Thursday, January 15, 2009

Antony and the Johnsons: Furthermore

"The Crying Light is dedicated to the great dancer Kazuo Ohno. In performance I watched him cast a circle of light upon the stage, and step into that circle, and reveal the dreams and reveries of his heart. He seemed to dance in the eye of something mysterious and creative; with every gesture he embodied the child and the feminine divine. He's kind of like my art parent." - Antony Hegarty

I'm beside myself with excitement. On February 17th we'll see Antony and the Johnsons in concert for the first time. Their new album, The Crying Light, has played constantly since I got it two weeks ago. I can't wait to hear these songs live. A perfect next-step, the album carries on where I Am a Bird Now left off, though from a slightly different perspective. Less introspective, more epic, the new record covers a lot of terrain, both thematically and sonically. Each song told like an old-timey fable, there's something very Creature From the Black Lagoon about it.

In fact, at times, the album sounds like a film score. Through headphones you hear all the sweeping strings and grand arrangements, particularly beautiful are the clarinets, an instrument so rarely featured. Countering the opulence of the music, of course, Antony's intimate vocals cruise along the top. As it does, in small doses throughout their catalogue, his voice grows and gets real big on a couple of tracks, notably "Aeon", a personal album highlight. It's reminiscent of an 80s era Sinead O'Connor song I can't quite place, and, if you know me, that's a very good thing. Hot on the heels of this beauty is "Dust and Water"; one blends into the next, becoming almost a prayer. A gentle drone beneath Antony's gorgeous, flitting vocals. I find the entire thing extremely hypnotic and can't help but track back to the beginning to hear it all again.

There's nothing quite like undisappointment. When new work comes but every three years, the chance that it won't live up to the expectation is high. But when it does, when it exceeds those hopes, you realize another album has made it into the slow-growing pile of music you'll be listening to forever.


  1. Your gonna enjoy the show sooooo much! I saw him back in October and Antony's Performance was so beautifully haunting!!! I had 2nd row seats and it was amazing.
    You will be blown away. I'm seeing him again in San Francisco in Feb.
    I can't wait for that show!

    Great article, Keep up the great work!


  2. I cannot wait!
    I'm not sure where our seats are, but we've put in an order through the promoter, so I think they'll be good!