Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
No Description Available No Track Information Available Media Type: CD Artist: SAINTE-MARIE,BUFFY Title: ILLUMINATIONS Street Release Date: 05/16/2000
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No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Street Release Date: 05/16/2000
Strange, dark, stunning concept piece
mianfei | 11/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How Buffy Sainte-Marie came to make "Illuminations" remains one of the great mysteries of music history. Released at the tail end of 1969, the album sold so poorly and lost Vanguard so much money that they made her produce music that would be commercially viable (and succeeded only for the number 38 single "Mister Can't You See"). Sainte-Marie herself apparently disowned the recording because of the trouble it caused her and Vanguard in subsequent years, despite her continuing interest in its electronic sounds.
Though we do know "Illuminations" was recorded in several sessions including four songs with little-known folk/jazz musician Mark Roth producing instead of Maynard Solomon, where the idea behind the album and its highly conceptual theme of spiritual liberation came from is something nobody has ever found out, let alone revealed to the public. This aside, the music on "Illuminations" was entirely different from what Sainte-Marie had been doing on her first five albums, which had moved in a quite fashionable way from folk to orchestral pop and country. Although "Illuminations" is often thought of as an electronic album, in fact it is electro-acoustic, with Sainte-Marie chiefly using a primitive Buchla synthesiser to alter the sound of her own acoustic guitar and voice. This becomes immediately apparent on the first track, based on the Leonard Cohen poem "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot", where Sainte-Marie sings the whole poem rapidly in a tone far stranger than even her normal vibrato could produce. On "Better to Find Out For Yourself" (which had been released as a single before her previous album came out) she further exaggerates the trend of what might be described as speeded-up poetry recitals. Even if the lyrics are nothing like proper poetry, the effect is totally entrancing. "Suffer The Little Children", which looks at the mistreatment of children, is a folk song that would not have been out of place on her early albums.
Yet, despite these trends, "Illuminations" is generally a much quieter record than Sainte-Marie's earlier albums. "Mary" manages to tell Jesus' birth from the perspective of the Virgin in a manner that remarkably fits the concept line of the record and would not be out of place on a properly religious recording! What's more, "Mary" is a very short song that does not in any way seem incomplete like most piece of that length. "The Vampire" moves in the opposite direction from "God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot" and "Better to Find Out For Yourself" with is slow, dark tone and single-line verses, which is taken much further still on "Poppies" and Ed Freeman's "The Angel" where the acoustic guitar is blurred behind a cathedral-like silence and darkness.
The four Mark Roth-produced tracks, in contrast to the quiet electro-acoustic music of the rest of "Illuminations" are stripped-down, intense rock songs that are quite far from the spiritual concept of the first eight songs. Indeed, they have an intensity that rivals the Roches' amazing "Want Not Want Not", especially on the passionate love song "With You, Honey" and "He's A Keeper of the Fire".
All in all, "Illuminations" is a record of remarkable diversity and surprising originality that makes one wonder how Buffy Sainte-Marie was able to even cut it in the first place. Most listeners will find something to enjoy here, but those with an open ear should appreciate the whole album as a conceptual masterpiece."
The most amazing social commentary on north american culture
squidshack | Glendale, AZ USA | 07/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you buy any Buffy album get this one. It is the most amazing album of folk, social activist songs. As a parent I find her songs and social , harshly honest, beautifully honest even in today's times. Often it is only through art that we can confront our demons honestly and emotionally to the effect that it can make us think at the least and make social change at best.
Go buffy! The electronic distortions of guitar and voice are powerful compliments to the most haunting and amazingly honest lyrics. There is no other Buffy album that combines musical accompaniment to her voice and lyrics to this most powerfully artistic effect. I totaly recommend this album. My second favorite is her country album. illuminations is a masterpiece for Buffy and her calaborators."