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Úvodní stránka » RECORDS » RECORDS II » The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger — Midnight Sun (2014)

 The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger — Midnight Sun (April 29th, 2014)

USA Flag The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger — Midnight Sun

♦   Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl head to the outer limits with this kaleidoscopic new album.
♦   The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is a band formed in 2008 by Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
Sean Taro Ono Lennon (Japanese name Tarō Ono (小野 太郎 Ono Tarō); born October 9, 1975
Charlotte Kemp Muhl born August 17, 1987
Location: Brooklyn, New York City
Album release: April 29th, 2014
Record Label: Chimera Music label
Duration:     49:43
01 Too Deep     2:30
02 Xanadu     3:13
03 Animals     4:19
04 Johannesburg     3:48
05 Midnight Sun     3:43
06 Last Call     6:02
07 Devil You Know     3:30
08 Golden Earring     4:24
09 Great Expectations     4:40
10 Poor Paul Getty     2:57
11 Don't Look Back Orpheus     3:52
12 Moth to a Flame     6:45
Victor Young 8
Charlotte Kemp Muhl/Sean Ono Lennon 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11
Sean Ono Lennon/Charlotte Kemp Muhl 1, 7, 9, 10, 12
Andris Balins  Engineer, Organ (Hammond)
Thomas Bartlett  Wurlitzer
Will Berman  Drums
Greg Calbi  Mastering
C.J. Camerieri  Horn
Matthew Cullen  Engineer
Pete Drungle  Strings
Ray Evans  Composer
Dave Fridmann  Mixing
Michael Fridmann  Engineer
Scott Hollingsworth  Engineer
Sean Lennon  Bass, Composer, Cover Illustration, Drums, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Musician, Organ, Percussion, Synthesizer, Vocals
Michael Leonhart  Horn
Jay Livingston  Composer
Hugh Mallard  Drums, Percussion
Charlotte Kemp Muhl  Bass, Collage, Coloring, Composer, Engineer, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Kalimba, Percussion, Synthesizer, Vibraphone
Mark Ronson  Bass, Producer
Jared Samuel  Bass, Bells, Calliope, Guitar, Harpsichord, Organ, Organ (Hammond), Strings, Synthesizer
Tom Schick  Engineer
Hirotaka "Shimmy" Shimizu  Slide Guitar
Geoff Thorpe  Art Direction
Kenta Yonesaka  Engineer
Victor Young  Composer
♦↑♦   Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl head to the outer limits with this kaleidoscopic new album.
♦↑♦   Moth To A Flame, the album’s transportative closer, finds Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl in full psychedelic guise, echoing the minor–key atmospherics of Pink Floyd’s Breathe alongside a celestial chorus and mercurial slide guitar.
♦↑♦   Midnight Sun follows 2010’s Mark Ronson–produced Jardin Du Luxembourg and the same year’s homegrown Acoustic Sessions.
♦↑♦   In more recent times, the duo have toured with fellow psych voyagers The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, while Lennon found time to release Mystical Weapons with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and continue his role as Musical Director of his mother’s Plastic Ono Band. Muhl, meanwhile, immersed herself in the folk world with Kemp & Eden. (http://www.mojo4music.com/)
John Perry Barlow
♦↑♦   On April 29th 2014, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (The GOASTT) will release Midnight Sun, a guided tour of bold, shape–shifting sonic murals and evocative lyrical panoramas. Plucking musical ingredients from all over the map, the album has a highly imaginative and distinct feel. It celebrates the unusual and the grandiose but fundamentally just rocks hard and feels good.
♦↑♦   Like the hero in the album’s melancholy “Don’t Look Back Orpheus” who takes a journey into a dreamlike underworld, the listener embarks on an auditory voyage of soaring whimsical keyboards and crunching space–age guitars that blends original melodies with kaleidoscopic freakouts. Midnight Sun injects a surreal landscape with colorful, classic hooks.
♦↑♦   With an infectious sense of adventure akin to Beck and Flaming Lips, and several years of touring and recording under their belt, the GOASTT takes their creative and savvy approach to psychedelia to new extremes. The ambitious songs flow cleverly together with unexpected ease to tell a vivid and provocative story.
♦↑♦   Familiar yet compelling, visceral and vital, Midnight Sun is at once a response to the bizarre world we’ve inherited and helped to create, and a refreshing escapist daydream that, if not hopeful, is keenly insightful. The GOASTT has given us a record that is poised to be a postmodern–psychedelic classic.
♦↑♦   The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger has been busy since their debut. The band toured with The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Jean–Claude Vannier and released a Record Store Day vinyl EP entitled La Carotte Bleue. Muhl released an EP with her teenage folk duo Kemp & Eden, who also performed in the film Greetings From Tim Buckley. Lennon, meanwhile, released a record by his experimental duo Mystical Weapons with Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, a film score to the indie comedy Alter Egos and produced the new album by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.
