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The Sad Machinery of Spring

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Editors’ Notes

After recording four brilliant and ambitious albums as the Tin Hat Trio, founding member and accordionist Rob Burger left the band, leaving Mark Orton (guitars, banjo, piano) and Carla Kihlstedt (violin, viola, piano, vocals) to carry on with their delightful and off-kilter genre-bending experiments. And carry on they do with the considerable contributions of new members (and past collaborators) Ara Anderson (piano, trumpet), Ben Goldberg (clarinets), and Zeena Parkins (harp). All five are virtuosic multi-instrumentalists who specialize in creating moods and exploring subtleties — the music feels loose, yet without a wasted or unnecessary note. As difficult to classify as ever, the music incorporates elements of jazz, classical, bluegrass, klezmer, and assorted Americana, only with greater range and texture here as a result of the expanded instrumentation. There are spooky waltzes, melancholic marches, eerie minor-key melodies, and countless passages of sheer beauty and grace. Intoxicatingly strange and wondrous, The Sad Machinery of Spring is a moving and ingenious work likely to lodge itself deep within the imagination of listeners.

Customer Reviews

The Sad Machinery of Spring

Of course, we will buy this and listen to it repeatedly with the hope of uncovering more those beautiful passages of improvisation upon past melodies that we find so dear in "The Rodeo Eroded" and "Book of Silk." Fortunately for us, we will at times, discover them. The vocal piece, "Daisy Bell" is a perfect accompaniment to their other sparse lyrical works. Unfortunately, like the scarceness of these vocal works, so too is the frequency in which this new ensemble of talented musicians seems to gel. Individualism and experimentation appear to have prevailed at the cost of the cohesive fuller sound that emanated from its previous tri-player group. The magic is not gone, it has just been redirected, and the shortening of their name reflects this. I will listen to this album and become familiar with it while I wait anxiously for the next Tin Hat installment. The question is, will it be worth it to wait for an album after that?

Compelling, as always!

Tin Hat (whether as a trio or not) continues to provide my favorite foreign films, minus the film! Story-like in their construction, my 8 yr old son draws picture after picture of what he envisions to be happening in each piece. Fresh, angular, textural, and altogether original. Wouldn't a collaboration with Jann Thierson (SP?), composer of the soundtrack from the film "Amelie" be delightful?

The Sad Machinery of Spring, Tin Hat
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Customer Ratings