4

Xiu Xiu: Nina

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Like a horrendous and gruesome accident you pass on the expressway, listening to the Jamie Stewart's covers of Nina Simone's music is both repulsive and abhorrent, but ultimately impossible to escape.

Seems you just have to listen.

Stewart and his avant-garde group Xiu Xiu probably have never had their discs filed in the jazz section of a record store. They have covered music by The Smiths and David Bowie/Queen's "Under Pressure." Certainly, covering a legend invites judgement, but Stewart steers clear of direct imitation of Simone's voice, opting to capture only her emotion.

His breathy sung/spoken lyrics are often whispered into the microphone like a frail Leonard Cohen. "Don't Smoke In Bed," is teased out painfully over the arrangements of drummer Ches Smith. The session finds a Downtown cast of superstar talent. Mary Halvorson twirls her guitar pedal distortions as foil to the singer, accordionist Andrea Parkins supplies atmosphere, and the two saxophone back of Tim Berne and Tony Malaby insures the tunes will be packed with consequential sound.

Highlights include a rollicking version of "Flo Me La" with Smith hammering out a rock-slide of percussion over Parkins' electronics, a shuffle blues "Four Women" that triggers a violent implosion of sound, and the afro-pop musings of "See Line Woman."

Stewart's interpretation is painful, but it is that good kind of pain.

Track Listing: Don’t Smoke In Bed; Don’t Explain; Wild Is The Wind; Where Can I Go; See Line Woman; Just Say I Love Him; Four Woman; Pirate Jenny; You’d be So Nice; The Other Woman; Flo Me La.

Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Andrea Parkins: accordion, electronics, piano, Moog; Ches Smith: drums; Jamie Stewart: vocals.

Title: Nina | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Graveface Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "The Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review The Unknown
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "The Company I Keep" CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Matt Marshall
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.