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Music News - Announcing Claire Cowan's Sensationally Flamboyant Score with Balletx

Announcing Claire Cowan's Sensationally Flamboyant Score with Balletx

10 July 2024 - 0 Comments

Award-winning composer and instrumentalist Claire Cowan is set to release her new album Macaroni today, produced as an original score for BalletX's latest production in Philadelphia. This innovative work, a collaboration with acclaimed choreographer Loughlan Prior (www.loughlanprior.com) and visionary costume designer Emma Kingsbury (www.emmakingsbury.com), celebrates "camp" culture throughout history.

The ballet and album draw inspiration from the 1772 Macaroni Scandal.

The term "Macaroni" originally referred to young English men who adopted extravagant, effeminate fashions inspired by their travels to continental Europe. These fashions challenged gender norms and were often satirized in the press, much like today's treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

Cowan explains the concept behind the album: "Macaroni pays homage to camp fashion, icons, and objects through a musical collage of influences, beginning with the song 'Yankee Doodle.' I wanted each musical 'wink' towards the history of Camp to feel celebratory and fun. The tracks often spin off in unexpected directions, with outbursts of voice and snippets of sampled historic dialogue."

The album features seven tracks, each exploring different facets of camp culture:

1. Introducing the Macaroni - A playful variation on Yankee Doodle with a rhythmical Latin twist, setting the stage for the album's eclectic journey.

2. Tea Party - Features camp dialogue in a rhythmic and playful way, becoming increasingly absurdist as the track progresses.

3. Badminton & Flamingos - Begins as a slow motion badminton game ends in a homage to the campest of objects - the plastic garden flamingo.

4. The Pretty Gentleman - An operatic aria sung by tenor Giancarlo Visi, blending Jeff Buckley-esque overtones with lonely electric guitar. The lyrics juxtapose tender imagery with absurd pasta metaphors.

5. Mac n Cheese - A downbeat blues inspired track, featuring a relaxed, glitchy beat and tumbling piano lines.

6. The Marvellous Macaronis - Begins with a sassy slow harpsichord tango-esque melody and culminates in a pumping club beat, showcasing a "more is more" approach with beat box samples and orchestral outbursts.

7. His Name Was Mozart - A cathartic and uplifting soft rock finale, incorporating vocal phrases from Liberace's classical music program.

Cowan's innovative use of unconventional sounds extends to her choice of instruments. "I used a bunch of polarizing hero instruments, sometimes considered “bad taste” in the spirit of camp- harpsichord, banjo, recorder - mixed in with beatbox, opera, and electric instruments," she says. "I also wanted to use instruments I'd created directly from sampled pasta, teacups and badminton racquets. There's whistled Rigatoni, shakers of macaroni, and carefully catalogued teacup, saucer, and spoon samples."

Voice is also an important part of the album, and although some of it is sampled from historical audio, (Liberace for example) much of it has been generated by Cowan herself with voice changing technology. “With speech to speech technology I was able to create a whole cast of camp voices to underpin the themes of the ballet and thread the tracks together. It is an element which I was able to utilize to add flavour and humour to the ballet, and give Loughlan inspiration for camp movement and characters.”

Next: L.A. Mitchell returns with reflective new single 'Glove'

Prev: Throng emerge from the depths of winter with a duo of single releases


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