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Æther


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal alternative pop

Status:

Only album, The Smoke of Vanished Kisses (1996). Diana Trimble and Barbara Imhoff have moved on to other projects, though they may work together in the future

See also:

Diana Trimble's site

Diana Trimble's My Space page

Comparisons:

The only one that occurs to me is The Shakers but that's not quite it. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own, co-written songs, and covers

General comments:

Harp and vocals. Not new age at all. The tracks with percussion rock. I don't really know how to describe them, but I do recommend giving a listen if you get the opportunity. (samurgie@sgi.net)

Two San Francisco women, one sings, the other plays the pedal harp. The backing ranges from spare to electronic-dance to neo-classical. As the harp is used in a fairly unconventional manner (though is it *unmistakably* a harp), they are, relatively speaking, more upbeat. The vox, who sounds like a Sarah McLachlan crossed with someone else I can't think of, also writes lyrics. Her words are poetic, witty, whimsical and wise—a dash of Jane Siberry, a sprinkle of Suzanne Vega. There's also a nice, non-gender specific bent to much of the lyrics. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

Sweet-backed gritty emotional lyrics. Lovely! You'd think harp-based music would be too sweet or something but there's a lot of electronic energy going on with it in addition to the energy of the singer—she has a rich, gorgeous, expressive voice. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

The Smoke of Vanished Kisses is their only album

Recordings:

The Smoke of Vanished Kisses

The Smoke of Vanished Kisses

Release info:

1996—City of Tribes (label now seems defunct)—COTCD 012

Availability:

Out of print, though it seems to be available used in various places and through Diana Trimble (1996)

Ecto priority:

Highly, highly recommended

Group members:

Barbara Imhoff—pedal harp
Diana Trimble—vox & language

Guest artists:

Chase Harlan—electric & 12-string acoustic guitars
Dan Reiter—cello
Jake Rivera—bass guitar
Chuck Kentis—piano, machines
David Palmer—machines

Produced by:

Chuck Kentis & David Palmer

Comments:

An intriguing album that seems only to get more welcome each time we play it. I bought this based on reviews on ecto and wasn't disappointed. It took me a bit to get into the mix of sounds but the more I hear it the more I love it. It's a powerful collection of songs, a mix of gentle instruments, but strong playing and emotional lyrics. I like the counterpoint of the harp against the vocals, and the variety of the songs on the album from plaintive to rocking. Love their cover of "Goldenhair". Over the years this album has been played and played and played...and is always welcome whenever it gets in the player. This album is a longtime favourite. (Neile)

The first vocal I heard was the far off ghost of Patsy Cline drifting down from heaven over a harp. I had read a lot about Æther and thought I'd love it but I don't at all.... Speaking of dichotomies, I am constantly drawn to ethereal vocal projects but completely repelled by "new age" feels. It's a fine line and this album does not seem to quite cross it. The backing music is very sweet (lots of harp) but adding regular rock n' roll drum kit on track 1 inches it closer to pop very awkwardly. Then add a low, bluesy lead on top and it becomes a very strange mix. Lyrics are above average, dreamy runs on past love, betrayal and "god standing on her head", but my favorite lyrics on track 4 is a John Donne poem. Some voices just don't fit your soul and I'll admit to a soprano preference with my floaty music, the lead's alto is smooth and warm and the "white soul' mannerisms are strangely interesting but the whole thing fits together like a peanut-butter and pickle sandwich sitting heavy on my stomach, undigested.
     Track 5 we have the rock drums with harp again plus a growling vocal doing these Aaron Neville trick rolls—odd, to say the least. With two women I had Cocteau Twins harmony hope in my heart, but the lead is definitely the lead and the background vocals are almost non-existent. The album order also is a jolt, track 4 and 6 are vocal and harp with an attempted rock hit stuck right in the middle. Track 8, "BE" is the only song I will tape before passing this along and it gives you a strong idea of what this group COULD BE; harmonies are up, drum kit is held back, dark and tasty, the music is sparse, the funk feels good against the harp floating in and out...the vocal mannerisms that bothered me elsewhere work here, as they are the melody, rather than the style...it ends with a Bel Canto-ish/Glee Club finish. Excellent song in the middle of a mixed-bag. Track 10 is a possible save with the Piedmont Choir and cello behind the lead assisting the birth of a very avant composition. A big fat ALMOST on this one but I'll look for their next try. (cyo@landoftheblind.com)


Further info:

Æther contribute "Half Light" from The Smoke of Vanished Kisses to The Hanging Garden soundtrack album.

Email Diana Trimble


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Entry last updated 2012-10-01 23:53:32.
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