Exposé Online banner

Puppetina — Piewacket!
(Pasha Nina Teen PNT001, 2001, CD)

by Jim Chokey, Published 2007-03-01

Piewacket! Cover art

I first listened to this CD without any knowledge of who Puppetina were. My guess was that they were a folk ensemble from the Balkans who were, as an experiment by some half-mad, half-genius producer, cast into the studio with a bunch of Parisian avant-gardistes. In fact, Puppetina is the all-American duo of vocalist Anna Homler and multi-instrumentalist Stephanie Payne, who’s got a number of releases to her name as part of Dark Arts. Together, the two combine their talents to produce a wonderfully strange disc that is not quite like anything I’ve ever heard before. Homler sings entirely in made-up nonsense languages that nonetheless evoke the feel of ‘real’ tongues. Her voice is most often a melodious, slightly nasal alto vaguely reminiscent of East European folk singing. However, she frequently abandons ‘normal’ vocals to instead deliver whispers, chants, and spoken-word vocals (again — entirely in made-up languages), sounding vaguely like an unholy cross between Martha Sebastyén, Diamanda Galás, and Peter Hammill. Behind Homler’s nonsensical yet beautiful vocals, Payne utilizes a bewildering range of instruments, toys, found objects, and unidentifiable devices to produce the sonorous backdrops for the vocals. Ethnic instruments, like the hurdy-gurdy, accordion, and African thumb m’bira feature prominently in the arrangements, as do toy instruments, circus calliopes, kitchen timers, sirens, walkie-talkie static, and strange and unidentifiable thumpings, whirrings, burblings, and buzzings. The overall effect is original, quirky, playful, and a whole lot of fun. Highly recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Puppetina, Anna Homler

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Embrase - Dreamworld – Lately new EM artists in the Netherlands are mushrooming and this is the newest offspring. Most of these newcomers know their predecessors very well, no exception here, but they all stay to close to...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues