Robin Holcomb

Robin Holcomb

by Robin Holcomb


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With a tremulous voice, poetic lyrics, and a fine band, Robin Holcomb put together an impressive debut album. A lot of credit for the distinctive sound of this record must be laid at the feet of organist (and Holcomb's husband) Wayne Horvitz and guitarist Bill Frisell, both alumni of John Zorn's Naked City. The playing of Horvitz and Frisell fits in beautifully with Holcomb's otherworldly voice, one that at times evokes Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. There are a few absolutely sublime moments on this record, the first of which is "Electrical Storm," a dreamy number with a haunting chord progression and a perfect performance by Holcomb. Her lyrics tend to be almost too impressionistic, but on "Electrical Storm" everything works perfectly. The appropriately named "Waltz" is the high point of the record. It opens with a spooky organ theme, which moves directly to Holcomb's solo piano and vocal statement of the extremely atmospheric and haunting theme before the band enters once again and Frisell lets loose with his best solo of the record. In fact, there is much in common between Holcomb's muse and Frisell's own voice. The nostalgia and melancholy mixed with a healthy dose of unsettling menace is a Frisell trademark, and Holcomb's utilization of this sound as a singer is extremely effective. The countrified "Troy," complete with sawing fiddle and Frisell's twisted licks, is also reminiscent of the roots awareness that the guitarist displays in his solo work. An analysis of this record would not be complete without at least some mention of Doug Wieselman, who contributes clarinet, sax, and guitar. His clarinet lines in particular help add to the darkly beautiful nature of Holcomb's music. All in all, Robin Holcomb's first album is a bit on the inconsistent side, but the sparks of greatness are such that the listener is willing to forgive some of the awkward moments.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/24/1990
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075596098328
catalogNumber: 60983
Rank: 105162

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robin Holcomb   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
John Caulfield   Mandolin,Violin
Bill Frisell   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Danny Frankel   Percussion,Drums
Dave Hofstra   Bass,Tuba,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Wayne Horvitz   Organ,Synthesizer,Harmonica,Piano
Nica   Vocals,Voices,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Doug Wieselman   Acoustic Guitar,Clarinet,Electric Guitar,Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

David Bither   Executive Producer
Jay Follette   Engineer
Wayne Horvitz   Producer
Lenny Kaye   Producer

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