219

Tin Hat: The Sad Machinery of Spring

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Tin Hat: The Sad Machinery of Spring The fact that Tin Hat is no longer a trio and that founding member Rob Burger left the group in 2004 shouldn't be such a jolt. The band has always expanded and shape-shifted, working with such guests as Tom Waits and Willie Nelson on previous records. But for their fifth release, they've formally dropped the "trio from their name and added multi-instrumentalist Ara Anderson, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and harpist Zeena Parkins to the lineup, all of whom contribute compositions.

The group has enough musicianship that the numbers don't really matter. Even as a trio, the musicians played enough different instruments and did so so well together that they always sounded more like a cohesive group than a trio of individuals anyway. As far as instrumentation goes, Anderson comes closest to filling the space left by Burger with his pump organ, toy piano and celeste, but he also plays trumpet and baritone horn, allowing unusual tin-hat moments of horn-led ensemble.

In addition to her violins, Carla Kihlstedt plays celeste, bowed vibes and Ukelin (a strange, multi-stringed instrument that's bowed with one hand and plucked with the other—and was sold door-to-door). Mark Orton plays guitar, banjo and dobro as well as pump organ, auto-harp and Marxophone (a sort of hammered zither with a similar biography to the ukelin). But Tin Hat's trick, on The Sad Machinery of Spring, as always, is to take unusual instrumental voices and write evocative, often melancholy songs for them.

Tin Hat's strong setting in Americana continues on The Sad Machinery, even though the album's dedication and a poem in the liners suggest Polish origins. At best, it's the soundtrack of a Polish immigrant who fails to find the promised riches in the New World—and if that's too literal, or in any event anyway, it's beautifully played, evocative music.


Track Listing: Old World; The Secret FLuid of Dusk; Blind Paper Dragon; Dionysus; Daisy Bell; Drawing Lessons; The Book; Dead Season; Black Thursday; The Tailor's Dummies; Dionysus II; The Land of Perpetual Sleep; Janissary Band; The Comet; Intractable.

Personnel: Ara Anderson: trumpet, baritone horn, piano, pump organ, toy piano, celeste; Zeena Parkins: harp; Mark Orton: guitar, Dobro, banjo, piano, pump organ, auto-harp, bass drum, bass harmonica, Marxophone; Ben Goldberg: B-flat clarinet, alto clarinet, contra-alto clarinet; Carla Kihlstedt: violin, violin, trumpet violin, voice, piano, celeste, bowed bives, bass harmonica, Ukelin, bul-bul tarang.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hannibal Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Live In The South Bronx" CD/LP/Track Review Live In The South Bronx
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Simplicity" CD/LP/Track Review Simplicity
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "In For The Out" CD/LP/Track Review In For The Out
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Beyond The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "The Darkening Blue" CD/LP/Track Review The Darkening Blue
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!