Amanda Palmer – A Bowie String Quartet Tribute

Amanda Palmer – A Bowie String Quartet Tribute

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Sunday, 07 February 2016
NEWS

Amanda Palmer has teamed up with Jherek Bischoff on Strung Out in Heaven, a David Bowie covers EP. The EP features contributions from Anna Calvi (who sang and played guitar on “Blackstar”), writer/director John Cameron Mitchell (who sang on “Heroes”), and Palmer’s husband, the author Neil Gaiman. Below, stream the full EP, and find more information about the project, including artwork and a statement from Palmer. Stream and purchase the entire EP at Bandcamp for $1

Here’s what Palmer had to say:
We found out he’d died – by text from Neil’s daughter – at 3 a.m. in Santa Fe. We were visiting family, to introduce them to the newborn lying in bed beside us. A tiny fleshy reminder that Bowie, like our other friends, mentors and heroes who’ve been consumed by cancer in the past few months, was just…passing through. The baby is Ash. Dust to dust. Funk to Funky.

Music is the binding agent of our mundane lives. It cements the moments in which we wash the dishes, type the resumes, go to the funerals, have the babies. The stronger the agent, the tougher the memory, and Bowie was NASA-grade epoxy to a sprawling span of freaked-out kids over three generations. He bonded us to our weird selves. We can be us. He said. Just for one day.

The next day I was on the phone to Jherek, discussing another project (and I was feeling a bit trapped in the non-productive new-mother cave, so we joked that we should do a flash Bowie tribute. And suddenly, we weren’t joking. I had funding from my 7,000 fans on Patreon to “make stuff.” What better “stuff”? We started that night, giving ourselves a deadline of two weeks to release it as a surprise. I emailed a bunch of visual artist friends that night.

It didn’t hit me until a week later, in the studio, why this was such a fitting project. We were immersing ourselves in Bowieland, living in the songs, super-glueing up some fresh wounds. Not just “knowing” the songs, but feeling the physical chords under our sad fingers, excavating the deeper architecture of the songwriting (especially with a tune as bizarre as “Blackstar,” which we realized was constructed like a sonic Russian nesting doll).

Jherek worked like a madman: one day arranging each song, recording the strings in under four hours, and mixing in antoher two. He says recording the strings quartet for “Blackstar” in particular “was like therapy for the loss of such an incredible artist, and there was a palpable silence after every take as we sat in awe of the genius of The Thin White Duke.”
John Cameron Mitchell, who most people know as the force behind “Hedwig,” recorded the German and English for “Heroes”/”Helden” on his iPhone in his New York apartment. Anna Calvi, our honorary Brit, booked a studio in London on three days’ notice.

Bowie worked on music up to the end to give us a parting gift. So this is how we, as musicians, mourn: keeping Bowie constantly in our ears and brains.
The man, the artist, exits. But the music, the glue; it stays. It never stops binding us together.

Goodbye, Starman.

Blackstar ​(​Featuring Anna Calvi)

from Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tributeby Jherek Bischoff and Amanda Palmer

In the villa of Ormen
in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle
In the centre of it all
in the centre of it all
Your eyes
​
On the day of execution
on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile
ah-ah
ah-ah
At the centre of it all
at the centre of it all
Your eyes
your eyes

In the villa of Ormen
in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle
at the centre of it all
at the centre of it all
Your eyes

your eyes

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place and bravely cried
I’m a blackstar
I’m a blackstar
​
How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud-into-the-crowd
I’m a blackstar
I’m a blackstar
I’m not a gangster
​
I can’t answer why
(I’m a blackstar)
Just go with me
(I’m not a filmstar)
I’m-a take you home
(I’m a blackstar)
Take your passport and shoes
(I’m not a popstar)
And your sedatives, boo
(I’m a blackstar)
You’re a flash in the pan
(I’m not a marvel star)
I’m the great I am
(I’m a blackstar)
​
I’m a blackstar, way up, oh-honey-I’ve-got-game
I see right so white, so open-heart it’s plain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
I’m a blackstar
I’m a blackstar
​
Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
I’m a blackstar
I’m a star star
I’m a blackstar
​
(I)can’t answer why
(I’m not a gangster)
But I can tell you how
(I’m not a flam star)
We were born upside-down
(I’m a star star)
Born the wrong way ‘round
(I’m not a white star)
I’m a blackstar
I’m not a gangster
I’m a blackstar
I’m a blackstarI’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
I’m a blackstar
I’m a blackstar
​

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
At the centre of it all
your eyes

On the day of execution
only women kneel and smileAt the centre of it all
your eyes

your eyes

credits

(source – Pitchfork/Bandcamp)

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