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«Hit Parade Of Tears»

Phantom Orchard is the duo of electronics player Ikue Mori and avant-harp player Zeena Parkins who have been working together for twenty years as a duo, the Phantom Orchard Ensemble and Orchestra and with occasional guests. The new album of Phantom Orchard is released eight years of the duo collaboration with British drummer Steve Noble (Live At Cafe Oto 2014, Otoroku, 2016) and ten years after the album of Phantom Orchard Ensemble (with pianist, Sylvie Courvoisier, violinist Sara Parkins, vocalist-electronics player Maja S. K. Ratkje and cellist Maggie Parkins), that was inspired by fairy stories (Through The Looking-Glass, Tzadik, 2014).

Hit Parade Of Tears was inspired by stories, but completely different ones. Phantom Ortchars refers to the short stories of legendary Japanese author and actress Izumi Suzuki (1949-1986), known for her science fiction stories and essays on Japanese pop culture. Her original stories broke open the science fiction genre and in many ways foretold the cyberpunk movement. Suzuki was married to reeds player Kaoru Abe until his death and is also known for her association with photographer Nobuyoshi Araki and her close friendship with musician-poet Koichi Makigami. She tragically ended her life at the age of 36.

Hit Parade Of Tears is titled after a collection of short stories of Suzuki that was translated into English. The ten pieces transform the anarchic and deeply imaginative language of Suzuki and her short stories into a magical and mysterious collection of musical miniatures. Mori and Parkins add small percussion to their usual arsenal of electronics and acoustic and electric harps. Parkins also plays on the vintage Ondes Martenot, synth, harmonium and accordion. The music is sensual – with its extraterrestrial synesthesia sensibilities (check the aptly-titled «When my Skin was Still Humming» – and poetic, full of dramatic surprises and eccentric humor, and it sounds surprisingly untimely despite its extensive usage of electronics, processing and other sonic effects. It suggests an enigmatic, dreamy state of mind and addresses remarkably Suzuki’s sensibilities with captivating imagination, emotion and compassion. An arresting tribute to a powerful creative woman by two powerful creative women.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ikue Mori (electronics, small percussion, foley, processing), Zeena Parkins (acoustic harp, objects, electric harp, electronics, small percussion, foley, harmonium, Ondes Martenot, synthesizer, accordion)