A beauty this one. Let's say an album of "chamber pop". Dozens of references were triggered: Fibonaccis, Kurt Weill, opera, Kate Bush, cabaret, Laurie Anderson, Dagmar Krause, etc, etc. We have here a collection of 13 very accessible songs, but too much avant garde and experimental to reach a bigger audience I'm afraid. The first time I was impressed by the combination of voice and cello was through the work of Arthur Russell many years ago. On this new work of Amy X Neuburg we find the same combination. The classically trained voice of Neuburg combined with three equally skilled cello players: Jessica Ivry, Elaine Kreston and Elizabeth Vandervennet. Besides voice, Neuburg also makes effective and sparse use of electronics and drums. Also she uses the technique of multi-layering voices. It is surprising that this music was created for a live performance, what makes this recording even more astonishing as the role of technique is considerable. The creator is Amy X Neuburg who wrote all music and lyrics, except for the improvisation "Tongues" and the closing track "Back in NY" by Genesis. After Residue by Amy X Neuburg & Men, it took her about 5 years to return with a new CD, this time as Amy X Neuburg & The Cello Chixtet. I don't know much of her musical past. From what I understand she is best known for her live solo performances, using MIDI drum kit, sounds and samples.
The Secret Language of Subways shows that Neuburg is open for many influences, eclectic in a way, but her pronounced musical language and vision binds everything strongly together following a convincing inner logic. This makes it sound all very natural and undivided. Her songs are carefully modeled and arranged. I guess it must have taken quite some time to sculpt all this material. For sure Neuburg is a very skilled composer, singer and performer. The narrative and dramatic content of the texts are very precise and beautifully accentuated in the music and its the performance. With each listening I discover new subtleties. No doubt this will continue.Read more about Amy X Neuburg.