Julie Tippetts & Martin Archer — Tales of FiNiN
(Discus Music Discus 39CD, 2011, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2013-06-15Back in 1968 a 21 year old vocalist named Julie Driscoll teamed with keyboardist Brian Auger and recorded some funky jazz covers of Dylan's "This Wheel's on Fire" and Donovan's "Season of the Witch." Then in the 70s Julie began focusing on experimental vocal music and married Brit jazz musician Keith Tippett. Julie has been very active over the past 40+ years and Tales of FiNiN, with Martin Archer, is her latest project. Their first collaboration was 2009's Ghosts of Gold, essentially poetry plus electronic soundscapes. Tales of FiNiN builds upon this experience and shifts towards extended jazz and electronic songs, including additional musicians (guitar, percussion, violins, cello, turntables, and electronics). There are 17 songs spanning the two discs featuring Julie's poetry and strong vocals. At times the music is very amorphous with eerie Stockhausian sound collages. Other tracks are more structured and melodic, but still in the avant-jazz realm, which does not quite go with the slightly whimsical cover art. This is what you might expect instead for a progressive folk or rock album. Tales of FiNiN will require multiple listenings to fully grasp the lyrics, message, and the music. Despite its moments of brilliance and interest, overall the music is a bit too sterile for my tastes and challenges any preconceptions with sound collage, electronic soundscapes, free-jazz, and spoken word.
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