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Black Sun Productions, "Operett Amorale"

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Massimo and Pierce are best known around these parts as the Ghost Boys who formed part of Coil's live shows. They set up Black Sun Productions as a multimedia enterprise and Operett Amorale is their latest audio venture.
Divine Frequency

The album is a tribute to the German poet and dramatist Bertolt Brecht. Unlike most tributes to Brecht less than half the album is from Brecht's famous collaborations with Kurt Weill. Massimo and Pierce's artistic goals are very much in synch with Brecht's—all of their works are decadent and subversive. The marriage between Black Sun Productions and Brecht on this album works exceptionally well. Operett Amorale is littered with guest artists including Lydia Lunch, H.R. Giger, Fabrizio Pallumbo (from (r) and Larsen) and Coil. The contribution from Coil, "A List of Wishes," is one of Jhonn Balance's final studio works. It is an adaptation of one of Brecht's poems set to Sleazy's music. The lilting beat is both evocative of Weimarer Republik era Berlin and Coil's own distinct sound. H.R. Giger provides both the cover art and his voice to "Seeraeuber-Jenny". The cover art is Giger's Alien molesting a woman with its various appendages, I'm not quite sure how that ties in with Brecht but it is impressive looking nonetheless. Pallumbo's style fits like a glove on this album. Tracks like "Brothel Tango" sound like Larsen if Larsen were from twenties' Berlin. Pallumbo performs on most of the tracks with Massimo and Pierce. Whilst Pallumbo's influence is evident it never overpowers the songs. The one thing that lets the album down is Lydia Lunch's performance on "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency." Her delivery of the words is cringe worthy but then again, I have never been able to tolerate her pseudo art rubbish. Apart from that the rest of the CD is flawless. Massimo and Pierce's vocals are excellent, especially on "Pimp Ballad". The music complements their voices, many of the tracks sound like a band that have been playing these songs comfortably with each other for years. Some of the tracks use samples of older recordings of Brecht's works, "Johnny Over the Sea" uses Gisela May's voice and "Ballade von der Hoellenlili" uses Lotte Lenya (who won a Tony Award for one of her performances as Jenny). This is one of the best tributes to Brecht and the music of Weimar Berlin that I've heard in a long time. Unlike the diluted nature of Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife," Black Sun Productions' Operett Amorale embraces the sheer decadence and pleasure of the time and place whilst keeping it sounding modern and relevant to today. Massimo and Pierce would have made Brecht proud.

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2005 15:48  


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