Friday, January 16, 2009

Anthony and the Johnsons

It took some time for the world to come to terms with Anthony and the Johnsons. Record companies frowned at the voice of this strange androgynous singer straight out of the New York punk drag scene. But Lou Reed insisted. And now, a few years after winning the Mercury prize, Anthony Hegarty is all the rage…You can imagine the record companies that missed out the first time around, now desperately trying to find a way to down play the whole thing. " - A label, a label…We have to find a label for the music of this Anthony person... Then sooner or later everybody will quickly get bored with it. What shall we call it? How about Chamber Pop? Yeah, that's it. Chamber Pop."

Once you manage to confine something that is new and strange and beautiful, you deconstruct it, you explain it, you understand it, you consume it and you have no further use for it. And you move on to consume something else.

But the voice and interpretation of Anthony deserves better. His voice vibrates and a stream of emotions is unleashed. Somehow he brings to mind another beautiful and strange creature that graced the pop world some time ago called Klaus Nomi. Quite a few similarities there and quite a few differences as well.

Anyway, the new album of Anthony and the Johnsons, already by its cover proclaims its otherworldliness and beauty. I will come back to the work of Kazuo Ohno who is the subject of the album's cover photograph and the japanese art of Butoh in my next blog entry. Until then don't miss the album "The crying light" by Anthony and the Johnsons.

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