Thursday, November 12, 2009

Andrew Bird

Pop virtuoso Andrew Bird has no lack of projects in the works. His schedule is overflowing with interesting musical ventures. There are many strings to Andrew's bow, so to speak (please try to ignore mind my horrendous pun, which refers to Mr. Bird's instrument of choice).

Andrew is currently on tour in Europe and he will be spending mid-December giving cozy performances in a few American churches, but he has much more in the works. He is writing the score for Norman, a feature film starring Adam Goldberg and Richard Jenkins. It is unknown whether or not Andrew's distinctive whistling will permeate the big screen.

Andrew will also be contributing to a version of Kermit's self-reflective song, "It's Not Easy Being Green," in the upcoming Muppets Revisited album, which will feature more heavy hitters covering Muppets classic tunes. I would say that of all popular male musicians today, Andrew does bear the closest resemblance to the famed amphibian. They do have similar slim builds.

In even more Andrew Bird-related news, the spellbinding -- and sometimes spinning -- horns/speakers/purposeful sculptures that travel with Andrew on tour will be the subject of an art installation. A Chicago artist makes the horns for him. Many of these horns will be congregated together in a traveling showpiece, and they will be playing loops. In an interview with the BBC, Andrew described this spectacle as "an arboretum of sonic sculptures."

Whatever you say, Andrew. It all sounds good and complicated. Amphibians and arboretums: it's what the people want.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Charlotte Gainsbourg

French singer/actress Charlotte Gainsbourg's 2006 record 5:55 was crafted with the help of some capable and clever fellows. Her airy, seductive vocals mingled with the production of Nigel Godrich and the handiwork of Air, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. And, of course, comparisons were (not so cleverly) made to the sounds of her legendary father, Serge.

Now Charlotte is making music with another musical male, and his name is Beck.

Gainsbourg, who recently starred in Lars von Trier's gruesome thriller "Antichrist" and who was the St├ęphanie to Gael Garcia Bernal's St├ęphane in Michel Gondry's fantastical "The Science of Sleep," is set to release this new record, IRM, this January. Two of the album's songs have thus far been introduced to the world: the title track -- which is posted on her MySpace page -- and most recently "Heaven Can Wait."

These songs indicate that IRM, the French equivalent to MRI, retains the spacious atmosphere of 5:55 but adds a welcome dose of Beck's jaunty whimsy. It sounds like a splendid album is in store for the new year.