- Artist: Jill Tracy
- Format: CD
- Release Date:1/1/2008
'Few things are finer than drowning in anticipation for a new album -- having that album arrive and, most importantly, having that album more than satisfy said anticipation. 'The Bittersweet Constrain' is wonderfully dark, mischievous and mesmerizing... twilight tales of spurned love, untimely ends and thoughts lost in the shadows, slowly creeping unseen and meaning to not merely embrace, but drag us down into those oh-so-wrong exalted states. What a bloody good record.' L'ENNUI MÉLODIEUX Jill Tracy will transport you into a seductive and magical realm far beyond the Everyday. The place where we wished we lived. A dark, elegant netherworld full of hidden passageways, wonder cabinets and opium dens. Of monsters, marvels and mayhem, You know it's not safe here; but with Jill Tracy as your guide, you'll be in no hurry to leave. The San Francisco-based artist has garnered multiple awards and a devoted following for her evocative cinematic music, sophisticated lyrics, old-world glamour, and curious passion for strange tales. Hailed by critics as a "femme fatale for the thinking man," Jill Tracy was described by NPR's All Things Considered as \'utterly intriguing... luring you into a magical kingdom solely of her creation.\' LA Weekly calls her \'very distinctive and exciting.\' As a youngster, Jill Tracy was drawn to classic suspense, film noir, and horror movie scores, which she cites today as some of her strongest influences. These passions are evident in her unusually cinematic performance style. Virtually self taught, her singular blend of dark, dreamy flourishes, hypnotic grooves and classical-cum-parlour piano conjures up shades of another era, but at the same time, the sound is shockingly new. She is as much Nick Cave as she is Erik Satie. As much David Bowie as she is Mata Hari. As much Bernard Herrmann as she is Robert Smith of The Cure. Backed by an alluring panoply of strings, woodwinds, drums and percussion, (Tracy affectionately refers to them as The Malcontent Orchestra) songs from her previous album Diabolical Streak have appeared in movies and compilations, in addition to winning the SIBL international grand prize for songwriting, and two California Music Award nominations. The track \'Evil Night Together\' has not only been adopted as theme song for nouveau burlesque and bellydance troupes around the globe, but also is featured on Projekt's A Dark Cabaret, the CBS hit TV show NAVY NCIS, the BBC series Jekyll, Lifetime Television, and numerous independent films. Amidst Tracy's trademark voice of cut-velvet smoke, she reveals a talent for making rather unsettling subjects remarkably alluring. Her music video for \'The Fine Art of Poisoning,\' (directed by Bay Area filmmaker Bill Domonkos) has won over 30 film festival awards nationally including Best Experimental Film in the New Orleans Film Festival as well as Best Music Video in both the Chicago and Seattle International Film Festival. With her forays into film scoring, filmmaking, writing, acting and theatre, Jill Tracy is redefining the image of modern day renaissance artist. Her latest (and fourth) album, The Bittersweet Constrain, has a heavier, cinematic sonic edge with the addition of exotic instruments such as the sarod, harmonium, and seldom-seen Chapman Stick. The recording also features master percussionist Randy Odell, horn player Ralph Carney (Tom Waits/B52\'s), cellist Erica Mulkey (Rasputina/Unwoman), and violinist Tony Cross (Tarentel). Produced by Alex Nahas (John Vanderslice/Zoe Keating/LaughingStock), The Bittersweet Constrain has been described by the press as \'devastatingly beautiful.\' Domonkos served as art director/graphic designer for The Bittersweet Constrain. The CD packaging features Jill Tracy portraiture by acclaimed surrealist photographer Michael Garlington, known for his dreamy macabre imagery shot on vintage film stock. FROM THE PRESS: 'It's nice to have discovered another artist of depth and substance, especially in an age where it's easy to feel that almost none still exist... Jill Tracy: 'the elegant side of the netherworld' --maybe 'netherworld' has replaced 'underground' now. No wonder (Jello) Biafra had raved to me about her. The new music of the future will give us history lessons, and restore to us our lost authentic emotionality, in an age which J.G. Ballard has described as 'the death of affect.' The death of authentic emotionality and emotional response, indeed... NOT YET - not as long as a handful of people like Jill Tracy, Jello Biafra, Nick Cave, Henry Rollins, and Lydia Lunch keep 'kicking against the pri-cks' (to paraphrase Shakespeare). And handing us reasons to still keep living and deciphering what we really feel...' V. VALE, RE/Search PUBLICATIONS 'There's just something about the inimitable Jill Tracy that makes us swoon like a passel of naive gothic horror heroines in too-tight corsets. Is it her husky midnight lover's croon, her deceptively delicate visage, her vintage sensibilities? Who else could have written the definitive elegy on the 'fine art of poisoning,' composed a hauntingly lush live score for F.W. Murnau's classic silent film Nosferatu, joined forces with that merry band of bloodthirsty malcontents, Thrillpeddlers, and still somehow remain a shining beacon of almost beatific grace? Part tough-as-nails film fatale, part funeral parlor pianist, Tracy manages to adopt many facades yet remain ever and only herself - a precarious and delicious balancing act." SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Best of the Bay awards issue 'More noir than cabaret, Jill Tracy's 'The Bittersweet Constrain' is a mesmerizing example of a musical endeavor that lives and breathes it's own atmosphere. Like a trip down the back alleys of a metropolis in decline, you never know where the album is taking you; like an audio flaneur, you may find yourself strolling by the scene of a crime ('Room 19'), finding decadent delight in Faustian bargains ('Sell My Soul'), or becoming obsessed with fatal longing ('In Between Shades'). By turns seductive, dangerous, and knowing, Tracy's voice is pure chanteuse, irresistible even in the face of the beckoning downward spiral. Colored lightly in the hues of torch song and morbid nightclub songbird, the album takes it's time to unfold, lulling you with waves of dissolute dreams as it subtly pulls you under the tide. Backed by her own tenebrous piano and a host of musicians dubbed The Malcontent Orchestra, 'The Bittersweet Constrain' is a very dark album that avoids unnecessary bleakness. Though the record contains paeans to the barbarity of torture devices and other metaphoric references to the torments of love and lust, the raw emotional hunger of Tracy's voice indicates that the agony of 'the bittersweet constrain' is, inevitably, all we have. A downbeat ending fit for the rain-drenched, black-and-white conclusion of a noir thriller to be sure, but with music as compelling as this, it is a proposition difficult to argue against.' LIAR SOCIETY.
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