MM-17 AMY X NEUBURG: The Secret Language of Subways
San Francisco Chronicle:
"Neuburg's new song cycle teeters beguilingly on the boundary between pop
and avant-garde performance art, and to hear it complete and in sequence
is to marvel at the grace and elegance with which Neuburg walks that tightrope."
" 'Record to Die For' - If there is a talent to watch in the modern classical
world, it is Amy X Neuburg... a truly original composer... buy it and put
some amazement back in your life."
"Like Laurie Anderson joining up with Philip Glass or Annie Sofie Von Otter
collaborating with Steve Reich... The thirteen tracks teeter and admirably balance
between avantgarde, performance art, pop sensibilities and contemporary classical."
Amy X Neuburg describes The Secret Language of Subways as “a
song cycle about the inane and perpetually unfinished businesses of love
and war — and New York.” A stylistically versatile, classically
trained singer/composer with a four-octave range, Amy is best known for performances
with voice, electronic drums, and live looping in which she creates a chorus
of layered voices and rhythms. Two years in the making, Subways consists
of intricately composed, multiple layers of cellos topped by Amy’s
distinctive and striking vocals; the songs range from intimate art-song
ballads to electronics-based pop to Dadaist meanderings to lush symphonic
arrangements. Sometimes the cellos are processed with electronic effects,
other times heard in the expressive richness of their natural timbres.
"I conceived most of these songs while sitting
on the subway during a 3-year period when I lived part-time in New
York — inspired by the rhythmic lull of the train, the fragmented
meanderings of my thoughts, the dramas of recent world and personal
events, and the deluge of sensory input that is New York itself. New
York at that time presented such a vivid example of how life, love
and art continue to move forward with full force, in spite of (or perhaps
encouraged by) the fears and uncertainties of war."
thirteen songs here form a compelling dramatic arc, drawing the listener
into a vivid, subterranean emotional journey. Starting
from the hushed a cappella opening of “One Lie,” the CD makes
local stops at urban paranoia (“Closing Doors,” “Body
Parts”), nocturnal reveries (the haunting-yet-catchy “Someone
Else’s Sleep”), the surreal juxtapositions of street life
(“The Gooseneck,” “Difficult”), self-preservation
through self-presentation (the lilting, folkish “Hey”), and
Amy’s stunning closer, the resigned, chorale-like “Shrapnel.”
As an encore, Neuburg offers her ingenious arrangement
in NYC” from Genesis’s groundbreaking 1974 concept album The
Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Throughout, the bold sophistication
of Amy’s writing and her sure command of songcraft make The
Secret Language of Subways a fascinating ride.
In addition to Neuburg
performing vocals, electronics, and drums, the performers include The
Cello Chixtet (Jessica Ivry, Elaine Kreston, and Elizabeth Vandervennet).
Amy X Neuburg has developed a unique career bridging the boundaries between
classical, experimental and popular music. Her “avant-cabaret” songs
combine her interests in language, expressive use of music technology,
and exploration of multiple genres using the many colors of her wide
vocal range. She has performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon, Other
Minds, and other festivals, universities, rock clubs, and concert halls
throughout the U.S. and abroad. Commissions include works for
Present Music, Santa Cruz New Music Works, Solstice, and others. As vocalist,
Amy has been featured in contemporary operas and recordings including
works by Robert Ashley, Culture Clash and Guillermo Galindo.