Friday, November 08, 2013

"he tends to rip his heart open in the manner of King David": Violets vibe to cover the soul

In 2000, The Violet Burning released the stunning "I am a stranger in this place: an experiment in vibe."  There is no adequate way to unpack all that  that subtitle (or even its loaded last word) means.

Frontman Michael J. Pritzl, from the liner notes:

"..Many bands at this point in their careers release a 'best of' recording.  And in some ways this may be considered that.  This, though, is different altogether, it is in many ways a recording that sheds new light on songs that have already been recorded.  This is a collection of songs that have appeared on previous releases..But they are joined together by a common thread.  All of the songs are songs of faith, surrender and worship.  We tried to take it one step further for you by
recording these songs with brand new arrangements.  Stripped down versions with dreamy guitars, piano, djimbe, shakers, tambourines, drones, delays, tremolos, all recorded live...
...And so I hope that you will enjoy this experiment in vibe.  May it calm your heart and cover your soul, may it bring peace to your spirit"

Cross Rhythms:

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer Stranger offers classic Violet Burning songs and gives leader Michael Pritzl the opportunity to re-live his best musical moments, re-record them with the current line up of the band and breathe even more vibe into what is already a pretty atmospheric back catalogue. Reminiscent of a cross section of 80s bands, most notably with a touch of The Fall and a smattering of U2 here and there, the subtitle of the album, 'An Experiment In Vibe', seems an accurate summation of the contents. There are so many highlights to take you to ever wonderful moments but let me pick a couple. "Song Of The Harlot/My God, My Strength" was originally recorded on the 'Strength' album and here it seems to vibrate with even stronger passion, portraying a moving picture of grace. Thematically it seems fitting that "As I Am" follows on as it only emphasises just how unconditionally God loves us. The pounding rhythms of "There Is Nowhere Else" gives a powerful re-interpretation of one of the band's earliest songs and a decade after its writing, it still powerfully connects. Ultimately, these are worship songs cleverly disguised as something else and Pritzl was making intimate, vibey worship in the days before there was a movement to take it to the broader Church. So perhaps now is a good time to discover what makes The Violet Burning such cult heroes. Slap the CD in the stereo, turn the volume up loud and let the music and the intertwining vocals of Pritzl and Melissa Barnett wash over you.  link
From Phantom Tollbooth:

After the high, dizzying plastics and low, heart-rending elastics of their last record, The Violet Burning has decided to settle down in "an experiment in vibe" for I Am a Stranger in This Place, a combination greatest hits, live, and praise and worship. The album’s cover makes obvious reference to Spacemen 3, and that, along with Spiritualized and Mercury-era Prayer Chain, is a good place to start in describing the sound of Stranger.

Most of these interpretations are not radically different than the originals, except in one respect: whereas songs such as "Low" and "She Says Electric" exploded into waves of distortion at times, their "vibe" counterparts never do, relying instead on chorus and echo pedals, as well as the soft urgency in lead singer Michael J. Pritzl’s voice to get their power across. Pritzl is helped, as always, by a member of his usual throng of female back-up singers—this time around, it’s Melissa Barnett.

Violet Burning fans will know most of these songs, although quite a few of them come from the long out-of-print albums Strength and Chosen, and thus Stranger is the only place to get them. They’re all in the worship vein that the band is beginning to become known for, although they’re quite a bit rawer and edgier than, say, "Shout to the Lord." Instead, Pritzl tends to rip his heart open in the manner of King David, showing not only his desperation ("Low"), but also his joy ("There is Nowhere Else").

What I find really interesting and worth noting is the fine line between the spiritual and the sensual in these songs. Pritzl apparently does not draw a line (and nor should he), and even builds more haze around the issue by following "Baby, don’t let go" with "Spirit, don’t let go" in "Arabic Tremelo Radio." All the great rock stars, of course, from Little Richard to Marvin Gaye to Bono, have mixed the religious and the sexual in this manner, and essays could be (and have been) written on the implications of this. I’ll spare you another one.

All in all, this is a wonderful album for those seeking something more honest than typical praise and worship music, for fans of The Violets, or for those who can’t abide the current lack of drone music in the "Christian" scene.Michial Farmer, link 
From "Stranger Things":

With their fifth full length release, the appropriately titled i am a stranger in this place: an experiment in vibe, The Violet Burning have finally released the album that all their fans knew they could make.Drawing from bandleader Michael Pritzl's impressive back catalog of songs, the band has re-thought, re-interpreted, and re-designed both their sound and the songs themselves, making i am a stranger in this place at once immediate, fascinating, and powerful. Stripping back the distortion and heavily produced sound of their acclaimed 1998 effort Demonstrates Plastic and Elastic, the focus on the new album is again placed on Prtizl's impressive songwriting. Mixing personal expression and social observation, songs like "There is Nowhere Else," taken from the bands' 1990 debut Chosen, and "Arabic Tremelo Radio" from their self-titled 1996 album, gain a contemplative and meditative edge missing from their earlier recordings.Similar in style to Disintegration-era The Cure, some of the more mellow elements of U2, and the acoustic songs of The Smashing Pumpkins, The Violet Burning have created an album that is more than the sum of its influences. Using unique instrumentation (some songs feature congas, others piano, some just acoustic guitars with chorus effects), the album somehow manages to feel earthy yet otherworldly at the same time. Pritzl also shares the vocal spotlight with newcomer Melissa Barnett, who has Pritzl also shares the vocal spotlight with newcomer Melissa Barnett, whose angelic harmonies and counter-melodies act in perfect compliment to Pritzl's emotional songs.I am a stranger in this place: an experiment in vibe is the rarest of rock experiments: an album that both pushes the envelope and invites repeated listenings. Simply put, this is the sort of album that deserves a listener's full attention. Dim the lights, light a candle, and get lost in The Violet Burning's poetry, mood, and vibe. You'll be glad that you did.(To Order: 1-888-999-0838 or The Violet Burning website)Read our interview with Michael Pritzl of The Violet Burning.--Derek Anderson   LINK

Album embedded  more reviews on Amazon  and buy it there (some misguided souls are selling used copies).  Let it wash over you..Tell Michael I sent you.


 You should know...that the band has more recently revisited recording  acoustic or"vibe" versions of their songs..
whether older classics:
or recent material reimagined:


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