4

Janet Feder: Songs With Words

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Innovative guitarist Janet Feder draws her own sonic territory on this first collection of original songs. The Colorado-based guitarist is known for her extended techniques on the prepared guitar, and her work was first introduced to the wider public on the like-minded collection of innovative guitarists I Never Meta Guitar—Solo Guitars for the XXI Century) (Clean Feed, 2010). Prior to that, she recorded with close conspirators such as Fred Frith on Ironic Universe.

Songs with Words was a project initiated by producer Joe Shepard, who encouraged Feder to use his studio. At first, she envisioned writing songs for others to sing, but since Shepard wanted to record within two weeks, Feder ended up singing the songs herself and playing all the guitar parts. Her usage of small metal objects that alter the sound of the acoustic guitar strings enable her to explore new tunings and an expanded sonic palette. Her singing is innocent and unassuming, focused on the topics of the songs, most of them inspired by the political, anti-war folk songs of the sixties. But unlike other folk songs, Feder's guitar playing and vocal delivery are not rooted in any familiar folk tradition.

All the songs were recorded live, without any digital effects; just Feder, her guitar—surrounded by 15 microphones—and occasional guests. The songs have a clear structure: strong melodic themes, verses and choruses, but they still all sound mysterious, demanding repeated listening before allowing themselves to be deciphered fully. She recited her pleas for a more compassionate world in a reserved, fragile voice, even when she wishes that "soldiers will refuse to fight" on "My Blackest Crow." Her range sounds clearer on the instrumental "A Thousand Million Petty Tyrants." Her cover of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" sounds as if she already knows that its call for action is not enough. The somber, melancholic beauty of the personal "Plan to Live" brings to mind the songs of Nick Drake. "Ocean Wall" is a silent sonic poem that imagines a peaceful scenery.

Songs with Words is a unique, haunting gem.

Track Listing: Heater; Your Country Is Like A Wall; My Blackest Crow; A Thousand Million Petty Tyrants; Blowin' In The Wind; O The Sky Falling Moment; Plan To Live; White Men Landing; Trees Are Burning; Ocean Wall.

Personnel: Janet Feder: guitars, voice, rubber ball, toothpick, hands; Paul Fowler: voice; Larry Thompson: percussion; Joe Shepherd: piano; Gary Grundei: piano, toy grand; Joe Shepherd: cellphone, wine glass, voice; Mike Yach: outro guitar.

Title: Songs With Words | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Pole Of Inaccessibility" CD/LP/Track Review Pole Of Inaccessibility
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Grey Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Grey Mirror
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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