BAND OF THE WEEK: JANINA ANGEL BATH

28 Nov

BAND OF THE WEEK: JANINA ANGEL BATH

Let us turn our attention today to the concept of balance – the alpha and the omega, the yin and the yang, the peanut butter and the jelly.

Let our guide for this metaphysical journey be the inestimable JANINA ANGEL BATH, the titular “Gypsy Woman” that stands at the center of her astounding debut album that bears the same name.

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Like with so much of the music that moves us, it’s difficult to find the words that adequately articulate the awesomeness of sound contained in the music of Ms. Angel Bath – though it perhaps moves us one step closer to the goal of description to note that the any idea of a “containment” of sound on “Gypsy Woman” is somewhat of a misnomer. This album contains sounds the same way the sun contains light.

And the connection with balance? You may see that as a misnomer as well. Certainly “Gypsy Woman” is an album unconcerned with many things – traditional Western pop song structure, and the importance of getting your dance party hoppin’ on the good foot being just two non-concerns. There is a purity of vision in the music of Janina Angel Bath – it is what it is, and it is that so forcefully that it exists (for this listener) to serve as an invaluable counterbalance to nearly everything apart from itself.

But what does that MEAN?

“The virtue embodied in the doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people.”

– Confucius

“Don’t ask me – I don’t know.”

– Ozzy

Listen: I discovered long ago that I like Black Sabbath and Donovan, that I enjoy Venom and The Incredible String Band. By extension, I like bands that are so heavy that they make Black Sabbath sound like Donovan, and bands that are tripping in their skies to such a degree that they make The Incredible String Band sound like Venom.

So … balance. So … Janina Angel Bath.

Download the song “Gypsy Woman” by Janina Angel Bath

“No matter how often Houdini disavowed supernatural claims and celebrated his own ability, audiences were always ready to suspend disbelief when confronted with his powers. He did little to discourage this. Usually working behind a curtain, he concealed his struggles to escape handcuffs, straightjackets, chains and padlocked containers. When he did allow himself to be seen – as in the aerial escape in Kansas City – he flailed about more than was necessary, to make the escape look harder than it was. The first approach preserved the possibility that unseen forces were at work; the second revealed the mystery as an awesome personal achievement. He was at once a Faustian hero for a claustrophobic age and a reluctant emblem of the supernatural in an age of religious doubt.

Houdini’s performances epitomized popular longings for escape from the constraints of routine and normality but also from a subtler dis-ease, a feeling that one had somehow lost contact with ‘real life.’ In turn-of-the-century American culture, cravings for intense experience animated everything from the vogue of romantic adventure novels to the spreading popularity of wilderness recreation. American yearned to reconnect with some pulsating primal vitality – vicariously, reading on a couch in Hartford, or directly, hiking on a trail in Yosemite. Often the intense experience had no larger purpose beyond a renewed sense of well-being. The reverence for ‘life’ as a value in itself could be traced to romantic origins, in the writings of Wordworth, Emerson and Thoreau. But never before had life-acquired such a wide following. Never before had so many people thought that reality was throbbing with vitality, pulsating with excitement, and always just out of reach.”

Jackson Lears, “Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920”

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4 Responses to “BAND OF THE WEEK: JANINA ANGEL BATH”

  1. Lightning Baltimore November 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm #

    Bought the album a year from a $1 bin ’cause it looked intriguing. Excellent stuff!

    • thedooner November 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

      That $1 made you rich!

      • Lightning Baltimore November 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

        Indeed! Bargain bins and free bins have afforded me some incredible finds. I’ve covered, and will be covering, a lot of them in my blog, Lightning Jukebox.

      • thedooner November 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

        And a rich blog it is! Lots of obscure flavors to sample. Nice one!

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