Margareth Kammerer

To Be an Animal of Real Flesh

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Half of the 14 tracks on To Be an Animal of Real Flesh consist of Margareth Kammerer on guitar and vocals, delivering artsy folk songs on poems by E.E. Cummings, Anne Carson, Paul Celan, and Antonin Artaud. The other half features a cast of guest musicians and remix artists adding their own touches to the same songs. Kammerer's voice is not particularly charming: her vibrato is an acquired taste, her tone somewhat nasal. Her songs are interesting but they lack a strong identity. This identity is actually given by the guest artists -- and thus the music has as many identities as there are guests. Extra musicians include trumpeter Axel Dörner (doing a half-hearted job at best on "I Carry Your Heart With Me"), Ruins drummer Yoshida Tatsuya, turntablist extraordinaire Philip Jeck, and Necks pianist Chris Abrahams. The remixers are Charhizma owner Christof Kurzmann and label star Bernhard Fleischmann, plus Nicholas Bussmann and Fred Frith (although not credited as such, the latter also adds some delicate guitar to his piece). Highlights include "As Your Nightly Dreams" (both the original opener and the second version with Abrahams' cool piano accompaniment), "Willow...C'est Que J'Aime" with Tatsuya, Frith's highly idiosyncratic dub-like beatbox work on "Somewhere I Have Never Travelled" (annoying at first, but it definitely makes the track stand out), and the closing "Estimated Population of Hell Circa 1976," a hard-thumping, messy techno remix credited to Odot.Lamm and Lucifer Amp. Extremes collide on this album, and the results are not always the best one could have expected, but To Be an Animal of Real Flesh has its moments and enigmas to offer.

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