Alice CD (2004)

Artist: Tom Waits

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One of the most distinctive of Tom Waits' creations, Alice occupies its own corner of the odd-angled room that is Tom Waits' body of work. While there are the familiar parts--the redoubtable ragged voice, jazz ballads and poignant musings on death and longing--the whole is strange and exotic. A devastatingly beautiful atmosphere made of sorrow and reverie, insanity and resignation, rises like a mist in Alice. It's a lyrical melancholia, a feeling that creeps in on the arms of Stroh violins and unabashed poetry. These are songs to fall into, and sometimes, to keep falling. There are fragile, haunted musings and laments, mad ruminations, tales of unrequited love and anthems from beyond the grave. "Alice," says Waits, "is adult songs for children, or children's songs for adults. It's a maelstrom or fever-dream, a tone poem, with torch songs and odyssey in dream logic and nonsense." It's an odyssey he and Kathleen Brennan created together, in what is becoming one of the epic collaborations in music, going on over twenty years now. "Kathleen is my Alice," said Waits. "We met on New Year's Eve, 1980. We used to play a game called 'Let's Go Get Lost.' She'd say 'turn here, turn here...' until we were lost. It's kind of like writing songs together. In the studio, Kathleen will submerge herself in seven newspapers and a novel, and then at just the right time she'll raise her head and make a remark that will become the eyes and ears of the song. Alice, once dubbed "the lost Tom Waits masterpiece" by the press, was originally done as an avant-garde opera directed by Robert Wilson for Hamburg's Thalia Theater in the winter of 1992. Alice was based loosely on Lewis Carroll's obsession with young Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired his Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. Working with Brennan, they wrote fifteen songs for the Wilson opera in the summer of 1992. The Thalia performed Alice for eighteen months with an eclectic orchestra of Waits' design, but the composers did not record the songs until last summer (along with his forthcoming simultaneous new release, Blood Money). "Songs are joining the dream of the listener, and completing a circuit that is really entirely your own," said Waits. "These songs are unsure footsteps, in a strange house, in the dark." Lyrically and musically, the songs are part of a cycle where each song relates to what comes before and what will follow, as you listen, Alice is a puzzle that reveals as it unravels and makes a bold step forward for Waits.


Label Koch International Distributio
SKU 60554145
UPC 045778663224
UPC 14 00045778663224
Format CD
Release Date 1/6/2004
Author Tom Waits
Cello Matt Brubeck
Featuring Stewart Copeland
Featuring Bent Clausen
Horns Ara Anderson
Piano/Vocals Tom Waits
Strings/Clarinet Bebe Risenfors
Stroh Dawn Harnes
Trumpet Nic Phelps
Upright Bass Larry Taylor
Q Magazine ...oddly sideways lyrics and [an] often meditative vibe make it a strangely gorgeous and graceful work.
David Fricke, Rolling Stone ...his throat is now pure theater, a weapon of pictorial emphasis and raw honesty.
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