THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF MARC ALMOND (Part 29-34)

The next two weeks will bring an end to this particular series.

I lost track of Marc Almond‘s career at the turn of the century with Open All Night being the last of his music that I bought at the time of release.  I’ve looked things up and to my surprise, have learned that he has released a further 14 albums this century (taking the total to 24) and, according to wiki, there have been 12 singles in the period 2001-2017, none of which charted.

I’ve tried my best to track down each of the singles, but obviously I don’t have the b-sides.  I’m also being lazy but doing some cut’n’pasting from wiki for the background info:-

(29) Glorious (from the 2001 album, Stranger Things)

Stranger Things is the eleventh solo studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. It was released by Blue Star Music, in conjunction with XIII BIS Records, on 18 June 2001.

According to an article in Billboard magazine, the sound of Stranger Things “finds a middle ground between the spare gothic synth-pop of Open All Night and the orchestral grandeur of 1991’s Tenement Symphony. Almond employed the services of Jóhann Jóhannsson, Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, to produce the album. Jóhannsson also plays most of the instruments, with some assistance from other musicians from Iceland, and is responsible for many of the arrangements.

(30) Gone But Not Forgotten (from the 2003 album, Heart On Snow)

Heart on Snow is the twelfth solo studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. It was released by Blue Star Music, in conjunction with XIII BIS Records, on 21 October 2003.

An article by the BBC describes how Almond “went to St Petersburg to interpret traditional Russian romance songs” to make what “may have become his most ambitious album so far”. Almond mostly sang cover versions of traditional Russian songs, including a number from the Russian romance canon, and collaborated with a number of Russian artists on the album, such as Alla Bayanova and Lyudmila Zykina.

(31) I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten (from the 2007 album, Stardom Road)

Stardom Road is the thirteenth solo studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. It was released by Sanctuary Records on 4 June 2007.

Stardom Road was Almond’s first new album after his involvement in a near-fatal traffic accident in October 2004. It is an album composed mostly of cover versions, a fact borne out of necessity as Almond found himself unable to write following the accident. Almond told Time Out that the album is intended as “a trip down memory lane, a musical journey from the 1950s to where he finds himself today”.

The album features collaborations with Sarah Cracknell, Antony Hegarty and Jools Holland, with some of the tracks also featuring members of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

(NB : The single features the Saint Etienne chanteuse…..)

(32) Gabriel b/w The Lunatic Lover (from the 2011 album, Feasting With Panthers)

Feasting with Panthers is the sixteenth solo studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. The album is credited to Almond and Michael Cashmore, of Current 93 and Nature and Organisation, with both given equal billing. The album was released by Strike Force Entertainment, part of Cherry Red Records, on 30 May 2011.

Marc Almond first worked with Michael Cashmore when Almond contributed guest vocals to the Current 93 album Black Ships Ate the Sky. They next collaborated as Marc Almond & Michael Cashmore for the EP Gabriel and the Lunatic Lover in 2008 and continued to occasionally work together until they completed Feasting with Panthers. The album is entirely composed of poetry set to music and was produced with both artists separate at all times with music and vocals being sent back and forth. The Guardian describes the album as “a sumptuous piano-driven collaboration with Michael Cashmore, featuring songs derived from the poetry of Jean Cocteau, Gérard de Nerval and Jean Genet”, which Almond in the same article calls “decadent poetry translated by Jeremy Reed.

(NB : The album was released in 2011, but the single pre-dated it somewhat, being issued as far back as 2008)

(33) Nijinsky Heart (from the 2010 album, Varieté)

Varieté is the fifteenth studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. It was released on 7 June 2010 through Strike Force Entertainment, part of Cherry Red Records.

Varieté marks Almond’s 30th year as a recording artist. It is his first album of original material in nine years. At the time of its release, Almond himself stated it would be his final album of original material as he had increasingly become more interested in recording pre-existing songs (as many of his covers albums have showcased), but this would prove to be untrue and he went on to record further original material afterwards. Much of it is self-produced and co-written with longtime collaborators Neal Whitmore and Martin Watkins.

(34) Burn Bright b/w The Dancing Marquis (from the 2014 album, The Dancing Marquis)

The Dancing Marquis is the eighteenth solo studio album by the British singer/songwriter Marc Almond. It was released by Strike Force Entertainment / Cherry Red Records on 16 June 2014.

The Dancing Marquis compiles the songs from the limited edition 7″ vinyl EPs Burn Bright and Tasmanian Tiger together with two new tracks and two remixes. The album features guest appearances from Jarvis Cocker and Carl Barât, and some of the tracks were produced by Tony Visconti.

JC

3 thoughts on “THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF MARC ALMOND (Part 29-34)

  1. Thank you JC, for paying so much attention to Marc Almond. He is one of my musical heroes. He’s a singer, a musician, a poet, an interpreter of culture, a survivor. He’s one of the best things to come out of Post Punk and the 80s.

    Stranger Things is a dreamy, cinematic and orchestral tour de force, it’s one of my favorite of Marc’s solo efforts. Lights and Glorious are standouts.

    Heart On Snow show’s Marc’s commitment to his art, but it is mostly a curio for me. The title track is quite impressive and Sleeping Beauty is simply gorgeous.

    When Marc Almond makes a covers album, everyone just needs to get out of the way. It is true of his 2017 effort Shadows and Reflections, as well as 2007’s Stardom Road. It contains one of the most incredibly exciting songs he has ever recorded, Paul Ryan’s Kitsch. It has a spectacular orchestral production that is so over the top, you expect to hear his mic drop at the end – you get the final strum of a very hardworking acoustic guitar. I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten has some really powerful emotion attached to it. Sarah Cracknell sounds all grown up and so very serious. It’s a beautiful paring on a fantastic production by Tristram Penna.

    It’s my opinion that working with Michael Cashmore on Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover had a great impact on Marc Almond. So much of his music in the past decade since is informed by this work. While Marc can still be that eccentric musical chameleon, much of his music has found a feeling of calm, inner peace, concentration on his particular intent. My favorite track from Feasting With Panthers is Boy Caesar. It’s everything I want from a Marc Almond song.

    Nijinsky Heart was the lead track to Variete and gave me a hint that Marc was heading back to the smokey basements of Weimar Germany for another musical tour. My instincts were proved right, but there are some detours into late 50s/early 60s Britain as well. More than one or two of these songs could have been sung by Julie London in another time and space. It contains one of Marc and Neal X’s best collaborations, My Madness and I.

    I love both The Dancing Marquis and Burn Bright EPs as very separate collections. Luckily, the additions to re-compile the album as The Dancing Marquis works well. It’s an album that sees familiar faces like Martin McCarrick return and reinforces the collaborations with Neal X and Michael Cashmore. I feel like the Jarvis Cocker track, Worship Me Now is probably the weakest track on the album. My favorite track is the over the top Pop Glam of Idiot Dancing written and produced by Marc and Neal X. Tony Visconti shows why he will always be one of the great Rock Music producers. He respects the music and puts care into his production, careful not to overshadow it.

    This series has been a lot of fun JC, some weeks I felt like it was published just for my benefit – heck, I’ll stick with that delusion… Since you left a few more worthy albums out there, I think I may just take advantage of that and submit something special to round them up.

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