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Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon
     

Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon

by KT Tunstall
 
On her Blue Note debut, KT Tunstall does a musical about face from the bright, shiny production and uptempo pop of 2010's Tiger Suit and 2007's sparkling Drastic Fantastic. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon is a gentler, more organic collection. The split title reflects the album's linked themes of mortality (the death of her father) and the end of

Overview

On her Blue Note debut, KT Tunstall does a musical about face from the bright, shiny production and uptempo pop of 2010's Tiger Suit and 2007's sparkling Drastic Fantastic. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon is a gentler, more organic collection. The split title reflects the album's linked themes of mortality (the death of her father) and the end of love (a divorce), and the two different sessions in the Tucson desert during the spring and winter of 2012 helmed by Howe Gelb. The shifting signifiers in her lyrics and the subtleties of these simple yet effective melodies required an empathic, intuitive producer who would color and highlight rather than define. He delivers big. Despite using occasional strings, steel drums euphonium, woodwinds, and even a mellotron, this is not a slick affair. In fact, it's easily the warmest, most natural-sounding record in her catalog. Despite the weighty life events that inspired the songs, this is hardly a "dark" album. It's serious and looks deep; its songs find truth in unlikely places, but they never despair. "Made of Glass" is a soulful waltz in which the protagonist reveals her weariness in grieving -- but accepts it as process and transition. Colored by an elegant vibraphone, pedal steel, whistling that could have come from a Morricone score, winds, and brass, Tunstall's voice glides through the mix, embracing the tension between sorrow and waiting for its end. The single "Feel It All" -- which also has a reprise "Band Jam" version as a bonus track -- is spare, bluesy, desert Americana. Acoustic and electric guitars come together and separate in sultry contrast. John Parish's shuffling snare and kick drum walk it out as Tunstall expresses the wide-open, raw tenderness the heart encounters as it embarks upon a new reality fraught with dangerous possibilities. Her lyric expresses that vulnerability is not just the cost of humanity, but its gift. The vocal duet between Tunstall and Gelb on "Chimes," lovingly caressed by accordion, Spanish guitar, and reverbed strings, is the most delicate, lovely tune here. "No Better Shoulder" commences as a shimmering acoustic ballad, but evolves, becoming a vast psychedelic expanse of layered textures, warm enveloping reverb, and ambient spaces as it unhurriedly builds to a careening climax. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon may detail the transition, loss, and confusion, but the constant thread running through this beautiful set is that the core experience of loss is necessary -- and even welcome -- in order to celebrate at "…the table of this life."

Product Details

Release Date:
08/06/2013
Label:
Blue Note Records
UPC:
5099992844728
catalogNumber:
001866502
Rank:
9771

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

KT Tunstall   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Flute,Piano,Vocals,Vibes,Piano (Grand)
Eric Gardner   Percussion,Drums
John Parish   Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Steel Drums,Timpani
Howe Gelb   Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Mellotron,Pedals,Delay
Luke Bullen   Percussion,Drums
Chris Schultz   Waterphone
Martin Terefe   Electric Guitar
Thøger T. Lund   Bass,Cello,Guitar (Resonator),Bowed Instrument
Brian Lopez   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Marco Rosano   Clarinet
Nick Coventry   Strings
Asger Christensen   Violin
Iris Marie Jakobsen   Viola
Gabriel Sullivan   Guitar,Accordion,Vibes,spanish guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Will Houchin   Tuba,Euphonium
Marco Houchini   Tuba,Euphonium

Technical Credits

Chris Black   String Arrangements
Howe Gelb   Composer,Producer,Piano Engineer
Chris Schultz   Engineer,Guitar Engineer
Andrew Bird   Whistle
Martin Terefe   Additional Production
Dan Sanders   Art Direction
KT Tunstall   Composer,Producer,Art Direction
Ali Chant   Engineer
Thomas Juth   Engineer
Sam Keyte   Engineer
Richard Melland   Art Direction

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