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Veda Hille - This Riot Life

This Riot Life

Veda Hille

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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Combine XTC, Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush, a touch of Stomu Yamash'ta, Tori Amos, Meryn Cadell, Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles, a trace of Anne LeBaron, and a chamber ensemble, then shake slowly, letting all elements swirl about one another, and you have a decent approximation of what's going on here. Veda Hille is a Romantic classicalist who somehow got born out of the proper time zone and is determined to set things to right. The result is a blend of music jumping all over the place yet remaining perfectly balanced and satisfyingly homeostatic. A Michael Nyman-ish The Moon builds up a staccato dynamism that folds back into a Kurt Wiell-ish cabaret, setting Percy Shelley to wander disconsolately through the middle eight of a Hindemuth barnstormer that just happens to briefly drop an extremely angular Frippish guitar line in.

Hille sings with a meadowlark's voice well colored by strings and restrained horns (Sleepers) before donning a kimono for a strangely corporatized nightmare floodlit in neon and opaque surfaces, a kabuki mask hiding a hornet's sting in Soapland Serenade. Rose of Sharon, on the other hand, is a klezmer tango slipping away from The Song of Songs and dancing in warm Arabian desert nights. There are several ballads, the most piquant of which is Constance, a short delicate air. In sum, though, as inferred, Hille occupies a place between a number of genres, though her particular phylum could be said to be Pop Romantic Neoclassical desirous of a nightclub gig in NYC, tucked away in Artists' Alley with bohemian literati sipping lattés and noshing crullers.

Track List:

  • Lucklucky
  • Book of Saints
  • Ace of Nazarene
  • A Shining Forth
  • Oh Come On
  • The Moon (Hindemuth / Shelley)
  • Sleepers
  • Soapland Serenade (Hille / Yamamoto)
  • Cowper's Folly
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Constance (Hille / Sullivan / Small)
  • This Spring (Hille / Wolf / Landesman)
  • The Trees
All songs written by Veda Hille except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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