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Alice and Michi

Strange Bloom

(Kenji; US: 15 May 2012; UK: 14 Feb 2012)

Violinist Michi Wiancko wrote Alice Talon a letter. Michi asked Alice to come to New York to make some music with her. Alice said yes. Neither of them have cause to regret their actions on this beguiling debut album. Alice arrived with a snare drum and cymbals and six months of fervent practice and experimentation ensued as the pair worked out who was going to do what.


The result is an album where the instrumentation is giving equal billing asthe voices. Opener “Cairo” pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album with breathy vocals interplaying with each other over a minimal backing, slightly Feist like in delivery. “Fighters” brings the same lovely harmonies but with a more electronica feel, including what sounds like someone playing the saucepans before a trumpet and violin join in to close the song out. Often, such experimentation goes horribly wrong, but here, it works wonderfully.


This is a beautifully constructed debut album from two accomplished musicians, where, somehow, the juxtaposition of all the elements of the pair’s experiments come together to create a warm and coherent album. Let’s hope Michi continues to write letters to Alice.

Rating:

Founder of the Birmingham Popular Music Archive and Exec Producer of the documentary Made in Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra (you may discern a common theme here!) I get way more pleasure than is acceptable from uncovering obscure facts and stories about music from my home city. The sight of some long forgotten band performing on stage, captured in a crappy in 1970's photo, is likely to send me over the edge! In my spare time, I work with some fellow popular music and radio fanatics in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University in the UK.


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