Ectotrophia

Ectotrophia

by Happy RhodesHappy Rhodes

CD

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Overview

Happy Rhodes is the definition of a cult artist. She's a very private, New York-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known by most music fans -- if at all -- as frontwoman for Security Project, an all-star supergroup (also including Trey Gunn, Jerry Marotta, and Michael Cozzi) dedicated to the music of Peter Gabriel. Rhodes does enjoy a global fan base that has existed since the early '90s. They call themselves "ectophiles," chosen from the title of Rhodes' fourth album. Numero, one of the standard-bearers in mining the deep veins of American musical culture, makes her the centerpiece of this 18-track set, compiled and remastered from four cassette releases cut when she was in her early twenties between 1986-1987 for the indie Aural Gratification label. Obviously deeply influenced by the dramatic approach of Kate Bush, Freddie Mercury, and Gabriel-era Genesis, Rhodes' voice is a dead ringer for Bush's. Her acoustic guitar and synthesizer-based songs are the definition of arty dream pop, but also touch on prog. Her peers are Bush, Dead Can Dance, Jane Siberry, and Toyah Wilcox; her music remains relevant in the present, as Marissa Nadler's recent (and beautiful) cover of her "Where Do I Go" poignantly illustrates. Rhodes' lyrics explicitly and dramatically chart her private depths. Music was a salvation for her, as Erin Osmon's lengthy liner essay illustrates. Most songs were written during her teens, a prolific period of intense loneliness and alienation, thanks to the bullies of the American schoolyard. As a result, some of them are indeed clumsy, clearly the mark of a young writer under the powerful sway of emotion, but that adds weight, too. There is an unvarnished quality to them via the grain in her voice and wonderfully illustrative arrangements. Opener "Oh the Drears," despite its gothic intro and title, is actually a gauzy, classically tinged pop song with a memorable hook. The aforementioned "Where Do I Go," performed only on synths, is more declamatory in its expressions of loss and confusion. "When the Rain Came Down," with its loops and angular electronics, crisscrosses the very terrain explored by Gabriel on "Blood of Eden" and Rain Tree Crow on "Every Colour You Are." The five-part lead and harmony vocals on the passionate "If Love Is a Game, I Win" underscore the trancelike keyboard pattern and syncopated drum loops. The ghostly "I'm Not Awake, I'm Not Asleep" shines a light on the terrain from which Rhodes' music emerges as well as the spaces between genres and classifications. The final five tracks -- from "Because I Learn" to "To Be E. Mortal" -- reflect the creative electronic influence of Kraftwerk and DAF, as Rhodes invests her charts and lyrics with such emotion that she balances the icy qualities of the synthesizers with a dynamic, tension-filled sense of writhing sensuality. Beautifully presented (of course) with photos and full lyrics, this is a fantastic introduction to a genuine musical enigma.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/29/2018
Label: Numero
UPC: 0825764119924
catalogNumber: 41199
Rank: 70392

Tracks

  1. Oh the Drears
  2. I Cannot Go On
  3. Would That I Could
  4. Where Do I Go
  5. For We Believe
  6. When the Rain Came Down
  7. If Love Is a Game, I Win
  8. I'm Not Awake, I'm Not Asleep
  9. Baby Don't Go
  10. Come Here
  11. Don't Want to Hear It
  12. If So
  13. I'll Let You Go
  14. Because I Learn
  15. I Am a Legend
  16. Perfect Irony
  17. Many Nights
  18. To Be E. Mortal

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