Wednesday, March 26, 2008


"Come here... I got the pieces here. Time to gather up the splinters, build a casket for my tears."

Ann Danielewski, or Poe, is a unique creature, and so is her album "Haunted" (2000). Approached as a partnership project in terms of promotion with brother Mark's book "House of Leaves", there is a great deal of crossover between the two. The songs are sampled with not just dialogue samples from "Leaves", but also samples of a set of tapes the pair's father left them after his death. In many ways, the album's a family affair, and it works superbly, especially on a few of the tracks. The tracks are deep, layered works with nuance and very interesting sounds.

Poe - Spanish Doll

What starts as simply a quiet, heart-filled song of regret is enhanced greatly by Poe's great grasp of additional samples and layers. A great beat is added, and running Danielewski's voice through various filters gives it a truly haunting sound, as do the many background inclusions. It recreates the feeling of drifitng, "tattered and torn". through a place filled with shreds of once-loved memories flitting between memory and forgetting. If you listen to one of Poe's songs, listen to this one.

Poe - Haunted

The album's title track, "Haunted" was the first of Poe's songs I really listened to. in a way, both this and "Spanish" deal with similar material, the dealing with the loss of a relationship, but they do it skillfully and differently enough that I love them equally. "Spanish" is about the dizziness and lost feeling that comes with being abandoned, while "Haunted" is moreso about attempting to heal and escape that. This also uses samples skillfully, with windy sounds and sound effects that make the song very creepy.

Poe - Not a Virgin

A song that, by the title and chorus, one would assume to be celebrating the pleasures of promiscuity, but is in fact a demand for honesty in a relationship. The protagonist here is sick of idealised fairytale stories and wants to know the honest, dirty truth about the one she's with, and attempts to shock them out of their folly with tales of her own promiscuity and maturity. She demands to be taken seriously.

Poe - Walk the Walk

Danielewski takes the attitude shown in "Virgin" and ramps it up here, in a call to individuality with a pace almost comparable to a rap and yet, undeniably, so very Poe. As she yell, music behind her raging, you can feel her passion and a degree of anger, too, at being pressured to conform.

Poe has a lot of talent and has a great sense of atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's been near eight years since the release of Haunted and there's barely any buzz about a follow-up album; reportedly she's begun it but no release date has been set, even tentatively. Still, I can't wait to hear more from her, as she shows a lot of potential here.

Get Haunted here or here.


Roon said...

Poe kicks ass. I love Haunted and Control. The first time I listened to the album, I made sure I was alone and in the dark. Creeped me out totally, but it was awesome. She's recorded songs for Conjure One in the meantimes. I heard that her record company wasn't letting her do anything - kind of a Fiona Apple deal. Here's hoping that comes to an end too.

The Alden said...

Ack, really? That's awful! I agree, I hope she can get out of that and record a new album.

Of the Conjure One tracks, I've got "Make a Wish" - do you know the others she sings on? She's got a lovely voice.

Anonymous said...

actually "Haunted" came out Halloween '00, so it's considerably older...

The Alden said...

Really? Thanks for the heads up - Wiki agrees with you. Serves me right for trusting the year marked on my mp3's!

Wendy77 said...

Didn't I used to catch this bitch and her ilk in jars on the back of my noble steed Epona...