Join the Pres Hall family Saturday, April 28th at midnight for our Midnight Preserves installment featuring Theresa Andersson.
Not familiar with Theresa Andersson? Here ya go!Theresa's life had not wanted for highs in the years immediately preceding. Hummingbird, Go! garnered accolades from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Paste, and the Los Angeles Times. Conan O'Brien and Craig Ferguson showcased her musical abilities on their late night TV shows, and Nic Harcourt picked her KCRW "Morning Becomes Eclectic" in-studio as one of his "Top 10 Live Performances of 2009." She sang "Ladies In Blue" on Here Lies Love, the 2010 concept album by David Byrne & Fatboy Slim. Allen Toussaint, one of the only outside players on Hummingbird, Go!, joined her onstage for a performance preserved on her recent concert DVD Theresa Andersson: Live at Le Petit.
Many artists are paralyzed when the non-stop action of an album cycle or tour winds down, but Andersson felt strangely inspired by not knowing what would come next. Over the past few years, looping pedals and effects had become an integral part of her unique one-woman shows. Now she began using them as composition tools, fashioning songs that would eventually form her new album, Street Parade. She conjured forth melodies and countermelodies, harmonies and rhythms, painting with her own voice as the primary instrument, building up panoramas of sound layer by layer.
Inspired by jazz innovators including Duke Ellington and Gil Evans, Andersson heard new sounds running through the arrangements in her head. No need to let a lack of formal training prohibit her from writing for horns and woodwinds. "I'd record the trombone player who lives down the street, or a friend who plays clarinet, just experiment with the music that way. I didn't worry about how things should be, but more how I was feeling." Hearing a sousaphone play one line might suggest using a flute for another. "I would keep molding it like that."
The final outcome was worth the wait. Opener "Street Parade" hints at the heyday of '60s sunshine pop in its introductory fanfare, then detours in a more introspective direction that underscores why Rolling Stone likened Andersson to "a spacier, sultrier Feist." The syncopated rhythms of New Orleans brass bands are reflected in the soft, percussive pulse of "Injuns," while "Fiya's Gone" percolates ever-so-slowly, like a Motown classic dipped in molasses. With their innovative combinations of timbres and distinctive harmonic resolutions, "Listen To My Heels" and "Plucks" show how richly her experiments with arrangements paid off.
"When I'm experiencing a moment of happiness or excitement, that doesn't inspires me to write," Andersson explains. "I'm just living in that moment. And if I'm really sad or angry, that's not the time to be creative, either. It's the spaces in between that are interesting, and that's what this moment between parades represented."
Saturday, April 28
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band