made in 2003: “Midnight” (also directed by Steadiman’s Postowoi), and “Scared” (from the transmission2media duo of Angela Kendall and Brian Dutkewich – known for their later work with musical twins Tegan and Sara).

Starting with 2011’s luminous “Arthur” – a song exploring love, memory and aging – Crowe’s videos also marry her song recordings with vintage footage from home-movies, silent films and classics of Georges Méliès, Dimitri Kirsanoff, Nadia Sibirskaia, Salvador Dali, Dominique Monfréy, Josef von Sternberg, D.W. Griffith plus other pioneers and visionaries of cinema (impressionists, surrealists, Dadaists, avant gardists, pop-artists+).

“The strange thing about cinema, and this would go for television film, is that no one really knows why music is needed. I would say after a lifetime in it I could not tell you why. But it is not complete without it… As a matter-of-fact, I may be bold enough to say that with very few exceptions, a piece of film, or a film cannot come to life without the help of music of some kind,” reflected composer Bernard Herrmann, a frequent collaborator with film director Alfred Hitchcock.

The “Master of Suspense”, Hitch himself, observed: “Art is emotion.”

16 Songs” is an artful collection of Allison Crowe musical works with visuals from great creators and innovators – film-makers, animators, painters, photographers: Fernand Léger, Jean Vigo, Buster Keaton, Dave Fleischer & Max Fleischer, Edwin S. Porter, Man Ray, Hans Richter, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder, Winsor McCay, Augusto Genina, René Clair & Georg W. Pabst. Iconic images and figures – Louise Brooks, Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman, Michel Simon, Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, and Kiki de Montparnasse – populate the video album playlist.

“Oh, this is wonderful, it really is,” says Slovenia’s Milka of an advance screening, “I love it.” The art-aficionado from Izola comments: “It is marvellous amalgamation of Allison’s voice and movie’s poetry. Both benefit from each other and give a viewer another dimension for song’s interpretation. While the movie, not known to me, suddenly takes me to place where one never ages. Love it.”

Curtains rise on Allison Crowe’s “16 Songs” video album daily from the New Moon of September 23 to the Full Moon of October 8, 2014. Visit your favourite online video portal to know how it feels.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy (early) 80th Birthday, Leonard Cohen!!

The Real Rick Rutt” ‏@RickRutt  tweets: Sunday, Sept 21, will be Leonard Cohen’s 80th birthday + This song has entranced me for decades. Here is #LeonardCohen80’s fellow Canadian Allison Crowe’s 2004 “Jeanne d’Arc

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why + L’Atalante – Special Screening

Now Showing: Special Screening of “Why + L’Atalante” – one in the series of Allison Crowe’s “16 Songs” video album slated for wide release this month.

In advance of the reel unveiling in sequence, the curtain rises on Allison’s IMDb player – with showings in SD, 480 and HD quality (adjustable settings on the left side of screen):

Famous in its original, glorious, pop incarnation by singer-songwriter Annie Lennox, “Why” is a song recast here by Allison Crowe’s elemental voice and guitar.

Why + L'Atalante - IMDb - Allison Crowe

“Art is emotion” observed Alfred Hitchcock, and the Canadian musician’s singular way of communicating emotion makes her one of the great interpreters in popular music today as well as one of our finest modern songwriters and concert performers.

Strings on this version are gorgeously arranged and orchestrated by Hollywood film-scorer Kayla Schmah – herself an artist inspired by the themes and ideas of Hitch’s frequent collaborator, the brilliant, pioneering, composer Bernard Herrmann.

“This song is stunning. I can’t stop listening to it,” says Dartmouth-based dancer, Julie Dumont, “it makes me want to cry and dance all at the same time”.

The music’s visually paired with an excerpt from Jean Vigo’s marvellous cinema masterpiece – “L’Atalante” (1934).

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3074862105

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sing Out! In Our Global Village

The Leonard Cohen Files’ now lists 567 different cover versions of Leonard Cohen’s much-loved “Hallelujah” – recordings made in dozens of countries and numerous languages: http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/coverlist.php

Hallelujah” is a popular song we’ve been able to widely and directly witness become a standard – as this process has occurred during, and, in part, thanks to, this age of the internet reaching near-ubiquity.

The global expanse of songs such as The Beatles’ “Yesterday”, (with some 3000 interpretations on record), and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, (nearing 1000 covers at latest count – http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm ), and most other tunes which have become standards in the canons of pop and rock – and many more in folk, jazz and other genres – has, largely, been a phenomenon experienced offline (and these songs grew into universal favourites not in our real-time view).

The introduction of “Hallelujah” to a mass audience – via such channels as 2001’s Hollywood hit animated film “Shrek” – has been augmented and amplified by the world wide web.

