* CAROL TATUM :
Trine Records Carol of Tatum : Music for harp (2001)***'
"Nothing Else Matters" is a beautiful and recommended to hear adaptation (harp,cello and sparse keyboards) of this Metallica song. I made an Apocaliptica's special before in my radio program, where I think that Apocalyptica succeeded here too, but I found it such a shame having missed this version at that time. Carol makes it sound as if had been written for harp in the first place. This leads perfectly into "Presentio" finding myself daydreaming now about playing harp in a round room in the morning, while my partner slowly wakes up by these sounds, some sunbeams come in, window curtains are flowing softly in the wind, coffee burls at the background, some butterflies flow in. It is possible.. in musical form : with this song. "Season of the Witch" is also beautifully interwoven with keyboard sounds. On the booklet is written that the CD is written during candlelight. Do you know the effect of candlelight ? It softens our nerves, and increases and refine our sensibility. Just imagine your partner confronted in neonlight or associated with candlelight, then you know how you can place this music too. While this music is candlelight supper. And even when you can't share this moment you can still feel this presence with this music. Most of the songs have a good balance between the melody of the harp and the atmosphere of the synthesiser, and some other added instruments. Only in the last track the synthesiser takes the lead, to conclude the CD where only there I had preferred just real instruments to do so.
* ANGELS OF VENICE :
Epiphany Rec. Angels of Venice : Awake inside a dream (1996)***
Angels of Venice refers in the booklet to beautiful Pre-Raphaelite paintings, an atmosphere they might would like to express. Therefore it uses Medieval Music with the adaptations of some Middle Eastern feeling, mixed with a portion of good taste and an inner balance. The CD is in two parts : an exotic and a poetic one. The first most progressive contrasting song is dedicated to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Second song "A Chantar Mer" (with hurdy gurdy and high feline voice) is a nice adaptation of the only know surviving piece of French Medieval troubadour music written by a woman. "Nana", sung by a classic soprano, is a strange haunting lullaby straight from a horror movie, but softened and assuaged by the instrumentation. "Sins of Salome" is a DCD like fantasy of the subject with some Middle Eastern feeling. Second part starts with a harp-flute (cello) dominated adaptation of "Scarborough Fare". Also "Three Nightingales" has been arranged the same way. "The World beyond the woods" starts in a more Gothic approach with harpsichord, continues more etheric dreamy with New Age synths and harp, fluently flowing in the next track "China Moon", back into the balanced mood of the leading flute-cello and harp once more. The movie inspired "Light at the Edge of the moon" with harp and oboe lead adapted a known melody of Eric Satie. The CD concludes with the titletrack, another track (with bass flute, keyboards) which reminds once more at the quiet atmosphere of some Victorian paintings.
Some more reviews of Carol Tatum and Angels of Venice :
- Propagande magazine n°24, Winter 1997- :
Angels of Venice : "Awake inside a dream".
Another golden California sunset over the Pacific Through the haze of the ocean air, a haunting melody could be heard coming from the boardwalk along Venice Beach. A crowd had gathered around the source of this enchanting sound. Three angelic-looking women in flowing white gowns seemed to be the centre of this attention. There were white flowers in their hair, and each was holding a musical instrument - one a harp, one a cello, end the other a flute.
What melodies they played at times darkly medieval, at times joyously classical. The crowd roared its approval. These three songstresses were like Angels bringing the sounds of heaven down to the good earth for the masses to enjoy. This trio would appropriately be named The Angels of Venice.
Since those golden days on the beach at Venice, this amazing threesome has brought their music to a much larger audience through their two remarkable releases - the self-titied THE ANGELS OF VENICE and the more recent, AWAKE INSIDE A DREAM. Both are masterfully written and performed. These Angels are easily the most talented musicians I've written about in a long time. Carol Tatum plays harp, Suzanne Tang plays flute. and Peggy Baldwin bents out a mean cello.
Besides just being accomplished instrumentally, The Angels o', Venice have a real flair for me. The booklet of their AWAKE INSIDE A DREAM CD is adorned with beautiful medieval art and graphics. And, of course, there are angels everywhere. "One of my favourite images,' says Carol. "is black angels, they're dark and mysterious. That's the direction I'd like to take our music. The third CD will probably reflect that." Write to: Angels of Venice. P.O. Box 50694, Pasadena, CA. 91115.
- Billboard july 6, 1996 - Review category New Age.