♦↑♦   The GOASTT is two people, Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. It is, in itself, a chimera; a fabulous creature made with parts of two distinctly different creatures. It is also an acronym, as you might guess from its being capitalized like that. By virtue of being a friend to, and fan of, both the zygotes in this organism, I know what its letters stand for, but it's not mine to reveal. I expect they will do so at some future point.
♦↑♦   Having driven my Ducati to Sean and Kemp’s house through the darkened October streets of 4 am New York to type these words, I realize the absurdity of my task. If I wrote a novel and gave its protagonists stories of origin like the ones from which the two parts of GOASTT arose, people would say I was a fabulist in need of a hyperboectomy. Or an artless sophomore. But life is allowed a liberty with plotlines that novelists are not. Take these two:
♦↑♦   Sean Lennon is a man of many hats. Like an alien who fell to earth and had to quickly assimilate humanity, he is a vast rolodex of accents, facts, farce, a myriad of motor skills (from archery to sketching) and can play any musical instrument (as if all undertakings are merely transposable keys to a song he knows by heart). Hyper–aware, there’s almost nothing he isn’t good at... This may be the result of his legendary genetic endowment, or simply the enormous pressure of his parentage; his father was perhaps the most accessible and experimental songwriter of his century. But, just as he reached the age of 5 when his father might have reared him with the milk and honey of nurture rather than the iron fist of nature, Sean’s father was assassinated. As a consequence of this huge event and other shadows, Sean's life has been strangely both circumscribed and exaggerated. To the insouciant improvisational “Art is a Verb!” nature of his parents was added a welter of natural anxieties that would have made Woody Allen feel at home.
♦↑♦   When I briefly encountered Sean’s mother as an avant garde artist at Wesleyan University in January of 1966, I thought she had the most original mind I’d ever met. ♦↑♦   Later as she was dragged across the yawning screen of American hypercelebrity, I didn't know what to think, save that she, and all around her, seemed improbable.
♦↑♦   And improbable was the first word that came to mind when I met Kemp Muhl almost exactly 40 years later.
♦↑♦   Though her background was as unlikely as Sean’s, hers was as private in its peculiarities as his was public. And her origins as the Georgian daughter of a military lieutenant colonel who had been nipped off to be a supermodel in New York, at about the tender age improbably beautiful girls are usually abducted — which is, chronologically at least, almost criminally young — did not in any way explain the fact that she has the other most original mind I had ever encountered.
♦↑♦   After meeting Kemp, I followed her around to the extent that I could move quickly enough— not, like most others, for the scenery, but because I found her casual triple-entendres, her “Kempisms,” to be so improbably delicious in my mind...
♦↑♦   She is such a free–running spring of cool creativity, that it didn't surprise me much when, shortly after she paired off with Sean and began to experience the musical ecosystem that is his unique mind, she revealed herself to have an utterly original sense of melody and lyrical realization as well. Her lines are like Borges short stories. I might have known.
♦↑♦   As a symbol of her transformation for Sean, she now goes by Charlotte (her first name), much like a Native American who gets a new name upon having killed their first buffalo. Erstwhile Sean, (since his past chapters of turmoil and Shakespearean tragedy,) has shed the dark scales of his brooding artist skin for that of a newfound composer and puckish poet of an invincible fiber.
♦↑♦   My great fortune lies in being an audience very close at hand to the gestation, birth, and early being of The GOASST. It is beautiful and strange and new. Let us watch it grow together.
♦↑♦   The current musical offering from the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger finds pop/psych/folk/garage troubadours Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon partnering with Brooklyn, N.Y. — based Invisible Familiars, combining their talents to take the group’s sound from deep minstrel forests into a swirling dissonance of psychedelic space.
♦↑♦   Every song on Midnight Sun contains some sort of musical anomaly that sends the listener on a sonic search to reveal more secrets.
♦↑♦   A follow up collection to 2010’s intimate living room recording Acoustic Sessions, and the luminescent electrified EP Le Carotte Bleue, the new album begins with the stifling fuzzy pulse of “Too Deep,” a neon warning from Lennon to “keep holding your breath, because you’re already dead.”
