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).

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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

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“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.

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16 Songs – Video Album

We now know the song listing for Allison Crowe’s upcoming 16 Song music video series:

Disease

Why

Circular Reasoning

Creep

There Is

Doughnut Song

Running

Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

Spiral

Sweet Dreams

Effortless

Josephine

Double-Edged Swords

Running for Home

Alive and Breathing

Throw Your Arms Around Me

Allison Crowe - 16 Song Video Album - cover

This new music video series launches September 9, 2014 (a shift from the September 2 date originally announced).

A magical mystery tour of music with visuals from great artists and innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries – film-makers, animators, painters, photographers and more… – it’s a multi-media expression of the artist’s mission to make “Soulful. Alive. Joyous. Grievous. Real, true, music.” ( http://allisoncrowe.com/bio.html )

This 16 song video album pairs Allison’s originals with some singular interpretations – underscoring an observation of Allan Showalter, aka DrHGuy, delightful chronicler “On Life, Love, Lust, & Leonard Cohen” – “Once you’ve heard one Allison Crowe song, You’ve heard one Allison Crowe song.” ( http://1heckofaguy.com/2009/01/27/wedding-song-allison-crowes-small-masterwork )

It’s a season of cryptic crosswords and other, puzzling, fun. Here, now, are 16 visual clues – screenshots from each of the videos in the series. Some you may recognize, some you may not have seen before…

Imagine which goes with which song in the set-list – this September details will be revealed, and matches will be made.

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Allison Crowe in Be-CREATIVE: Found in Translation

Italy’s Be-CREATIVE has Allison on its cover this month – http://be-creative.lifestylecommunity.it/3 – and, now, the feature is translated for us all by the fine Italian hand of Rhonda C.

Allison Crowe: La Sua Voce Ha Stregato Anche L’uomo D’acciaio,” says the publication’s cover – “Allison Crowe: her voice has bewitched even the Man of Steel” – and, here’s the rest of the story:

Allison Crowe, originally from Nanaimo, (November 16, 1981), is a Canadian singer-songwriter and pianist. She records for her own label, Rubenesque Records Ltd.  Her first albums, Secrets and Tidings, were published in 2004, while the double album Live at Wood Hall, recorded live on tour, was published in July, 2005.  She also produced a DVD containing live in-the-studio performances made during the recording of Tidings, in November 2005.

Of Irish, Scottish and Manx descent, Allison grew up listening to jazz, classical, and rock, and under the influences of musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, and Counting Crows.

Her music is the result of the union of all these genres, and the uniqueness of her voice has such force that it has been compared to that of Mahalia Jackson.  She usually accompanies herself with the piano.

Her percussive style, characterized by a great physicality, was often associated with the pioneers of R&B and rock and roll like Fats Domino. She perform as a soloist, and has also been a part of musical bands, specifically a trio known as the Allison Crowe Band (2000-2003).

One of her songs, Whether I’m Wrong, composed in early 2003, was selected for the initiative endorsed by UNESCO, New Songs for Peace.  However, she is also very popular for her interpretations of songs by other authors, from Jerome Kern and Pearl Jam, through to John Lennon, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Her interpretation of the song Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) was named Record of the Week by Record of the Day (UK) in August 2004, and again in November, 2005.  Towards the end of 2005, she held a series of concerts in Europe, with stops in Dublin, London, Monaco, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris.  In the spring of 2006, Allison Crowe made a coast-to-coast tour of her own country, making most of the journey by VIA Rail Canada Company.

In October 2006, she released her new album, This Little Bird, and subsequently held a series of concerts that have touched England, Ireland, and Scotland. On March 17, 2010, she released the album “Spiral“.  Recently, she has also performed in Italy, specifically in 2010, and 2012, at the Teatro del Sale in Florence. In 2013, she appeared in a cameo role in the film “Man of Steel” directed by Zack Snyder and released in Italian cinemas on June 20.

Q: Hi Allison, how are you?  Singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist: with which of these roles do you identify most?

A: I’m doing great, thanks! I don’t know if there is one thing that I do that expresses myself the best – I’d have to say it’s likely a combo of all of these things! I’m always wanting to learn new ways to express myself and explore new things, and they sort of all work together in that way.

Q: In addition to having made several albums, you also really love the connection with the audience, and the thing that is more amazing is that your voice is as beautiful, and vibrant live as on CD.  How important is it for you the relationship with your fans?

A: I think my favourite part of what I do is the live performance and getting to interact with a live audience, and see and hear how they respond. My relationship with my audience is incredibly important to me, as the energy I get from people is energy I put in to doing what I do.

Q: Where do you prefer to perform: in large concert halls, or in a more intimate environment, perhaps with fewer people?

A: All of the different types of venues all have great features! A smaller, cozier show is nice because everyone is up close and it’s such a nice feeling, whereas a larger seated theatre show is maybe more dramatic and theatrical – due to the various circumstances that come with that. (lighting, seating, etc.) – and outdoor shows are big, fun and lively events with lots of energy. They are pretty much all good, in their different ways!

Q: From where does the  inspiration for your albums come?

A: I get inspiration for writing from different places for each album – a lot of it has come from my past relationships with people or the world around me. This new album (Heavy Graces) is more to do with my relationship with myself, than anything else, and how I go about dealing with and viewing that, from both in and outside of myself.

Q: Your slogan is “Why music?  Why breathing?”. With this phrase it is as if you want to say that music is life, energy for your soul. True?

A: It is! I find if I go too long without music, in one way or another, I feel like something is missing – especially live performance. It’s just who I am

Q: You recently loaned your song “Snow” for a dance performance – Ellipses Dance Company’s debut on video of a work entitled “The Writer”.  How has this experience left you?

A: It’s very cool to see a song I’ve written be used for dance – I love dance (and I wish I could dance like that!). I love seeing someone’s interpretation of what I’ve written through movement, and they’ve done such a wonderful job!

Q: You recently participated in the film “Man of Steel” about the origins of Superman. How’s it to play “yourself”, a singer, in such an important movie?

A: It was such a cool experience being in Man of Steel – just to see how everything works, and what everyone else does in making a movie, and how good they are at what they do! For me, playing a singer in a bar definitely wasn’t a stretch, and is something I’ve done for a very long time, so it felt pretty natural.

Q: Plans for the future?  Maybe a visit to Italy for your concerts?

A: My new album, Heavy Graces, was released on October 15, and I will be in Europe for a tour in 2014, in the Spring, and hopefully in Italy soon.

Nota Bene: Allison Crowe anticipates at least two European tour visits in 2014

To the Be-CREATIVE collaborators we say grazie!! Buon Natale – to all! :)

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Allison Crowe lands on MarsBands

The universal appeal of Allison Crowe now includes Mars – the founder of MarsBands.com – which launches its web station today with this entertaining interview. On this well-read planet it’s reigning cats and dog. ack! ack!

More exploration of MarsBands turns up this fun profile – which describes Allison Crowe as “the best thing to come out of Canada since hockey.” High praise, indeed :)

Allison Crowe - Vienna - photo by Billie Woods

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Playboy Mommy (live, solo)

Playboy Mommy“. Says Allison Crowe: “There’s a freedom of artistry listening to and learning the songs of Tori Amos. A raw, emotional, sometimes confusing, wackiness. It’s okay to pound the notes out if you’re angry, so long as you remember to delicately fondle the notes later on. You can be strange and beautiful.” (Applause)YouTube Preview Image

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Allison Crowe’s New Double-A-Side-Single, and Album Plans

Acclaimed musician is ready with new recordings and fresh direction

Musician Allison Crowe, one of the world’s great songwriters and live performers, releases a double-A side digital single this Summer featuring a piano-based original song “Arthur” and an interpretation of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)” on guitar.

The bicoastal Canadian artist is in pre-production of her eighth album – advancing a series of critically and commercially successful recordings. Her label, Rubenesque Records Ltd., is celebrating ten years of establishment-free creation.

In a recent interview with Helen Jayne Reid of CornerBrooker.com Crowe reveals some of the creative impetus to her next full-length release. She cites the heavier, industrial, production sound heard in “from the choirgirl hotel”-era Tori Amos, and the recordings of Nine Inch Nails. NIN’s Trent Reznor is also exemplary as a creator not bound by the corporate calculation of popular music today.

Recognizing the truth of John Lennon’s lyric, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”, Allison Crowe is giving a window of 12 – 18 months to solve intricate production puzzles with the current album collection of ten songs and a poem, “Snow“.

While in pre-production this Summer, Crowe performs a single live show – as part of TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival concert series in Cow Head, near her Atlantic home of Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Allison Crowe’s double-A-side single, “Arthur” and “Up to the Mountain” is set for release next month (July, 2011 – on iTunes et al).

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