TURNING - A concert film documentary captured during the critically acclaimed tour of Europe by Antony and the Johnsons and Charles Atlas during the fall of 2006, it explores the heart and experience of that series of performances. Through its synthesis of Antony's songs and unfurling video portraiture of the 13 beauties who performed on stage, TURNING creates an intimate and cinematic experience exploring themes of identity, transcendence and the revelation of essence.
Also included in the deluxe package is the full TURNING concert recorded live at The Barbican, London, Nov. 2006 and contains songs across the first three Antony and the Johnsons' full length albums along with bonus tracks never before released songs - "Whose are These" and "Tears Tears Tears". The classic lineup of Antony, Maxim Moston, Rob Moose, Julia Kent, Parker Kindred, Jeff Langston, and Thomas Bartlett can be heard on these recordings as Charles Atlas's projected portraits of the girls light up the stage from behind the band for the duration of the concert.
Antony and the Johnsons: CUT THE WORLD is a collection of live symphonic performances of songs from the band's 4 full length albums (SWANLIGHTS, THE CRYING LIGHT, I AM A BIRD NOW, S/T). Recorded in Copenhagen, DK with The Danish National Chamber Orchestra, CUT THE WORLD features arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, Maxim Moston and Antony.
Additionally the title track "Cut The World" is featured here for the first time. It is one of Antony's new songs for The Life and Death of Marina AbramoviÄ‡ directed by Robert Wilson and staring Antony, Marina AbramoviÄ‡ and Willem Dafoe.
CUT THE WORLD was recorded live on September 2nd and 3rd, 2011 at the DK Concert Hall in Copenhagen, DK and represents Antony's continued meditation on light, nature & femininity. Antony discusses his ideas on the track "Future Feminism", a speech he made during one of the concerts. Addressing the affects of patriarchy on the global ecology, Antony explores the possibility of shifting towards feminine systems of governance in a gesture to restore our world.
Antony and the Johnsons will release their new album, “Swanlights”, on October 12th in the US via Secretly Canadian. Abrams Image will simultaneously release a special edition of “Swanlights” which will include the CD inside a 144-page art book containing Antony’s paintings, collages, photography and writing. The album only version of “Swanlights” on Secretly Canadian will also include the song “FlĂ©tta”, a duet with Bjork. The album and book are a continuation of Antony’s work exploring environmental issues and his connection to the natural world.
While “I Am a Bird Now” was arresting in its simplicity and vision and “The Crying Light” is a masterpiece of austerity, “Swanlights” may be Antony's most wide-ranging emotional work to date. It is a record that is at moments excruciating and tender, and at other times has a wicked gleam to its teeth. Musically it’s the most maximal of his work to date. Whereas on “The Crying Light”, Antony paired everything back to its most distilled and essential, on “Swanlights” the vines have become overgrown and the sound palette has become more exotic, strange percussive elements, John Cale-esque string drones, heavily distorted guitars and symphonic voicings thread the song cycle together.
“Everything is New” opens the album with subtle piano and an insistence that each moment takes its own breath and is reborn. Strings and bursts of percussion carry the melody as it soars through a cacophonous wilderness. “The title track finds us navigating a primordial and seemingly amorphous plane of expanding guitar tones and an almost Eastern influenced melody, exclaiming the elusive, magical and perhaps ominous, even dangerous majesty of "the Swanlights on the water, on that shining face". On “Thank You For Your Love”, he repeats what at first seems to be a simple sentiment and infuses it with a gradually escalating sense of urgency, breaking completely from the 4/4, Otis Redding-esque structure of the song into much more intense. over.
The book is a collection of visual art, thought-provoking dreamscapes composed of paintings, drawings, photography, collage, song lyrics, and writings. Often fragmentary images, these pieces capture liminal states and elements of the unconscious. Some images are reclaimed and reconfigured in order to transcend their previous form. The intersecting mediums inform each other and create an interesting dialogue with Antony’s music, his creative muse, and personal mythology.
“Swanlights” is the fourth Antony and the Johnsons album and the follow up to the critically acclaimed smash “The Crying Light” which topped year-end best of lists across the globe in 2009. Antony burst into the international spotlight with his second album, “I am a Bird Now”, which won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize.
In anticipation of their new album, “Swanlights”, Antony and the Johnsons will release "Thank You For Your Love" as the first single / EP via Secretly Canadian in the US and Rough Trade in Europe and the UK. The EP will feature 4 additional non-album tracks including originals "You Are The Treasure," and "My Lord My Love" as well as a cover of Dylan's "Pressing On" and Lennon's "Imagine" in collaboration with experimental composer William Basinski. The CD will also contain the video for "Thank You For Your Love" made from archival Super 8 footage of Antony upon his first arriving in NYC in 1991, edited by David Boatman.
