Hometown: BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Oh Perilous World, the sixth full length album from chamber-rock trio Rasputina, was performed by the band’s creator cellist/lead singer Melora Creager and drummer Jonathon TeBeest with second chair Sarah Bowman contributing additional vocals. The album will be released this Summer by the Filthy Bonnet Recording Co.with distribution through Ryko.
Creager wrote the songs featured on Oh Perilous World over the last two years after deciding current world events were more bizarre than anything she could scrounge up from the distant past. She obsessively read daily news on the Internet, copying words, phrases and whole stories that especially intrigued her. She compiled a vast notebook of this material from which the Oh Perilous World lyrics are culled. “Champion” is mostly the translation of an Osama Bin-Laden speech; “Child Soldier” references the phenomenon of African children’s armies; “In Old Yellowcake” utilizes imagery of the destruction of Fallujah. This is coupled with the albums overall narrative of Mary Todd Lincoln as Queen of Florida, with her blimp armies having attacked Pitcairn Island, where Fletcher Christian’s son Thursday emerges as a resistance icon, before the record’s grand end and subsequent denouement. The songs were recorded primarily with cello and drums, but despite this simple palette Rasputina create a wide range of textures and affects, including what seems to be electric guitars and violins — but is actually cunningly played and recorded cello.
Born and raised in Kansas, Creager comes from a musical family and received classical training. At 18 she moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design. While majoring in photography she began playing her cello in rock bands and became involved with drag performers. She formed “The Fingerlakes Trio,” a falsely geeky classical group that performed covers of disco hits, before joining NYC’s Ultra Vivid Scene who recorded three albums for cult British label, 4AD. It was her first exposure to the professional rock world — UVS opened for label mates like The Pixies, Belly and Throwing Muses. Following a tour with Nirvana as a cellist on their In Utero tour she desired to do a project of her own, and she created Rasputina.
The concept for the group came to her fully formed; the idea was written as a manifesto. Her intention was to create an electric cello choir — no boys or guitars allowed. Through want ads she recruited like-minded young cellists. Rasputina evolved, employing elaborate costuming, as they were unable to move about while forcibly stationary in their chairs. What began as strictly “Victorian Whites” — bloomers, corsets and hoopskirts, has evolved into an amalgam of historical feminine icons — Indian princesses, Hawaiian handmaidens and fallen medieval queens, Rasputina keeps their cultish following enthralled with intimate recitals and post-show receiving lines.
Rasputina works as an anomaly in popular music. By ignoring fashion trends and maintaining artistic integrity coupled with musical enthusiasm, the group has thrived as time has passed. They expose passionate fans to historical tales, and inspire young string players to seek alternatives to the classical world.
Rasputina have released two albums on Columbia Records, Thanks For the Ether and How We Quit the Forest. Following a short break after the birth of Melora’s daughter Hollis, the group returned with two more studio albums on Instinct Records, Cabin Fever, and Frustration Plantation. The live CD A Radical Recital was released in 2005 on Creager’s own Filthy Bonnet Recording Co. record label.
Oh Perilous World was co-produced by Melora Creager and Charlie Campbell (who mixed the live A Radical Recital), mixed by Dae Bennett and recorded at the Clubhouse in Rhinebeck and Soundcheck Republic in Chatham near Melora’s new home in New York State’s Hudson Valley.
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