♦↑♦   The song extracts a feeling of breathlessness from the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger vocal blend that rings itself out over the psych–soaked guitar mantra. The song is a powerful and dark opener that sets the table for the grand feast to follow.
♦↑♦   Midnight Sun continues with “Xanadu,” a song constructed like a mystical crystal palace, backwards guitars, and hallucinatory keyboard orchestrations mix and match, while swirling and spreading out into new multifarious colorization’s of music. This new recording, taken in contrast to previous GOASTT excursions, is comparable to a new panoramic view of a multicolored alien landscape, which the listener was previously only allowed to glimpse through a cobwebbed keyhole.
♦↑♦   The ravaging track “Animals,” is the recipient of an addictive melody, tripped out with funky drums and sunrise harmony vocals that slowly gain the horizon before basking in sunny glory during the expansive chorus. The group has recently released a must-see video for this song, properly conveying the hallucinatory nature and of the track.
♦↑♦   The recognizable quirkiness of GOASTT, so apparent on their debut release, is abundant again in “Johannesburg,” where Muhl takes her first seductive vocal of the collection. This light funk travelogue has a luscious guitar break sweet enough to pucker the lips and is sprinkled with numerous sonic delights. Next, the title track becomes a delirious stumble into a smoky moist underground of late night ravers, trippers, hipsters and jet setters lining disorienting halls of sound. Wailing sirens and elongated organ flourishes illuminate the narcotic combined guitar/bass central riff.
♦↑♦   A stage favorite of the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, the musically diverse opus “Last Call” is given a proper studio reading on this set. Rising from its humble beginnings the song flourishes by its well traveled conclusion, allowing the younger Lennon a moment to show off his soulful guitar prowess. “Devil You Know” is another thick slab of prismatic melodies enveloped in astral echo and reverb. The song develops like a painting being created in front of your eyes in shades of red, the dual vocals and conflicted descending guitar riff the songs pulse points.
♦↑♦   “Golden Earring” follows, sounding like an ancient melody reverberating through time, gaining electrification along its travels. Lennon’s vocals elicit his mother’s vocal approach in timbre and attitude and slight vibrato. The song changes from its strange worldly verse into a set of swinging soul chorus changes. Similar to the aforementioned “Last Note,” Lennon again coaxes some gritty attitude from his guitar, enclosing the song brick by brick around an icy mellotron finish.
♦↑♦   The trio of tracks leading to the albums close, “Great Expectations,” “Poor Paul Getty” and “Don’t Look Back Orpheus” stay closer to the archeology of the first collection of songs created by the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger in 2010.
♦↑♦   “Great Expectations” is a breezy drift that highlights all of the songwriting strengths of Lennon and Muhl, illustrating a catchy chorus and a well thought-out arrangement. “Poor Paul Getty” has a nice power–pop groove and is possibly the most straight forward of the songs on the collection. Braided vocals and a tight arrangement highlight the dulcet quality of the song. Finally, “Don’t Look Back Orpheus” truly could be an Acoustic Sessions left over — and this is not a bad thing. The song is nestled nicely like a delicate flower among tall trees. Music box keyboards and transparent percussion ornately frame perfect Muhl and Lennon vocals. The duo sings as one, skipping through the carnival changes.
♦↑♦   Midnight Sun concludes with the melting wax of “Moth to a Flame,” a maelstrom of piercing guitar effects, blinding white noise, dreamy slide and a very Pink Floyd vibe. The wordless sing song vocalizations that circulate through the static and madness, lend the song beautifully conflicting emotion. The song is a massive hallucination to close the album with and a fitting ending statement for the story of the record.
♦↑♦   The alternative universe created by the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger here is filled with dark undergrounds, vaudevillian aliens, ancient cults and undiscovered worlds. Lennon and Muhl have again successfully combined art, commentary with diverse sonic accompaniment in an original way that subscribes to no genre except that developed in their own imaginations. With this display of new music, Lennon and Muhl have dipped their cups into the deep cool water of inspiration, disseminating a variegated miscellany of their collaboration. (http://somethingelsereviews.com/)
Website: http://theghostofasabertoothtiger.com/

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger — Midnight Sun (2014)




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