* THE ANGELS OF VENICE : Awake inside A Dream
PRODUCERS : Carol Tatum & Dino Hermann Epiphany 1002
The Angels Of Venice explore medieval music and global sounds with a modern .chamber music sensibility. On their second album, they've expanded their trio of flute. cello, and Celtic harp to embrace Middle Eastern percussion, bouzouki and voice. In addition to recasting medieval songs, such as "Scarborough Faire," founding member Carol Tatum sets her original melodies in arrangements suffused with an enchanting sense of drama and atmosphere. It's a sound that looks toward Dead Can Dance as much as Manuel de Falla and is evocative and sensual. Contact: 818-543-4884.
* means new release, highly recommended because of its musical merit.
"Heavenly Music made by Angels".
- Combining Old World with New Age, Angels of Venice are the definition of eclectic, by Paul Anderson- (Entertainment Today, march 10,2000): .
Like a moth to a flame, Carol Tatum admits to always having had a fascination with fire, in all its myriad forms. 'The other night, I was driving home, and ir was pouring. I started lightning, so 1 just had to pull over and watch ir,' she says breathlessly. "I rolled the window down, of course I got all wet, hut it was so neat!'
She pauses. 'Of course,' she adds seriously, 'I got a little too close for comfort a few months ago.- Tatum, the leader of the eclectic neo-classical new age group Angels of Venice, had to be evacuated from her home when flames reached within 100 feet of her back door during a hillside fire in Glendale/U Canada last December.
"The police banged on the door and said 'Evacuate now ! Fire!' I grabbed my purse and cats, jumped in my van and stood on the strict just watching the inferno, sure that my place was destroyed,' she remembers. "But for the grace of God, 1 was sitting in my living room safe and sound the next day. It was a wonderful Christmas present, let me tellyou.'
She sighs, and laughs. 'I was so happy I still had a home. I spent the next few days cleaning and rearranging and redecorating and cleaning again. How Freudian!'
The cosmic thing about all this is that Tatum, who play variety of stringed instruments, had already decided on a fire theme for the next Angels album. "It's going to reflect passion for music, life and love. It'll be percussion-based, all things fire, all things red.' Fire will still loom large. It will be the second album by the Angels for Windham Hill, the label perhaps best known for its new age roster, which includes the likes of George Winston, jim Brickman and David Arkenstone. The first one, simply entitled Angels of Venice, collected together songs they had done for various Windham Hill compilations, a few tracks from their previous independently released albums and some new material. The next one will feature all new material.
"It's a clean slate. I won't have to get various styles in," Tatum relates. "I mean, that's not a bad thing, because we do cover a wide array of music, but time has moved on, and right now I'm focused on a definite style, a Middle Eastern of sound, with more headroom and air in it."
Angels of Venice recently returned from their first ever East Coast tour. "We were part of the label's 'Winter Solstice' tour, with David Arkenstone, Liz Story and Scan Harkness, and Sean Harkness and it really went well," Tatum says. "Unfortunately, space was limited on the bus, so we were just a trio, just harp, flute and keyboards.' She sighs. 'Maybe we'11 get to go out on our own with the full group.'
Tatum admits to having been a bit worried at first. "The cello has always been such a big part of our group sound (the band originally was a harp-flute-cello trio), I wasn't sure exactly how it was going to work. Kind of like your first time skiing, you don't know what to expect. But, she smiles, it went fabulous. We got standing ovations, encores and we kept selling out of CDs at each show we were able to have some at.' Not bad for an opening act.
The Angels can grow to eight in number, hut in actuality, the group is a vehicle for Tatum's very eclectic music. She is the only one signed to the label, the music and arrangements are hers, and she handles all of the production chores. But she doesn't look at the other players as hired musicians. 'The have input, and I wouldn't want to work with any others,' she says. In fact the next album will feature a composition by pianist Joanne Paratore.
Other members of the group include, at various times, cellist Peggy Baldwin, flutist Laura Holliday, flutist Susan Craig Winsberg, percussionist Christopher Pellani, percussionist Derek Zimmerman and others who rotate in and out. lt all depends on the situation'
Tatum considers recording engineer Florian Ammon to be a co-Angel. "He's the one who stays here after the musicians have gone home, and helps to create the "Angel'sound," she says. 'He and I have worked together putting in 18hour days for so long, he is truly intuitive to what I'm looking for. I'll ask him to change something, and he's already done it."
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Tatum began playing various stringed instruments at the age of seven, and the current album features her on Celtic harp, mandolin, Irish bouzouki, hammered dulcimer, acoustic guitar and synth bass. She has spent a good portion of her life studying medieval music, and it has played a large role in her composing and arranging.
