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The Rain Is a Handsome Animal

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 28, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

The music of Tin Hat is born of long-standing friendships and deep musical connections. It is subtle, introspective and generous, with the uncanny ability to be melancholy and joyful, sprightly and sinister. Collectively, the group's writing focuses on evocative melodies, subtle textures and elegant arrangements, moving through the musical languages of folk, classical, Americana, and countless others. "E. E. Cummings' language straddles the same aesthetic worlds as Tin Hat's music," says violinist Carla Kihlstedt, whose remarkable singing is at the center of the group's latest project, The Rain is a Handsome Animal: an album of songs using Cummings's visionary modernist poetry as lyrics. "He moves between folk rhythms and a more abstract approach -- very similar to the musical terrain of Tin Hat."

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New Amsterdam
  • ASIN: B008DWFZOI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
...as well as that of its constituents.

that, however, makes no real bearing
on my opinion about this record though...
okay, how can i really say that...? i mean...
you can't un-ring a bell, right? i can't say what
my life would be like if i'd never heard tin hat...haha!!
i can say with utmost confidence, though, that i'd surely love
the music they made on this record whether or not i had the pre-existing
bias that i mentioned here earlier. all of this is an necessarily complicated
way of saying that this record is incredible(!). it truly is. they've always had like one
vocal tune on all their records. the music always carries so well without the real need for words
or vocals, but....with their 5th record, the sad machinery of spring, they proved to everyone--
including themselves--that it was good idea for them to explore the idea of having carla
sing a bit more with the group. so they give us this collection of their settings
of some really choice selections of poems by e.e. cummings. their wooden sound.
totally informed by all things jazz, folk, post-modern chamber...blues.....
it's so smart & stylish & tasteful. both intelligent & passionate..........
i mean...it's pure wood, man. such lovely, lovely stuff. bravo, team!!

all of this is to say, pick up as many of their records as you can.
including, & especially, "the rain is a handsome animal."
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Format: Audio CD
Tin Hat is a communist composer collective (CCC) with very subversive small font on their CD, so older, Neocons can't even read it. Fronted by vocalist/violinist Karla Kilstedt, they present a 17 movement song-cycle based on E.E. Cummings poetry. This is a post-modern siditiousness, in there integration of classical counterpoint and contemporary music colorations, into, let's say, rhythm guitar-rooted, Broadway/continental, song stylings. New Amsterdam has found another crossover gem/goldmine with something that could appeal to both alt-rock, coffee guzzling hipsters and older Ikea collecting, classical commuting bourgeoisie. The great danger here is these musicians might make a ton of money (maybe they already have?) and lose their alt status and date ditsy Hollywood actors. And for this nit-picky reviewer, they might single handedly destroy the noisy, dense, obtuse, incomprehensible edifice of contemporary music with beauty, accessibility, seduction, and transparency. Oh, the humanity! Oh, and great CD...
1.A cloud on a Leaf
Song form with tasty, sparse arrangement., featuring soft and delicate close-miked voice, with some really nice guitar playing. It's all in a sensitive mp-mf range.
2.The Rain...
An instrumental . More tasty guitar playing with violin, accordion, and clarinet playing alternatively written out and jams over top. I loved the way these instruments are played and miked.
3. Sweet Spring
Again , I like the `no pushing' vocal in a deceptively sophisticated arrangement. This is Nora Jones/breathy Bjork does acid and runs into players that actually can play instruments.
4. If up's the word
More traditional fare- beautifully performed.
5.Open his head
Very cool, Webern spares arrangement.
6. Unchanging
Love the head!
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ben Goldberg's writing is the latest innovation to Tin Hat's music. Also strong writing from the other members. I personally think that setting other people's lyrics to music requires a special gene, one that not many possess. All four players present ample evidence of their gifts on this recording. Buy it ! Buy 2.
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