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My Scarlet Life


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Dancey trippy alternative ectronica, with both ethereal and earthy vocals, built from evocative/eclectic influences from all over the map

Status:

Final release InfraRed (1999). Band has dissolved and members are involved in other projects.

See also:

DivaNation Records site

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Preston Klik's previous band, Big Hat; the Ectophiles' Guide's entry for Julie Axis's new band Jute

Comparisons:

Early work very like Big Hat mixed with Miranda Sex Garden, current work more like a trippy, swirly edged Sneaker Pimps or a more complex-sounding spinny Mandalay.

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Preston Klik describes his band as: "kinda trippy, with a little Hip Hop, sometimes hypnotic, with a dose of sensuality/erotica: TRYPNOTICA. It rolls pleasantly off the tongue, much like our music caresses the ear, the heart."

Their music is so diverse it's hard to categorize. The band they remind me of most is Miranda Sex Garden—though they're not quite that dark—but the two female leads somewhat dissonant harmonizing reminds me of them. The more I listen to them, the less they remind me of Miranda Sex Garden, but I still think they have a few things in common. My Scarlet Life tends to be a little funkier and humorous. (jjhanson@att.net)

how to describe the music? ummm. i have no idea. it is a mishmash of styles which seems more relaxed than big hat. certainly more organic. hmmm, i can't really explain my scarlet life. it's very ectophilic though. ;) i never really warmed up to buzzbomb that much but *really* liked the preceeding disc, trypnotica and liked the following release, infrared, a bit more than buzzbomb. i recommend checking those out before you say that they never lived up to their potential. ;) their other release, reliquaries, never seems to find its way into the cd player though. (woj@smoe.org)

Their style changed over time, almost with each album. While it was always complex and quirky it grew from a slighter gritter sound into the ectronic side of things where the lyrics took a back seat for the overall sound. Less humorous, more serious, more into soundscapes than quirky songs. (Neile)

I like trypnotica a lot, and really like reliquaries, though these preferences may well be based on time spent listening more than anything else. I think my copy of Buzzbomb got lost in my CD shelves with hardly a listen at all. Reliquaries is poppier and less trippy, but I love it. (neal)

Comments about live performance:

Having never heard them before, and only hearing a few songs of Big Hat once, I wasn't sure what to expect, but was fairly pleasantly impressed, although the sound in the bar was quite awful, and it was almost impossible to make out any of their lyrics. Plus their music is pretty complex, so it's really hard to make out what all is going on when you're in a bar full of talking people and a pretty muddy sound system. Definitely check them out if you have a chance. (1995, jjhanson@att.net)

Very professional, everyone knowing what they were doing. Very interesting, making use of strange 'instruments' (did I see a slinky?) for different effects, and managing to hold interest even with the basic instruments, such as the guitar. The style of music can be described as sometimes peppy gothic, but I think the name of their new CD, Trypnotica, is the best description. The type of music you can listen to with both your feet and your head, with neither getting bored. You can dance to it one moment, and brood to it the next. More interesting intellectually than emotionally, though. I liked very much the effect of having the two lead singers. (1997, jchigdon@mindspring.com)

It was a real treat for me to finally get to see My Scarlet Life, which was one of the reasons I went to the show. They recreate their world music influenced dance/trance music quite well live. I was expecting a bit more spark or energy which wasn't there (perhaps because of the icy manner of the two lead singers, who are quite friendly offstage). Anyway, it was a good start to the evening, and they certainly had a lot of fans there just to see them. (1997, neal)

Recommended first album:

Reliquaries or Trypnotica

Recordings:


Reliquaries

Release info:

1995—One Man's Ceiling is Another's Man's Floor Records—OMC005

Availability:

Mail order from address below, some stores in the U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of the quirky

Group members:

Julie Schreiber—vocals, lyrics, flute, bass
Heidi Cron—vocals, lyrics, flute, mandolin, guitar, ukelele
Jason More—drums, percussion
Preston Klik—organizing principal, sonics, trumpet, melodica

Guest artists:

Thomas Cray—miscellaneous fretted instruments
Winston Damen—trombone on track 3
Pramod Tummala—hurricane guitar on track 11
Andrew Arbetter—roxy guitar on track 11
John Kruth—mandocello on track 10

Produced by:

Preston Klik

Comments:

The CD is great—I think it will really grow on me. I was a little disappointed when I first looked through it to see it didn't include lyrics. But then, this morning I noticed a little red thread sticking out the side, and noticed for the first time a little scroll tied with thread stuck on the left side under the lip of the jewel box—lyric sheet! Pretty cool. (jjhanson@att.net)