Because she is so attuned to the Renaissance period, sometimes it is difficult to tell whether an Angels' tune is a Tatum original or a 14th Century composition. Her choices of songs to cover from modern tunesmiths are equally eclectic. They include George Harrison, Mick Jagger and Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. Not exactly a medieval group of writers.
Angels of Venice have generally been placed in the New Age music genre, though their music has medieval, Middle Eastern, neo-classical and contemporary influences. 'Categories aren't necessary to feel the art," she laughs, "but the record store clerk needs to point you in some direction to find the CD!' Her own description of the music? 'Probably world.'
The blonde harpist originally started out playing electric guitar and acoustic mandolin in a hard rock band 10 years ago (she has written songs for the rock band Kingdom Come). "I ended up getting sick of the whole rock scene, especially the negativity toward women. At the time, Lita Ford was the only one who had any kind of reputation as a player," she says. "And besides, I was never sleazy, I always dressed tastefully"' She sighs. "I was never taken scriously.'
She quit the band, and laid low for awhile. Occasionally, she would play mandolin with a friend down on the Venice boardwalk. "But I've always been a composer, I never really cared for just jamming.' It was time to play her own music, to form her own band.
About this time she bought a harp from a friend, even though she had never played one before. She sat down to play around with it and eight hours later she emerged from her room, realizing that she had found her instrument. Within two weeks, she had learned it enough to make a cassette of her tunes.
She decided that, since her first interest had always been classical music, she would put together a trio featuring harp, flute and cello, and soon they were playing the Venice boardwalk. Always wearing elegant, all-white dresses or velvet dresses in deep jewel colours, people would say, "'Look, it's the angels again." The name stuck, and the Angels of Venice were born". -
In 1994, the trio, which included Tatum, Suzanne Teng on flute and Sarah O'Brien on cello, released their first album, Music for Harp, Flute and Cello, on Tatum's Epiphany Records. The unique neo-classical chamber-like merging of Old World and new age sounds that would become the Angel trademark.
By 1996, O'Brien had left, to be replaced by Peggy Baldwin, and Tatum was in the midst of opening up and enlarging the group's sound. Awake Inside A Dream, their second album, also on Epiphany, had a much more polished feel, utilizing a number of different exotic instruments and guest musicians. They also started veering away from a strictly chamber recital style, while at the same time bringing ever more medieval influences to the surface.
The path to Windham Hill, which falls under the umbrella of the multinational conglomerate BMG, plays like a Hollywood movie. Tatum and the group had begun to get gigs away from the boardwalk, including a number of high profile benefits and other media events. Then one day, out of the blue, there was a phone call.
'It was Windham Hill,' marvels the harpist. "They said we had managed to cut through all the other submissions, and that they loved our music. They wanted us on the label.'
The album is still doing extremely well. It has spent months high on the New Age charts, with medium to heavy rotation on a number of stations, and everywhere the Angels play, the reaction is, well, angelic. "We're in the widest possible market we could be in,' Tatum says. 'Children, adults, families, seniors, they all seem to like it. They all listen with their hearts. After all, music is the universal language. 1 love it when we're playing somewhere like City Walk, where we can really connect with people in an intimate way. It's nice' to play the big halls, hut nothing can replace that intimacy.'
The Internet has also been a huge help to the group's fortunes. "The first two albums are now available through Amazon.com' she explains, "so of course, we've put in a link from our Web site (wwwangelsofvenice.com). They are both selling amazingly well. I just got an C-mail from a guy in the Netherlands, saying he had been looking for the albums for over a year, and he was so happy to be able to order them from Amazon.'
Tatum is currently working on a project with former Arcanta keyboardist Drew Pluta for the L.A. County Museum of Art. The two are composing music for a special concert on April 11 at LACMA honouring the new Pharaohs of the Sun exhibit. It will be in the Egyptian style, the harpist says, with modern touches.
"I remember seeing the King Tut museum exhibit when 1 was younger, and 1 remember falling in love with the music for it" she reflects. 'I actually went out and bought the companion CD. Now I get to take part in doing something simular. It's so amazing, and I feel so lucky.'
"Now, if only I could find us a good booking agent' she says, laughing. "Were itching to play some more dates - and to get back in the studio."
The biggest change in Tatum's life will perhaps take place in ihe next few weeks, when she completes her home studio. "It's replacing the couch," she laughs. "I've always composed on a pair of $20 tape recorders, hut in my head I've always heard all 48 tracks. I don't hear just harp, I hear all the instruments. I just couldn't put it.
She laughs again. "It's a little scary, this unleashing of the muse, which has always been like oxygen to my lungs. But at least it won't require 48 recorders!"