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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

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 Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ruins - Graviyaunosch – Ruins is a contemporary Japanese band that represents the harsh, aggressive side of zeuhl music. They are compared equally often with Magma and the hardcore band The Boredomes - that should give you...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues