|Joanna Newsom — Divers (October 23, 2015)|
Joanna Newsom — Divers (October 23, 2015) •≡♠ ... .further along and down the road apiece from where she took her leave of us, Joanna Newsom plays on. Breathe deep and equalize your today–ears to the new world of Divers...
•≡♠ Speaking about the album’s creative process in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said “I ... spent a year or two on the instrumental arrangements and overdubs. I wanted the character and colors of the instrumentation to shift definitively, from song to song, which entailed a wide pool of collaborators and a lengthy collaborative process with each person.” She further described the process of making the album as “probably the most fun I’ve had making a record”. Entertainment Weekly also reported Newsom “as using an arsenal of nearly a dozen keyboards and synths including clavichords, mellotrons and Marxophones” for the album while members of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra feature as players on the album.
Birth name: Joanna Caroline Newsom
Born: January 18, 1982, Nevada City, California, United States
Notable instruments: Harp, Piano
Location: Nevada City, California
Album release: October 23, 2015
Record Label: Drag City
01 Anecdotes 6:27
02 Sapokanikan 5:11
03 Leaving the City 3:48
04 Goose Eggs 5:01
05 Waltz of the 101st Lightborne 5:22
06 The Things I Say 2:35
07 Divers 7:07
08 Same Old Man 2:26
09 You Will Not Take My Heart Alive 4:01
10 A Pin–Light Bent 4:26
10 Time, As a Symptom 5:28
•≡♠ Producer Joanna Newsom Review
By Laura Snapes; October 19, 2015; Score: 8.5
•≡♠ Joanna Newsom’s Divers is an album about a profound love, but it hardly features any love songs. The singer/songwriter recently explained to Uncut that her marriage in 2013 had invited death into her life, “because there is someone you can’t bear to lose,” she said. “When it registers as true, it’s like a little shade of grief comes in when love is its most real version. Then it contains death inside of it, and then that death contains love inside of it.” There is only one domestic vignette on the record, towards the end of “Leaving the City”, where Newsom and her love go running on a beautiful day. Immediately, though, her high dims: “The spirit bends beneath knowing it must end.” 2010’s Have One on Me traced the death of a relationship as Newsom tried and failed to defeat a proud man’s human nature. On Divers, she attempts to defeat time to stave off death.
•≡♠ To bear the weight of its subject, Divers fits to scale, ornate and roaming after the intimacies of Have One on Me. The arrangements — tackled by Newsom along with eight different musicians, including Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth, and her brother Pete — cover the ground of all her past work in a fraction of the time, making this her most dynamic and exhilarating album. The first half in particular veers between baroque poise, jaunty blues, and rococo beauty, as if searching for answers in disparate places. Landlocked between the dry, acoustic arrangements of “The Things I Say” and “Same Old Man”, the lilting harp and piano of the title track casts her lover as a deep sea diver and measures the distance between them, “how the infinite divides.” The meticulous internal rhymes in the chorus of “Leaving the City” contract against the tug of her harp, a cascade of tiny parts that form a huge, billowing whole, like tiny bones in a vast wingspan. “The longer you live, the higher the rent,” she sings inside the frenzy. •≡♠ Divers makes a landscape out of this abstract fear of loss. On the courtly “Anecdotes” and “Waltz of the 101st Lightborne”, she is part of a battle fought by birds to try and wrest control of time. “You Will Not Take My Heart Alive” is the most Ren Fair piece here, on which Newsom contemplates ascension to some transcendent plane, “[severing] all strings to everyone and everything.” Its sister song “A Pin–Light Bent” descends sadly back towards reason and reconciliation of her unsuccessful quest to outrun time. “In our lives is a common sense/ That relies on the common fence/ That divides and attends,” she sings with palpable mourning, accepting that her life, “until the time is spent, is a pin–light, bent.” Where this kind of cosmic existentialism could come off like a stoner marveling at the moon, Newsom pulls it off with balance of poetry and reason. Her fantastical world is sometimes hard to get your head around, but it brings surreal, sometimes sci–fi delight to a record that’s otherwise often lyrically despairing.
•≡♠ Where Newsom’s second and third records each overhauled what came before, Divers is a refinement that draws on elements of each of its predecessors. The shapes of her records often get misinterpreted as concepts themselves, rather than the sign of a writer attuned to her work’s needs. Ys from 2006 was the five–song suite; Have One on Me from 2010, the three–disc opus. On its surface Divers is more conventional, a single disc where nine of its 11 songs are under six minutes long, but it also happens to be a wild, genuine concept album. The final song, “Time, As a Symptom”, ends with Newsom in raptures, commanding white stars, birds, and ships to “transcend!” On the very last burst, she clips the word to “trans — ”. The first word on opener “Anecdotes” is “sending.” It is a perfect loop. •≡♠ Most artists on their fourth album settle into atrophy, or at least comfort, Newsom delivers such complex, nuanced music, filled with arcane constructions, that she is only her own yardstick. (In a recent interview about Divers, David Longstreth cited The Milk–Eyed Mender as one of the reasons he quit college: “[What] am I doing here if someone is already out there making music like this, on this level?”) Her consummate craft is a given; what surprises every time is her ceaselessly renewing sensitivity for life’s vicissitudes and the fantastic ways she finds to express them. Divers is not a puzzle to crack, but a dialog that generously articulates the intimate chasm of loss, the way it’s both irrational and very real. Nothing will stem the fear of a loved one’s death, which western culture does little to prepare us for until the very end, but by pulling at the prospect of mortality from every angle, Newsom emerges straighter–spined, and invites you to stand alongside her. •≡♠ http://pitchfork.com/
Label: http://www.dragcity.com/ // INTERVIEW, Tim Lewis, Sunday 18 October 2015 09.00 BST
♠•≡♠ http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/oct/18/joanna-newsom-it-was-tonic-to-know-not-insane-interview Style:
•≡♠ Newsom’s early work was strongly influenced by polyrhythms. After Ys, Newsom said she had lost interest in polyrhythms. They “stopped being fascinating to me and started feeling wanky.”
•≡♠ The media have sometimes labeled her as one of the most prominent members of the modern psych folk movement. Newsom, however, claims no ties to any particular music scene. Her songwriting incorporates elements of Appalachian music and avant–garde modernism.
•≡♠ Newsom’s vocal style (in the November 2006 issue of The Wire, she described her voice as “untrainable”) has shadings of folk and Appalachian shaped–note timbres. Newsom has, however, expressed disappointment at comments that her singing is “child–like.”
•≡♠ Critics noticed a change in Newsom’s voice on her album Have One on Me. In the spring of 2009, Newsom developed vocal cord nodules and could not speak or sing for two months. The recovery from the nodules and further “vocal modifications” changed her voice.
♠• The Milk–Eyed Mender (Drag City, 2004)
♠• Ys (Drag City, 2006) US #134, UK #41
♠• Have One on Me (Drag City, 2010) US #75, UK #28
♠• Divers (Drag City, 2015)
♠• Walnut Whales (self–released, 2002)
♠• Yarn and Glue (self–released, 2003)
♠• Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band (Drag City, 2007) UK #135
♠• “Sprout and the Bean” (Drag City, 2004)
♠• “What We Have Known” (Drag City, 2011)
|Joanna Newsom — Divers (October 23, 2015)|
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