Antony and the Johnsons: Cut the World (Unspk)

 |   |  1 min read

Antony and the Johnsons: I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy
Antony and the Johnsons: Cut the World (Unspk)

There are many people these days -- Leonard Cohen, Laurie Anderson, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright (who delivered an exceptional, witty, sometimes emotionally intense, upbeat then flamboyantly outre show on Friday night in Auckland), Scott Walker, Dudley Benson and many others -- who exist within the broad parameters of "rock culture" (because that's where they are mostly interviewed, profiled and reviewed) but are not really part of it.

And the extraordinary transgender singer-writer Antony Hegarty is one of those.

His high and affecting voice can be as transporting as that of an opera singer (or Little Jimmy Scott), and his songs explore the more thoughtful and rare areas of existence and mortality. It ain't for everyone.

This album, recorded live with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra a year ago, mostly traverses songs from his singular back-catalogue and only the conceit of his seven and a half minute spoken word/musing Future Feminism (interesting, provocative and offering his particular world view and beliefs, but you'll skip it after you've heard it once) pulls it back from being accorded that rarest of opinions, "essential".

Hegarty really is a person apart from the more mundane aspects of this world and the musical settings here -- uplifting on You Are My Sister, ballad-noir for the exceptional, engrossing Swanlights which follows -- are within a pinch of perfection.

He may seem to dwell on a higher plane and breathe a more rare air, but it would be a cynical or inordinately prejudiced heart that wasn't moved by this (the wordy bit excepted) and didn't somehow feel strangely transported.

As with Dudley Benson's recent live album (here), this resets the co-ordinates on some familiar material by placing them in an emotionally different setting and lets the intellectual and artistic vision be heard anew.

Probably "essential".

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Head and the Heart: Let's Be Still (SubPop)

The Head and the Heart: Let's Be Still (SubPop)

Many online music reviews have the tag, “for fans of . . .” so let's cut to that for this musically delightful, thoughtful second album by a Seattle band of mostly out-of-state... > Read more

Koop: Best of Koop 1997-2007 (K7)

Koop: Best of Koop 1997-2007 (K7)

When it comes to cool, sophisticated, swinging and intelligent clubland-cum-lounge pop, Koop out of Sweden take some beating. The electronica duo of Oscar Simonsson and Magnus Zungmark sensibly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Alice Coltrane: Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Alice Coltrane: Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop/Southbound)

Although well-known in jazz circles for albums such as A Monastic Trio, Ptah the El Daoud, Universal Consciousness and others under her own name on the Impulse label, the pianist-composer Alice... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE COMPILER'S QUESTIONNAIRE: Karl Lock

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE COMPILER'S QUESTIONNAIRE: Karl Lock

There is an art to putting together a good compilation album. The tracks must hang together in some kind of logical way and the running order should take you from one song into the next... > Read more