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Cassandra Lied

Format
Type

Release Year
2020

€16.90

Phil´s new solo album Cassandra Lied was recorded in Prague between August 2018 and November 2019. He was joined in this endeavour by several notable musicians, including co-producer and band-mate Chris Hughes (drummer with These Immortal Souls, Mick Harvey, Hugo Race, Alexander Hacke), and lapsteel guitarist Kristof Hahn of Swans.

A radical departure from Phil´s previous work, Cassandra Lied has a lyrical depth which is comparable to the work of rock poets such as Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Nick Cave. The music itself is closer to the layered, atmospheric approach of artists like Brian Eno, David Bowie and Tony Visconti than it is to traditional rock dynamics. Other influences on this album are post-punk bands such as Joy Division and Krautrock bands Neu and La Dusseldorf.

One of the things that distinguishes Cassandra Lied from most contemporary rock releases is its wide spectrum approach. Phil has managed to integrate influences that range from 1950s rockabilly, though folk rock, punk and psychedelia, to post-punk, indie and progressive-electronic. What is remarkable is that the inclusion of so many reference points never feels self-conscious or calculated. The centre always holds, kept together by sheer force of musical personality. Integrity and instinct are key factors here. And again, unlike most contemporary releases, the musical style and direction of Cassandra Lied cannot be pigeon-holed. The album is constantly shifting gears on a mind-blowing musical trip.

It is also difficult to pin down thematically. The ambiguity of the lyrics is challenging, a very long way from standard pop fare. Nothing definitive is ever stated, nothing is overtly criticized; yet the lyrics of a song like “Just A Man“ could be interpreted in the light of everything from Thus Spake Zarathustra and the Tibetan Book Of The Dead to #MeToo and Black Mirror. Even the title “Cassandra Lied” is full of ambiguity, open to a variety of interpretations.

Complemented by high-end design by Friedel Muders of Fuego, this album is a tour de force from an artist who has been making music for over fifty years.

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