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Thomas Anselmi - Mirror

Mirror

Thomas Anselmi

Available from the Mirror store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

This guy evolved from a band I'm unfamiliar with—Slow, said to be a chaotically crushing ensemble of primal rockers (at Expo 86, amid a performance that wreaked sonic havoc and a bit of full frontal nudity, they had to literally flee cops and legal threats—shades of the Doors!). You'd never guess that from the cabaretic work here, a disc of exceedingly mature songsmithing that has attracted impressive support: Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mike Garson (who provided the inanely tasty piano for David Bowie's Aladdin Sane), Joe Dallesandro (one of Warhol's stars), and others. Then there are the sweet refrains of Laure-Elaine confectionating the grim underside of the human experience, too much of the world in a woman with so few years.

Rightly, Angelo Badalamenti and Francis Lai are credited as influences, but so is Marc Almond, classicalism (the entire disc has a strongly Romanto-Impressionist streak in many of its melody lines), a greatly softened Weill, and a cinematographic streak a mile wide. The moods and atmospheres are lush, slinky, and paced, building slowly, inexorably, but never forced, always natural, organic. The eternal night of Nico dwells in Mirror and the reason's not accidental. Anselmi underwent the addiction and abuse episodes of the Hollywood burnout crowd but the tortures proved to be transformative, resulting in a rebirth of conviction and artistic integrity, as this release is steeped in hard-won knowledge and a considered project in a lineage that has distinguished itself. The composer knows very well what came before him and labors mightily to add prestige and dark luster to the genealogy. Each line is well-formed, allowed only after it has contributed to the miasmic swirl in the subtlest of ways. Even the engineering hides very clever embellishments in a gauze of slumber and haze.

Forget renting a movie, brothers and sisters, get Mirror instead and look into Thomas Anselmi's film noir of the ear and brain. Don't bother with that overpriced gaudy play you've been intending to trip over to among the ermine-and-diamonds crowd. Better, sip a glass of absinthe, lay back, turn out the lights, and sink into the decadance of this gem. I'm pretty damn sure you'll be putting it right back in 'Play' again the moment the closer, The Cold is on its Way, winds down. I did.

Track List:

  • Nostalgia (Thomas Anselmi)
  • Nowhere (Anselmi / Laure-Elaine)
  • City Lights (Anselmi / Armen / Dallesandro)
  • World of Darkness (Thomas Anselmi)
  • Twentieth Century (Anselmi / Armen)
  • From No One With Love (Anselmi / Armen)
  • Fat Girl (Thomas Anselmi)
  • Mirror Song (Thomas Anselmi)
  • The Cold is on Its Way (Thomas Anselmi)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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

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