After having contributed to Baby Fire's debut album (“No Fear” (CHEAP666/006)) and shared a split with Keiki (“split 10"” CHEAP666/008) to celebrate the label's second anniversary, Dana Schechter and her band Bee and Flower have finally taken up residence in Cheap Satanism Records. These cheap demon lovers could not resist adding to their arsenal a haunting and definitely haunted band capable of casting a spell on the last listeners who haven't yet lost their way.
Bee and Flower was founded in 2000 in New York by singer/songwriter/bassist Dana Schechter; “Suspension” is their third album. The band's first two records, "What's Mine is Yours" (Neurot Recordings) and "Last Sight of Land" (Tuition) have very different moods shaped around Schechter's uniquely twisted and lush songwriting. Making "Last Sight of Land" (produced by Toby Dammit (Swans, Stooges)), was a sonic and lifestyle turning point for Schechter and keyboardist Roderick Miller, who decided to settle in Berlin after making the record. The core recording group of Schechter, Miller, and Dammit were joined by Thomas Wydler (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) on drums; the live / touring band then formed, including Berliners Jonathan Heine and Thomas Fietz.
The songwriting and initial recordings for "Suspension" began in Berlin, but it only fully took shape when Dana Schechter moved back to New York in 2008 after spending four years in the german capital, leaving behind many questions and uncertainties. But with the return of founding NYC members Lynn Wright and Jon Petrow, inspiration returned in full force and the trio was soon joined by Berliners Miller and Fietz, and the album was completed.
With all the movements and experiences gained, it's not so surprising that "Suspension" has echoes of the previous albums: it plays in the balance between the brooding debut "What's Mine Is Yours" and the heavily symphonic nature of “Last Sight of Land”. The writing has a renewed focus and determination as they play with chiaroscuro, mixing harsh light with haunting obscurity. As for Dana Schechter's subtle, smoky voice, it manages to avoid all the genre's traps and it offers a delicate bitter-sweet taste. More than ever, Bee and Flower succeeds in bringing light to the darkness.
As always with Bee and Flower, there is a long list of special guest members and contributors. Recorded by Martin Bisi in New York (The Dresden Dolls, Swans, Sonic Youth) and Ingo Krauss in Berlin (Crime & the City Solution, Tindersticks...), the album features Martin Wenk (Calexico), Toby Dammit, Paul Watson (Sparklehorse), J.G. Thirlwell (Kronos Quartet, Foetus) to name but a few.
They are the second band on the label which has no link whatsoever with satanism or anti-church movements. Bee and Flower succeeded in conquering our hearts by bribing us with a 7" copy of “ I Hear Voices” by Screamin' Jay Hawkins!
released April 30, 2012
(6, 7, 9) Recorded by Ingo Krauss, Candy Bomber Studios, Berlin
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8) Recorded by Martin Bisi, BC Studios, Brooklyn NY
(1, 2, 3, 8) Additional recording (piano) by Paul Wallfisch
All songs mixed by Ingo Krauss, Candy Bomber Studios, Berlin
Mastered by Doug Henderson, micro-moose-berlin, Berlin
All music + lyrics written by Dana Schechter except (8) music by Dana Schechter + Lynn Wright, String Arrangements by J. G. Thirlwell
Dana Schechter: Bass, Vocals (all), Guitar (1, 5) Roderick Miller: Keyboards (all) Thomas Fietz: Drums, Percussion (all)
Lynn Wright: Guitars (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9), Vocals (5) Jon Petrow: Violin (1, 2, 4, 5, 8) Jonathan Heine: Guitars (6, 7, 9)
Paul Watson: Trumpet (2, 4, 5) Danny Tunick: Vibraphone, Marimba, Glockenspiel (2, 5, 8) Martin Wenk: Trumpet, French Horn (9), Omnichord (7)
Toby Dammit: Tympani (8) Ladis Cinzek: Cello (6, 7) Christopher Hoffman: Cello (5) Elke Brauweiler: Viola (7) Eric Eble: Double Bass (5)
Jessica Pavone: Viola (5) Dana Schechter, Roderick Miller, Pete Simonelli, Dominique Van Cappellen, Anna-Karin Stjernløf: Choir (5)
Front cover collage: Sayaka Shibao, www.sayakashibao.fr
Published in Europe by La Chunga music GmbH