...For the Ghosts Within

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For the Ghosts Within, Robert Wyatt's collaboration with Gilad Atzmon and Ros Stephen, is a set of seven standards from jazz, theater, pop, and film, balanced by four provocative originals. Stephen recorded strings, double bass, and a scratch vocal first; Wyatt added proper ones later; and this was handed off to Atzmon, who added reeds, winds, electronics, and accordion, and produced the finished product. The process sounds cold and disembodied; the recording, anything but. It opens with Johnny Mercer's haunting "Laura," with Wyatt providing one of the most vulnerable vocals of his career over Stephen's Sigamos String Quartet, Richard Pryce's upright bass, and Atzmon's alto ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
For the Ghosts Within, Robert Wyatt's collaboration with Gilad Atzmon and Ros Stephen, is a set of seven standards from jazz, theater, pop, and film, balanced by four provocative originals. Stephen recorded strings, double bass, and a scratch vocal first; Wyatt added proper ones later; and this was handed off to Atzmon, who added reeds, winds, electronics, and accordion, and produced the finished product. The process sounds cold and disembodied; the recording, anything but. It opens with Johnny Mercer's haunting "Laura," with Wyatt providing one of the most vulnerable vocals of his career over Stephen's Sigamos String Quartet, Richard Pryce's upright bass, and Atzmon's alto saxophone. It's riveting for its nocturnal nakedness despite the warmth of the strings. "Lullaby for Irena," by Stephen and Alfreda Benge, begins with murky electronics and Atzmon playing an Eastern modal theme on clarinet. The strings introduce Western classical harmony before Pryce and Wyatt enter, haltingly, allowing the musical spaces between his words their full measure. It is a love song so full of gratitude it is nearly heartbreaking. The title track, by Atzmon and Benge, features Tali Atzmon on lead vocals with various reeds winds, accordion, and even a Palestinian shepherd's flute by Gilad Atzmon. The exotic, sampled percussive effects create a sense of haunted drama as Stephen and Wyatt underscore them with a backing chorus that transports the listener to an aural terrain between jazz and Middle Eastern folk styles. These three tracks provide a blueprint for most of what follows: Wyatt's vocal interpretations of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," and Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" stand outside the jazz repertoire, but, because of Wyatt's extraordinary, uncategorizable voice, offer a fresh, expansive, and elegant reading of standards that don't lose their connecting threads. That said, the version of "What a Wonderful World" bears all the traces of Wyatt's wickedly political sense of irony and humor, without sacrificing the simple beauty in the melody that betrays -- due to Stephen's string arrangement -- a deceptively complex harmonic system.Two songs are questionable. "Where Are They Now" is an original which begins as complex New Orleans jazz-cum-theater music before getting a stomping hip-hop treatment from rapper Aboud Hashem (Stormtrapp of Ramallah Underground); along with Wyatt's vocal, it feels out of place. The other is a re-recorded, very abstract version of Chic's "At Last I Am Free." Wyatt's single version is so striking and expertly delivered that this one, with lush strings, bandoneon, and clarinets, feels overdone and disconnected. These two minor complaints aside, For the Ghosts Within succeeds as both collaboration and an aural portrait of what a complete standards recording by Wyatt could offer.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/9/2010
  • Label: Domino
  • UPC: 801390027123
  • Catalog Number: 271
  • Sales rank: 99,784

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Laura - Ros Stephen (4:42)
  2. 2 Lullaby for Irena - Ros Stephen (5:52)
  3. 3 The Ghosts Within - Ros Stephen (7:48)
  4. 4 Where Are They Now? - Ros Stephen (3:11)
  5. 5 Maryan - Ros Stephen (5:20)
  6. 6 Round Midnight - Ros Stephen (5:46)
  7. 7 Lush Life - Ros Stephen (6:46)
  8. 8 What's New? - Ros Stephen (3:06)
  9. 9 In a Sentimental Mood - Ros Stephen (5:47)
  10. 10 At Last I Am Free - Ros Stephen (2:57)
  11. 11 What a Wonderful World - Ros Stephen (4:51)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert Wyatt Primary Artist, Percussion, Trumpet, Vocals, Background Vocals, Voices, Human Whistle, Brushes
Gilad Atzmon Clarinet, Accordion, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Shepherd's Flute
Frank Harrison Keyboards
Yaron Stavi Electric Bass, Double Bass
Tali Atzmon Vocals, Background Vocals
Richard Pryce Double Bass
Rachel Robson Viola
Julian Rowlands Bandoneon
Ros Stephen Violin, Viola, Background Vocals
Sigamos String Quartet Strings
Tom Piggott-Smith Violin
Abboud Hashem Vocals
Daisy Vatalaro Cello
Technical Credits
Robert Wyatt Composer, Executive Producer
Philip Catherine Composer
Bernard Edwards Composer
Alfreda Benge Composer, Artwork
Johnny Burke Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Thelonious Monk Composer
David Raksin Composer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Bob Thiele Composer
George David Weiss Composer
Gilad Atzmon Composer, Programming, Producer, Executive Producer
Jamie Johnson Engineer
Ros Stephen Composer, Executive Producer, String Arrangements
Nile Rogers Composer
Bob Haggard Composer
Shadia Mansour Composer
Abboud Hashem Composer
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Customer Reviews

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