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Album Review

Amy X Neuburg's first solo album in 12 years (and five years after Sports! Chips! Booty! by her group Amy X Neuburg & Men) catches her at a creative peak. The exuberant pop side of her albums with the Men has been toned down in favor of a stronger focus on her voice, extensively multi-tracked. If one may miss the cabaret antics of the Men at first, Residue soon turns any feeling of loss into a rediscovery of this singer's amazing voice and seemingly unlimited creativity. The songs on Residue have been conceived for live solo performance. They consist of multiple real-time looping and multi-tracking of voice, keyboard patterns, and electronic percussion rhythms. The writing and delivery still hold ties to the avant cabaret feel of earlier efforts, although this time around Neuburg sticks closer to art song. Laurie Anderson, Anna Homler, and Dagmar Krause often come to mind through the course of this album, but Neuburg weaves her very own world, filled with ironic pop gestures, witty lyrics, and gripping vocal acrobatics. Highlights include the opening "The Tattoo Song," a rich tapestry of vocals consisting of part typical Neuburg avant pop (with a strong Herb Heinz vibe) and part Dies Irae. "Every Little Stain" uses a toothbrush loop for a beat (and it works very well; you might not even notice it). "Life Stepped In" sees Neuburg in a duet with herself over the phone. "My God" combines delicate melodies with harsh passages of a noisy nature. The closing "Residue" is completely a cappella, but the density and cleverness of the vocal loops make it one of the most arranged tracks of the album. Don't mind the absence of the Men; Amy X Neuburg can handle her music on her own. Recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Deliciously Refreshing, and Refreshingly Delicious!

After listening in on a masterclass by Amy followed by a rehearsal of her music, it was a no-brainer to buy this album. This is the music that fits in the rather capacious gaps between the columns of post-minimalism, rock, opera, cabaret, and the avant garde (and probably a few more). This album stirs these genres with careful attention to detail. Thank you Amy, I love your music!

Anonymous 4 meet Firesign Theater (all rolled into one person)

Amy X Neuburg's first "solo" effort, with loads of backup from the voices in her head, is a thrill ride from beginning to end. The quick-changes can be a bit jarring at times, but no one gets seriously hurt when she drives her vocal arrangements off a cliff. In that regard, it's more like an old "Roadrunner" cartoon -- comedy, not tragedy. The Firesign Theater aspect of this recording comes comes from the witty, spoken commentary and asides woven through many of the tracks. It's an added treat that Ms Neuburg speaks as crisply and beautifully as she sings, with a range that is equally suitable for selling shampoo and voicing animated characters for Pixar. Favorite tracks: "Every Little Stain;" "Insomniac," "These Heavy Gaps;" and the title cut, "Residue."


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s

Despite the fact that her reputation is largely confined to the U.S. Bay Area, Amy X Neuburg is a world-class singer/songwriter. Her talent screams for recognition. Classically trained and gifted with a voice covering an impressive range, she writes art songs, performed with Robert Ashley, and presents her unique brand of musical theater with her group Amy X Neuburg & Men. Often compared to Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson for the flexibility of her voice and her use of technology (respectively), in...
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Residue, Amy X Neuburg
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