Music and video sites online enable songs to be shared around, enjoyed and learned – grassroots traditions of jam sessions, campfire sing-alongs, church choirs and other communal ways that music is transported, today can be propelled by the advance in technology (and digital devices, in hand, enable more people to make recordings).

Not only can people world-wide experience music more readily, and in greater richness and variety, than in pre-internet times, folks are now able to express what it all means to them and reflect back to the same giant community “so that all souls can see it”.

For myself, serving as manager to Allison Crowe, a musician creating in these exciting times, one of the profound pleasures now possible is regularly hearing how people are moved by music.

Reflections on Hallelujah” @ http://blog.farmgirlwrites.com/2014/06/reflections-on-hallelujah.html – posted by Washington, DC-based blogger, “Farmgirl Writes”, is the sort of thing that inspires appreciation and understanding of a song and our fellow beings.

And, (especially for those with more dexterity and musical talent or dedication to this course than I), there’s such sites as “Chordify” – which show how we can play the music we love – http://chordify.net/chords/allison-crowe-hallelujah-live-in-the-studio-adrian22

Chordify - Allison Crowe

Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words” – a new book that’s exactly what its title promises – Joni’s voice heard through a trio of decades-spanning interviews with her friend, artist and journalist, Malka Marom – is released this week (officially, September 9, 2014).

Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, offers a typically entertaining and enlightening post in review @ http://1heckofaguy.com/2014/09/03/book-review-joni-mitchell-talks-about-growing-up-art-songwriting-love-and-leonard-cohen

I’ve mentioned this previously in a post to my own (Adrian’s personal facebook) page and – not unrelated to L. Cohen, the nature of popular songs, their interpretation and sharing – this book includes choice commentary.

River... Joni Mitchell’s whole album Blue is timeless,” Allison remarked when she covered the uniquely ever-green song on her own album “Tidings” in 2004.

And “River”, like “Hallelujah”, has witnessed an accelerated cultural expanse and embrace in these digital media times. Currently, Bob Muller, the Grand Poobah of Covers at JoniMitchell.com, tracks 402 different versions of Mitchell’s song @ http://jonimitchell.com/music/covers-most.cfm

The song established itself steadily over the decades – with some 200 covers being made from the time of its release on “Blue” in 1971 to 2007. In these last seven years, the total number of “River” covers has doubled.

In this new book, the brilliant singer, songwriter, composer, painter+ tells her confidante and interviewer: “There was a funny article in the L.A. Times. The guy was ranting, ‘Why are all these people covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’? It’s overexposed.’ That’s what he said, and I thought, ‘This person has no concept of what a standard is. A standard is a good song enjoyed by many.’ A lot of singers wanted to sing it, and it kept the song alive.”

Malka asks: “How do you feel when people sing your songs, any song, or play it completely different, like with ‘normal’ chords, and different arrangements?”

Joni says: “I think it’s great, I feel honoured. I like the idea of songs being sung. I like the idea that people who can’t even sing are singing them…”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Famous Blue Raincoat – Allison Crowe – live Jazzhaus Freiburg

Much audio and video to catch up with – from Allison Crowe’s touring. Herewith, a recording from Firenze:

YouTube Preview Image

Allison Crowe’s live interpretation of “Famous Blue Raincoat” – captured by Diego in concerto at Teatro del Sale in Florence, Italy during Crowe’s sensational May 2014 “Heavy Graces” tour.

This song is among those in Allison Crowe’s repertoire penned by the great, and greatly-loved, Canadian poet, author, singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Hallelujah” – Allison Crowe performs Leonard Cohen

Tonight, at the Banff Centre, a cultural beacon alight in the majestic Rocky Mountains since 1933, Canada’s amazing Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents an exciting and inspiring mixed program of dance from three exceptional choreographers: “Quantz by Quanz” (Peter Quanz); “The Doorway” (Jorden Morris); “Pas D’Action” (Brian Macdonald).

The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen”, choreographed by Jorden Morris, lattices interviews/spoken word recordings, along with: “The Letters” performed by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes for the CD “Dear Heather“; “Bird on a Wire” as recorded by Adam Cohen for the compilation “A Song for My Father”; “Hallelujah” – the “Tidings” album recording by Allison Crowe; “Since You Asked“, a poem composed by Judy Collins and recited by Leonard Cohen from the CD “Born to the Breed”; and “Sisters of Mercy” recorded live by iconic US singer-songwriter Cris Williamson on the CD “Circle of Friends“.

The RWB was the first company anywhere in the world to stage a production melding works of the Montreal-born singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist – presenting “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen“, with choreography by Brian Macdonald, in 1970. Choreographer Jorden Morris’ “The Doorway” opened in 2012 and, again, represents a company uniquely in tune with the zeitgeist.