At first I wasn't sure I liked this because the overall sound and the lyrics are so quirky, but it grew on me and now I even like—no, love—"Lunch with Ghandi" and "Cold Dinner for Elvis". Delightful and off-the-wall both musically and lyrically. They get extra points for pulling this one off—it's an album that keeps growing on me over the years. My Scarlet Life isn't Big Hat, and that took some adjustment. It's hard to describe. I like it a lot, and the more we play it the more I like it. Quieter. Weirder. Always intriguing. (Neile)

another one i need to listen to more, but because i like it! (woj@smoe.org)

The torch has been passed. This is the first CD from former Big Hat genius Preston Klik's new band. It's a lot like Big Hat.... It's nothing like Big Hat.... Julie Schreiber's vocals are a lot like Yvonne Brunner's.... They are nothing like Yvonne. It's got more jazz in it.... Ragtime, blues...it's got that Middle Eastern groove.... It's moodier, it's manic. It's, it's, it's hard to describe. It's not better than Big Hat, but it's a good first effort and Preston is getting better at producing. They have the sound, the songs could use to be stronger in places. I like it. I want more. Definitely weird, wild, creative. Quirky, fun, distressing. Definitely a Preston Klik production. (maeldun@i-2000.com)

Playful, fun, and very original music from Preston Klik, the ex-Big Hat leader. Lots of trumpet,flute and synthesizer (but not synthesizer sounding synthesizer), no I-only-know-the-power-chord guitar crunching. This album always puts me in a good mood. Plus it's got really cool cover art. (dbucak@netaxs.com)


Trypnotica

Release info:

1997—DivaNation, P.O. Box 1456, Arlington Heights, IL 60006-1456, U.S.A.—81010-2

Availability:

Mail order from address below, some stores in the U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of the trippy

Group members:

Julie Schreiber—lead and harmony vocals, flute
Christy Cameron Smith—lead and harmony vocals
Amy Spina—guitar, bass
Paul Fini—percussion, guitar
Preston Klik—organizing principal, samples, sequences

Produced by:

Preston Klik

Comments:

Great trypnotica. I confess to being a little disappointed that there wasn't anything as majorly quirky and playful on this album as "Lunch with Gandhi" from their previous disc, but the direction they're taking definitely suits the talents of this band. Swirly soundscapes with great vocals—works either as mood/background music but rewards close listening as well. (Neile)

Buzzbomb

Release info:

1998—DivaNation Records, 5602 N. Ridge Section X, Chicago, IL 60660—81010-3

Availability:

Mail order from address below, some stores in the U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for My Scarlet Life fans

Group members:

Christy Cameron Smith—lead & harmony vocals
Preston Klik—organizing principal & samples & keys
Julie Schreiber—leading & harmony vocals & flute
Paul Fini—guitar & percussion
Amy Spina—guitar & bass & percussion

Produced by:

Preston Klik

Comments:

I hate to say it but even on repeated listens it doesn't do a thing for me. Their other discs have taken a while to grow on me, but this one never did. I miss their first incarnation, and I miss Big Hat. (Neile)

danse amour

Release info:

1998—DivaNation Records, 5602 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL 60660

Availability:

Mail order from address below, some stores in the U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for My Scarlet Life fans

Group members:

See Trypnotica and Buzzbomb

Produced by:

Preston Klik

Comments:

Remixes of songs from Trypnotica and Buzzbomb intended to approach the effects of the band's live performances.

InfraRed

Release info:

1999—DivaNation Records, 5602 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL 60660, USA—Diva 009

Availability:

Mail order from address below, some stores in the U.S. that carry indie releases

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of the trippy

Group members:

Julie Axis—lead and harmony vocals, flute
Christy Cameron Smith—lead and harmony vocals
Paul Infiniti—bass, guitar, percussion
Amy Spina—guitar, bass, percussion
Preston Klik—samples, sequences, trumpet, melodica

Guest artists:

Stacia Spencer—viola, violin
Allison Chesley—cello

Produced by:

Preston Klik and My Scarlet Life

Comments:

My Scarlet Life is back in form to my ear. I really didn't like Buzzbomb and worried that I wasn't going to like My Scarlet Life anymore, but I took a chance and ordered this one, and I really like it. Some really catchy songs here, and the trademark wonderfully weird noises that My Scarlet Life is so good at. "Love's gone out of fashion / Love's gone out of vogue...", "You live in pure denial...". Songs that float through the mind in odd moments. I guess I would say that it's most like Trypnotica of all of their releases. (Neile)

Further info:

Write Preston Klik at 5602 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL 60660, USA or email DivaNation@aol.com

They contribute a track to the Kate Bush tribute album, I Wanna Be Kate.


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Entry last updated 2006-11-08 00:24:11.
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