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Today brings a number of Gold Dust odds and sods which we’re rounding up in one article. Hopefully this will be the first of many such posts as we draw closer to the album’s release at the start of October.
First, Girlie Action, who handles Tori’s press, television and media relations, has added a new biography and two new promotional photos to their client page for her on their website. Be warned though: when we tried accessing their website, we got a warning about it being infected with a trojan horse so you might want to shy away from their site for the time being. Thumbnails of the new images are below; click on them for very high-resolution versions images of the images from Girlie Action’s website (direct links to images bypass that trojan so those are safe to view). Both images were taken by Danielle Levitt, the same photographer who shot the Gold Dust cover photo.
Second, Decca Records has updated their artist page for Tori. In addition to adding the motorcycle image to the page header, albeit in a smaller, lower-resolution form than the ones from Girlie Action, they’ve also added track times for the songs on Gold Dust. To wit:
Finally, Amazon.com has added listings for the regular and deluxe editions of Gold Dust — you may remember they were previously on Amazon.co.uk but not on Amazon.com. Curiously, the two listings are flagged as “imports,” but both have a release date of October 2nd, the release date for the US and Canada and their prices, while a little on the high side, aren’t quite import prices either. So, we tend to think these are probably the domestic releases, just mislabeled.
Update: Yup, the import tags have been removed from both listings.
In any case, what’s more interesting about the listings is the “editorial review” which reads suspiciously like PR for the album, including a few quotes from Tori as well some insight into the selection of songs included on Gold Dust. The copy on Amazon is all one monolithic block of text so we’ve reproduced it below with our best guesses as paragraph breaks.
20 Years of Conversations
How do you commemorate the 20-year career of Tori Amos, an artist who has sold over 12 million albums, played well over 1,000 shows, won numerous awards and, more importantly, touched, healed or changed the lives of millions of fans? For a composer with such an artful ability to dart and flourish in different directions, experimenting and searching for new ways of creating art, breaking more boundaries than perhaps any other female singer-songwriter, it would be impossible to predict.
In this case of her 13th album, Gold Dust burst out of a series of serendipitous events. Gold Dust is the second album by Tori Amos released on the classical label Deutsche Grammophon, in cooperation with Mercury Classics. Soon after she started working on the first album, the acclaimed Night of Hunters, there was a phone call from the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands inviting her to play with them in October 2010. Once her songs had been performed live in an orchestral setting it was clear that Tori needed to make an album. “I was really touched by the orchestra and I wanted to capture that on recording,” she says. And so Gold Dust was conceived.
Of course Tori’s musical history actually began in the classical world, when she entered the prestigious Peabody Institute at the age of 5. Frustrated by the close-minded limitations the classical world imposed on her in the 70s, she checked out and headed into rock when she was 13, magnetized by its expressive and expanding possibilities, intent on expanding her sonic architecture. Now she has been pulled back to approach that world again.
“Music has a way of taking you by the hand and saying, it’s time to create like this,” she explains.
Times have changed and now she feels limited instead by the contemporary world and the derivative sameness of what she hears on the radio. “You don’t have as many complex structures in contemporary music which is why musicians are trying to explore other ways of constructing a song.” But her classical training provided her with the language, tools and understanding of form and structure to create Night of Hunters and Gold Dust.
So how did she go about picking the right songs out of her vast repertoire? The track-listing for Gold Dust doesn’t read like a collection of her Greatest Hits. Although it includes a number of her best-loved songs – “Precious Things,” “Silent All These Years,” “Winter” – some of the others tracks are lesser known treasures. She compares arranging the songs in a classical setting to giving a woman a makeover, considering who she is and what style would work for her. Tori has always thought of her songs as separate women and girls and jokes: “you can’t say ‘Oh my God bangles are in so let’s put everybody in bangles!’ It doesn’t work like that.”
Some of the songs have been reinvented quite dramatically with the help of Tori s long time arranger John-Philip Shenale. The fear driven rock sounds of “Precious Things” and the spheric electro soundworld of “Flavor” came to a new form of being in the environment of a symphony orchestra. Other songs have undergone more subtle makeovers, taking, adding or changing individual colours to the beloved original versions.
But all have been chosen for a reason. Almost autobiographical in structure, the songs represent stories in Tori’s life. “Jackie’s Strength” is about her relationship with her mother. “Winter” is about her father and grandfather. “Snow Cherries from France,” one of her favorites, is about falling in love with her husband. To bring them forward into 2012, Tori made a decision not to sing them as they were in the original form, and to avoid trying to be the person she was at the time. When singing “Winter,” for example, she had a picture of her daughter and husband chasing and catching snowflakes in front of her, reworking the story of her reworking the story of her paternal experience.