US - California - Full Moon 64 - 12/30/01
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
Bavarian Fruit Bread
Hope Sandoval is an enigma and her music as well as her person is quite introvert and private.
As told in the interview last moonth, there's a lot of rumours
about the breaking up of Mazzy Star and that the "warm invention" is her newest group. Actually
the new Mazzy Star album is due in 2002. Meanwhile Hope wanted to do some of her own stuff for a
while, partly because of the media attention from Mazzy Star, but also to get back to her roots.
Her latest album Bavarian Fruit Bread, is not a radical departure from the Mazzy Star
sound, but maybe there are tendencies towards a lighter, more optimistic sound. The folk elements
are clearer, maybe because of the participation of the British folk legend Bert Jansch (Pentangle),
but it could also be because Hope's first band was a folk duo called Going Home back in the 80's.
To get the musical background straight: Early in the 80's, Mazzy Star guitarist David Rohback,
played in Rain Parade, one of the bands from the "Paisley underground scene", which also contained
bands like the Dream Syndicate and Green on Red. The Paisley underground was kind of a loose
aggregate of LA bands, influenced by the psychedelic 60's band, with two basic influences; The
Velvet Underground and acid rock. For a short period Rohback and Kendra Smith from the Dream
Syndicate formed a band called Clay Allison that ended in a band called Opal, a band defined by
Roback's distorted guitar playing and Smith's poetical voice. At the same time Hope was part of
the folk duo called Going Home. When Smith left Opal mid tour, Hope was asked to join the band.
When they returned home they continued their collaboration under a new name; Mazzy Star, with
some of the member from Opal. Mazzy Star released three albums, She Hangs Brightly (1990),
So Tonight That I Might See (1993), which also was their commercial debut due to the success
single Fade Into You, and the latest Among My Swan (1996). All three critically
well acclaimed and beautiful mood pieces swirling around Hope "sweet as honey" effortless vocal
and Rohbacks sparse yet exciting guitar soundscape. Some critics claimed that emphasize on mood
and texture, rather then musical variation, could become monotonous in the long run. But Mazzy
Star wasn't interested in being new or inventive, or even put on a spectacular show for the
audience. They just went on and made the music they wanted to make and their faithful fans loved
it. Their music was and is the main focus and should speak for it self.
In the new project The Warm Inventions most of the songs are written by Hope Sandoval, some in
collaboration with former My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O'Ciosoig, who also puts his colour on
the music. Maybe the biggest difference from Mazzy Star is a feeling of warmth and summer despite
of the melancholia. The sound is simple, warm, naked and stripped down. Even though it's not as
psychedelic as Mazzy Star, you also find some more experimental songs here like "Loose Me On The
Way". Some of this may be attributed to the technical skills of our own "noisemaker" Helge Sten.
This music is tonic for the soul and whether it is with Mazzy Star or The Warm Inventions, Hope's
whispering, fragile voice continues to send chills through listeners.
Best moments (lot's of them, but...):
"Butterfly Morning": a stripped down folky tune with a touch of summer breeze. "Feeling of
Gaze": an almost classic piece with excellent piano and cello playing. "Charlotte": Almost in
Nick Drake's soundscapes with great guitar details by Bert Jansch. "Bavarian Fruit Bread": a
smooth little pop pearl. "Loose Me On The Way": a floating, meditative piece associated with
water and seagulls.
Distribution in Norway: Tuba!
Copyright © 2001 Mariann Skjerdal