Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The music of Tin Hat is born of long-standing friendships and deep musical connections. It is subtle, introspective and generous, with the uncanny ability to be melancholy and joyful, sprightly and sinister. Collectively, the group's writing focuses on evocative melodies, subtle textures and elegant arrangements, moving through the musical languages of folk, classical, Americana, and countless others. "E. E. Cummings' language straddles the same aesthetic worlds as Tin Hat's music," says violinist Carla Kihlstedt, whose remarkable singing is at the center of the group's latest project, The Rain is a Handsome Animal: an album of songs using Cummings's visionary modernist poetry as lyrics. "He moves between folk rhythms and a more abstract approach -- very similar to the musical terrain of Tin Hat."
Recording information: Brick Hill, Orleans, MA; Dead Aunt Thelma's, Portland, OR; New, Improved Recording, Oakland, CA.
Photographer: Peter Gannushkin.
1.A cloud on a Leaf
Song form with tasty, sparse arrangement., featuring soft and delicate close-miked voice, with some really nice guitar playing. It’s all in a sensitive mp-mf range.
An instrumental . More tasty guitar playing with violin, accordion, and clarinet playing alternatively written out and jams over top. I loved the way these instruments are played and miked.
3. Sweet Spring
Again , I like the ‘no pushing’ vocal in a deceptively sophisticated arrangement. This is Nora Jones/breathy Bjork does acid and runs into players that actually can play instruments.
4. If up’s the word
More traditional fare- beautifully performed.
5.Open his head
Very cool, Webern spares arrangement.
Love the head! These arrangements are gold! I’m still humming this-why didn’t Webern write melodies like this?
Accordion with horn stops.-wait it is a brass quintet-why is there phasing? This must be multi-tracked trumpets and horns-wouldn’t know because of my eyesight.
Love this instrumental –all pretty fresh and memorable. Communism works! There’s much more improv-based, extended technique on this track. This violinist accordionist and clarinetist are pretty smokin’.
9. So Shy
Beautiful broadway recit. with multi-tracked clarinets. Nice miking.
Michael Torke? Nice head. Really disarmingly beautiful song.
Nice journey through contrasting sections
Another instrument with really sound, tradition chamber music playing that returns to the guitar centered jams.
13. Human Rind
This is darker, but incredibly beautiful.
14. Anyone lived….
There’s an Appalachian feel (steel-guitar helps) amidst more fresh arrangements and singing
Multitrack violin? -no it’s a string quartet. Super musical yet very accessible-cool head that starts in the wrong key. Add rain efx at the end
16. Little I
Violin arpeggios and vocal- again there is a Bjork quality in the phrasing and mode changes. Gorgeous instrumental end.
More gold! Go long!
Submitted on 11/01/12 by Mike Maguire