TOM125 | released: 06/03/2009 | LP
via Anost (Europe) via SCD (USA)
Niobe's multi-faceted music plays with the antagonism of her warm toned, relatively dark voice and manipulated, at times nearly unrecognisable sounds. Electronic effects extend and bend the sounds of acoustic instruments, minimalistic beats accompany jagged structures, small splitters continuously form new, fantastic picture puzzles. Niobe's compositions become alive with all the disruptions and unexpected turns, but she is never asking too much of her listeners.
Decidedly she combines parts coming from different musical styles and musical eras. The rhodes piano theme reminds Jazz Music, a passage at the grand piano leads to Modern Classical Music, a guitar or bass riff evokes a Blues feeling. Inbetween you find electronic chirps, and sounds from spaceships, minimal electronic beats and programmed abstractions. From Drum&Bass to Exotica, Niobe only needs a couple of bars, sometimes her pieces seem like perfidious deconstructions, like subtle dissections with using a very sharp scalpel.
Her fifth album Blackbird'S Echo has been recorded in New York City. Aki Onda who was involved as a guest producer has brought together 2 handful of the best New York musicians to contribute elements to Blackbird's Echo that spring from a variety of musical backgrounds but that all share the mastery and the passion of Niobe's music.
All contributing musicians initially started to work from the prerecorded material that Niobe started to record in Cologne. Most of the lyrics were provided from Niobe and her co-writers known from previous albums St. Lindemer, Roberto Cabot and Janeta Schude. The guideline for all the musicians involved was to come up with their own versions and visions of the songs.
Blackbird's Echo provokes a certain rupture with the offensive artificiality, one of the Niobe trademarks, but nevertheless her determined waywardness has managed to keep showing throughout the entire album. Rather than acting shyly impressed alongside the contributions by Trevor Dunn (double bass), Shelley Burgeon (harp), Doug Wieselman (bass clarinet), David Grubbs (vocals, organ) and many others, Niobe has managed to seemlessly integrate these parts into her very personal sound design. It's not surprising that her new work fascinates with a richness of sonority, depth and variation that absolutely needs to be discovered.