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Big Hat


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal, experimental, alternative pop

Status:

Final album, Taqueria del Muerte (1994)

See also:

A Big Hat page

The Ectophiles' Guide entry on Preston Klik's subsequent project, My Scarlet Life

Comparisons:

Rainbirds? Her Majesty the Baby? Those may be a little far-fetched. There are some similarities with Preston Klik's new band, My Scarlet Life. (Neile)

Cocteau Twins, Bel Canto, Siouxsie Sioux, Single Gun Theory. (sae@clas.suffolk.edu)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Dramatic, strange, sometimes bombastic, musically inventive, sometimes piercingly beautiful music.Truly individual sound—a shade extreme, almost Gothic, imaginative, lively, sensual. Unusual instrumentation. (Neile)

Big Hat presents a breath of fresh air—their style is unique—as far as I know, there are no other groups which are doing anything like them. The lead singer, Yvonne Bruner, who also writes the lyrics, has a wide vocal range, which sometimes sounds like Anneli Marian Drecker (of Bel Canto, such as in the song "Seaside", with cute little trills which send shivers up my spine, but at other times sounds down and depressing more like Siouxsie Sioux in songs such as in "Jesus" or "Red Lines". Anyway, these folks deserve attention. (sae@clas.suffolk.edu)

i discovered this band second stage at lallapolloser and have loved them dearly ever since. why? i think it their stage presence. and once you see them live you are hooked like a fish!!! (bighat@camelot.bradley.edu)

Recommended first album:

selena at my window is probably the most easily accessible, though if they're the type of band you might like, you'll like all their albums. (Neile)

Recordings:


shimmer

Release info:

1991—C'est la Morte—CLM 038-2

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Yvonne Bruner—lead vocals
Preston Klik—samples, melodica, trumpet
Char-Malloy Baum—5-string electric violin, backing vocals Jim Stallman—miscellaneous percussion

Guest artists:

Lorien—alto sax

Produced by:

Big Hat and Kerry Brown

Comments:

This album starts with a voice commanding you to "open your mind" and that's just what this album does—and maybe what you need to do to truly appreciate this album and what Big Hat does. It's a maze of electronic background music, ethereal but earthy, too. It skirts the edges of being over-the-top, but because of their writers' great sense of song and sonic structure and Yvonne Bruner's anchoring voice it never is. And besides, you get the sense of how much they're enjoying the music they're creating. Truly shimmering music. (Neile)

Shimmer has no dancey songs on it, but a few jazzy ones. The mood it projects could be compared to Cocteau Twins, or maybe Matsui/Drecker, but it isn't like either of them. One song, "You Lied", is an absolute masterpiece—it's hypnotic, with the violin sounding almost Indian in style, and the synths just lift you up and take you flying through the clouds. (sae@clas.suffolk.edu)

a brief listen to shimmer made me think of that strange boundary between new romantic and goth (try not to think on that one too hard!) but it is kinda pretty. (clsriram@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)

i listen to this so much i am worried about the CD wearing out!!! (bighat@camelot.bradley.edu)

"garden of edith" is a viable reason for existing. (woj@smoe.org)


Inamorata EP+4

Release info:

1992—March Records—MAR 003

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended if other Big Hat recordings appeal to you.

Group members:

Yvonne Bruner—lead vocals
Preston Klik—samples, melodica, trumpet
Char-Malloy Baum—5-string electric violin, backing vocals
Jim Stallman—miscellaneous percussion

Produced by:

Preston Klik, Kerry Brown, Billy Corgan, and John "Skippy" McFadden

Comments:

This is an EP plus four songs from their Hat Head 1990 cassette-only release. It's much lower-key than Shimmer, and perhaps not quite as compelling, but you will still like this if you're a fan of their other work. It's wonderful music to lose yourself in. "Country Death Song" is great fun, and the four songs included from Hat Head make me wish that were available on disc. (Neile)

It is a little more up-beat than Shimmer. The remix of "Flowers", called "Flowerbox", reminds me of music by Single Gun Theory. (sae@clas.suffolk.edu)


selena at my window

Release info:

1993—March Records—MAR 008

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Yvonne Bruner—lead vocals, tin whistle
Preston Klik—samples, melodica, trumpet, backing vocals
Char-Malloy Baum—5-string electric violin, backing vocals Jim Stallman—percussion, hammered dulcimer

Guest artists:

John Kruth—flute, mandolin, jews harp
Neil Jendon—guitar solo

Produced by:

Preston Klik with Big Hat

Comments:

Again Big Hat exhibits its wonderful sense of song construction and inventive sound. This is just as wonderful as shimmer: a lively and compelling album. (Neile)

this is so groovy, delicious, wonderful, mysterious, moving, beautiful, and so many adjectives i am sure you do not want to read!!! (bighat@camelot.bradley.edu)

i wouldn't say that shimmer is uneven but in comparison to selena at my window, shimmer pales. selena at my window is a total experience from start to finish that blows me away. highly recommended. (woj@smoe.org)


Taqueria del Muerte

Release info:

1994—One Man's Ceiling (is another man's floor) Records—OMC 004

Availability:

Out of print

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Yvonne Bruner—lead vocals, tin whistle
Preston Klik—samples, melodica, trumpet
Char Malloy—electric violin, backing vocals
Jim Stallman—drums, hammered dulcimer

Guest artists:

Eric Remschneider—cello

Comments:

How can this be Big Hat's final album? They were such a great band, and this album shows how great they were. It may not be my favourite of their albums (I have a fondness for Shimmer that will be hard to shake) but it's a wonderful, worthy album. This is Big Hat's swan song, and a truly beautiful and strange album. Includes a variety of wonderful Big Hat songs and cover of a Hank Williams song that surprised me at first but has really grown on me. (Neile)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2012-10-07 19:22:44.
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