Monday, July 26, 2010
Emilie Autumn's Victorian Asylum
One of the pleasures in listening to music is getting these subgenres under your belt, revisiting them from time to time, finding an artist making amazing music, and knowing you're one of the few people in on the secret. Emilie Autumn is such a discovery.
I discovered Emilie Autumn a couple years ago in this way, and listening to her releases and even hearing some of her interviews has been a constant pleasure. A classically trained violinist, Autumn can play with intensity and great beauty. She can also shred her instrument like it's an electric guitar with a banshee's soul trapped inside.
The music is crisply performed and recorded, and her voice can be crystalline in its fragility and purity and then switch to gothic moans and phrasing that suggest a nervous disorder. It's a lot of influences to control, and she pulls it off virtually throughout the entire album. I enjoyed this one so much, and then I saw she had a new album out Opheliac. Just the creativity of the title intrigued me immensely. As it turns out, she's working off a motif around an 'Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls' which, as best as I can summarize it, is a theme about the way women's mental states are often disastrously confused by men and women themselves with their repressed desires for self-fulfillment. It's an awesome idea, especially given her interest in literary lyrics and classical arrangements. Plus it certainly opens the door for her outrageous fashion sense, stage shows, and promo photos to come into the mix.
Anyway, I think she's a massively talented and creative artist. Her albums each have a very different character, yet the concerns and ideas that interest her are consistently dealt with throughout. Seems like she's based in Chicago, which makes it weird that initially I only saw her albums available as imports! What a sad comment on the American music business that you have to go to Europe to get homegrown talent!
My fantasy is she does a Halloween concert in Chicago, and I can go dressed as a Victorian gentleman (Pince-nez, cane, and all!). Here's the link to her website: http://www.emilieautumn.com/