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 at Elsewhere articles index

Troy Kingi: Black Sea Golden Ladder (bandcamp)

Troy Kingi: Black Sea Golden Ladder (bandcamp)

With his new album Black Sea Golden Ladder, Troy Kingi turns towards the home stretch of his ambitious 10-10-10 series: 10 albums in 10 different genres in 10 years. This album... > Read more

Brigid Mae Power: Head Above Water (Fire/Southbound)

Brigid Mae Power: Head Above Water (Fire/Southbound)

Elsewhere is well-known for approaching English and Irish folk music with some caution if not outright suspicion. The lamentations, murder and miserablism, references to medievalism,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown

EPs by Yasmin Brown

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP... > Read more

THE BEATLES INVADE AUCKLAND, JUNE 1964

THE BEATLES INVADE AUCKLAND, JUNE 1964

On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in New Zealand (June 21 1964) Elsewhere is pleased to present an exclusive extract from the forthcoming book Half a World Away: The Beatles'... > Read more