Cohen, at age 79, is today enjoying universal appreciation of his works. “Hallelujah” is a much-loved modern standard. His recordings, from “Suzanne” to “The Darkness”+, remain as popular now as the day of their release. A key to such timeless appeal was revealed some years back – when asked by an interviewer about the impact of commercialization, the songwriter explained:

“Well, each person here at this table is a victim of the commercialization of life. I’m sure I haven’t escaped. But I can say one thing – I have been tempted by the money. I have been tempted by the glory… I don’t think there is any man that can escape those temptations. But I feel that I have not put out any songs that were designed to exploit the commercial market.”

http://www.vimeo.com/85053330

Allison Crowe’s first release of “Hallelujah” was over ten years ago – http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/hallelujah – and, it, too, has continued to increase in resonance since the “Tidings” EP of 2003. Here, in video form, Allison performs Cohen’s song – captured in real-time by film director Alex Postowoi and crew and audio engineer Larry Anschell at Turtle Recording by-the-sea in White Rock, BC, Canada. (As with recent Beatles’ interpretations from this same live-in-the-studio session, this is in higher-fidelity than has been previously available.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet Opens “Doorway” Anew

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet will perform its brilliant and beautiful dance, choreographed by Jorden Morris – “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” in a mixed repertoire program – January 25, 2014 at the Eric Harvie Theatre, The Banff Centre – Alberta, Canada:

http://www.banffcentre.ca/event/6346/royal-winnipeg-ballet?d=2014-01-25+19%3A30

Royal Winnipeg Ballet returns to The Banff Centre with a unique mixed program that will not appear anywhere else on their Canadian tour. The complex and beautiful songs of Leonard Cohen come to life in Jorden Morris’s new ballet, The Doorway. Plus works by Banff Centre alumnus Peter Quanz, William Forsyth, and Canadian dance legend, Brian Macdonald.

Repertoire includes:

Quantz by Quanz – Peter Quanz

The Doorway – Jorden Morris

Pas D’Action – Brian Macdonald”

Amazing choreography, dancers and spirit combine for one of the most exciting and enervating collaborative opportunities ever enjoyed by Allison Crowe – whose interpretation of Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, she’s thrilled, is part of this ballet:http://music.allisoncrowe.com/track/hallelujah

Banff, already a wonderful place to be, will be even moreso when theRWB comes to town!

Sophia Lee in performance of "The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen" - Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Sophia Lee dances to Allison Crowe’s performance of “Hallelujah” in “The Doorway: Scenes from Leonard Cohen” – during the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s debut run in May 2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Famous Blue Raincoat” mash-up

Concluding “Heavy Graces”, the audio album, and the music-movie mash-up series that accompanies Allison Crowe’s newest release – is this second version of “Famous Blue Raincoat”.

The song’s composer, Leonard Cohen, says, it reflects on the “tyranny” of possession — of the kind that enslaves us as women and men.
YouTube Preview Image
Impressionistic visuals come from director Josef von Sternberg’s 1930/31 film “The Blue Angel” (“Der blaue Engel“). Experience this classic movie in full @ http://archive.org/details/theblueangel1930

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Better Man”, “Control”, + “Dissolve”

“It seems our favorite independent singer-songwriter is more determined than ever to forge her own path. I predict we’ll be seeing Allison Crowe not once but twice on our best of the year list,” says music blogger Muruch in a review of Allison’s new album, “Heavy Graces”, (and referencing “Newfoundland Vinyl”, her LP/album out earlier this year): http://www.muruch.com/2013/10/allison-crowe-heavy-graces.html

Heavy Graces includes new songs from the pen and soul of Allison Crowe, alongside the Canadian artist’s interpretations of tunes composed by Leonard Cohen and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
It’s accompanied by a series of music-movie mash-ups.
Here she covers a favourite by Eddie Vedder – first performed by EV with the band Bad Radio – and, then, naturally, with Pearl Jam.

Allison Crowe identifies “Vitalogy“, PJ’s 1994 album, as one of the central music influences during her formative teen years. She tells music blogger, Stephen Thomas (co-founder of the UK’s Folkroom Records):

“And, of course, I have ALWAYS dreamed in colour and loved Better Man.”

“Singing along to ‘Better Man’ with an entire Vancouver concert audience the first time I ever managed to experience Pearl Jam live… is something I will never forget. We were freaking GOOD singers! I can’t wait to experience that again.”

With her own, roots rock, version of the song, Crowe brings past and present together musically. Visually, as well, time is elastic and themes impressionistic.

YouTube Preview Image

The music is joined by an excerpt from the silent film classic “Broken Blossoms” – directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows, Donald Crisp as Battling Burrows, (her abusive father), and Richard Barthelmess as Cheng Huan (who befriends and nurses Lucy).

The original songs from Allison Crowe’s new album are visually paired with scenes from the classic Buster Keaton silent film, “The General” – several videos of which we’ve posted already – combining humor and pathos.

Now, here’s “Control“:

YouTube Preview Image

and, “Dissolve“:

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,