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Johnson, Jenny Olivia / Sylvia Songs
Album:Sylvia Songs Collection:General
Artist:Johnson, Jenny Olivia Added:06/2018
Label:Innova Recordings 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2018-07-04 Pull Date:2018-09-05 Charts:Classical/Experimental
Week Ending:9 Sep12 Aug5 Aug29 Jul22 Jul15 Jul8 Jul

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Album Review
Tom McCarter
Reviewed 2018-06-28 
Reviewed: 2018-06-28
Genre: Classical (X)
FCCs: none
Review: Johnson’s song cycle “Sylvia Songs,” & her sound installation “Glass Heart (Bells for Sylvia Plath),” recently displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery —are both represented here. The four songs of the cycle, loosely inspired by the life of Plath, are interspersed with three interludes, which are actual recordings of the soundscape that can be created by interactions with her sound installation (a group of amplified bell jars that visitors are encouraged to tap and ring to create music and ambient lighting). Together, the pieces make it not only a tribute to Plath’s life, work, and legacy, but also a concretized record of two otherwise ephemeral projects. “Sylvia Songs” is both an offering and an archive, a memorial and a reverie. It is a meditation on the nostalgia of place, and an exploration of the complexities of mental health and loss.
If You Like: Laurie Andersen,
Track Review (favorites denoted by *):
*1/ New York (7:36) – spacey synth start> high pitched chorus kicks in with spoken word submerged under the music> slow fade on piano
*2/ Glass Heart: Interlude 1 (6:09) – bell-like sounds start> midtempo electronic symphonic music slowly builds in volume 7 intensity> chorus slides in & out over the music> spacey electronic music with chorus expands into the universe> slow fade
3/ Boston (4:45) – long drone starts> drawn out vocals overlay> morphs into a high-pitched chorus> music & chorus build in volume & intensity> slow fade
4/ Glass Heart: Interlude 2 (6:36) – percussive start with vocals interwoven> midtempo galactic vocals & music soars> fade
*5/ Devonshire (The 8th Bell Jar Smashed On The Full Moon In Scorpio) (3:04) – slow drawn out acapella female vocal starts> chorus joins, grows in volume & intensity over drone music> false stop> short bursts of chorus & stop
*6/ Glass Heart: Interlude 3 (5:41) – bells/percussion start, morphs into drone> slow jam, like soundtrack for drifting through space> sonic vibrations kick in> slow fade
*7 Wellesley (11:38) – piano starts> midtempo galactic jam> sonic vibrations & vocals over the top> beautiful interplay between piano & vocals> slow fade

Track Listing
1.New York 4.Glass Heart: Interlude 2
2.Glass Heart: Interlude 1 5.Devonshire (The 8th Bell Jar Smashed On The Full Moon In Scorpio)
3.Boston 6.Glass Heart: Interlude 3