Antony and the Johnson will release the “Aeon”/”Crazy in Love” double A-side single in the US on August 4th on CD and 7”through Secretly Canadian and on August 3rd in Europe and UK on 7” through Rough Trade. “Aeon” is one of the highlights of the critical and commercial smash album “The Crying Light” which debuted at #1 on the European chart. The band appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman for the song’s television debut. Antony and the Johnsons’ earnest and impassioned cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”, a long time live favorite, is being released officially for the first time.
"Epilepsy is Dancing” — the second single from Antony and the Johnsons’ The Crying Light — is one of the reasons Spin is raving that the band’s new material is “scarily intimate and irresistibly beautiful". Antony and the Johnsons have again crafted a consummate single with the most unlikely of subjects. The B-side “Where is My Power?" burns slowly throughout hinting at its epic climax anchored by the voice Rolling Stone has called “a voice of singular majesty, an instrument of delicacy and rapture in which Nina Simone, Morrissey, and Joni Mitchell seem to inhabit the same breath”. “Epilepsy is Dancing" is available as a CD single and 7" on Secretly Canadian.
Antony and the Johnson’s breakthrough second album “I Am a Bird Now” won the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005. The success that followed introduced many to a pioneering soul singer unafraid to explore themes that traversed darkness and light, life and death, male and female. Antony’s inimitable voice sparked the interest of artists ranging from Bjork to Hercules and Love Affair, resulting in a series of critically acclaimed collaborations. “The Crying Light” is the highly anticipated full-length follow-up to “I Am a Bird Now”. Here, Antony shifts the thematic focus and explores his relationship with the natural world. The intimacy of the Johnsons’ sound is enveloped by avant-classical composer Nico Muhly’s symphonic arrangements. The record’s centerpiece, “Another World” traces the singer’s dispair in the face of a vanishing landscape. Antony and the Johnsons’ music bridges the gap between avant-classical music and the blues, and the band’s sold out performances have resulted in standing ovations from Carnegie Hall to the Apollo. “The Crying Light” is a soul-stirring new work with its daring compositions and captivating vocal performances. Antony and the Johnsons have created a subtle and timely work that brings a magical and yet changing world to the forefront of our consciousness.
Antony and the Johnsons emerged onto the international stage in 2005 with their breakthrough I Am A Bird Now. The group were awarded the Mercury Prize in the UK and toured the world. Since then Antony has collaborated on tracks with Bjork for her latest album Volta, appeared in the Leonard Cohen documentary I'm Your Man, featured as vocalist with Hercules and Love Affair, recorded for the Todd Haynes bio epic of Bob Dylan I'm Not There, and collaborated with Charles Atlas on a European tour of their stage spectacle Turning.
Now Antony and the Johnsons have emerged with a new album, The Crying Light, which will be released January 2009. "Another World" is the first single, and it will be released as part of the five-song Another World EP which is being released on October 7.
On "Another World", Antony lists things he treasures about the natural world, and expresses that he will miss them; the result is hypnotic and affecting.
The EP Another World also includes "Shake That Devil". Part exorcism and part Shangri La, Antony calls out perpetrators, and banishes them one by one.
Two other songs, "Crackagen" and "Sing For Me" are pastoral and surreal. Finally the epic "Hope Mountain" closes the EP; an episodic narrative set after a flood; people gather on a mountainside to witness a girl walking on the water.
On the second single from Antony & The Johnson's “I Am A Bird Now”, Antony presents one of the strongest solo pieces in his staggeringly rich repertoire. The song “Hope There's Someone” is a rush of pure emotion, a true performance with every bit of hope, supplication, distress, horror, lament, agony, sorrow and accession, spanning the entire life-death experience. Pitchfork characterizes the song remarking, “It starts all atremble with a disarmingly naked prayer ("Hope there's someone who'll take care of me when I die, when I go"). As the song progresses that someone changes shape, and becomes a spectral double, as Antony sings for and against himself; the hoped-for someone is both a loving companion and an exterminating angel.” The esteemed NPR program All Things Considered recently reviewed “I Am A Bird Now” injecting one of the most illuminate and apropos assessments yet, “This is a fantastic record. It's thoroughly modern but feels lived in, it's got an old soul, and honestly for as often as the term “soulful” gets tossed around like table salt on so many flavorless records, for once, for Antony and the Johnsons the term aptly describes.” Two of the three songs are previously unreleased outtakes from the “I Am A Bird Now” sessions. The single also contains a new video for “Hope There's Someone” by the up-and-coming NYC director Glen Fogel. The video, and cover art, features a captivating portrait of the NYC legend Joey Gabriel.
There is a myth that great artists operate in seclusion. One need look no further than to the ten songs of Antony and the Johnsons' new album, I Am A Bird Now, to realize this is an utter fallacy. To be sure, with his androgynous features, the singularly named Antony is an original. Have you ever heard a voice like this, imbued with the transcendental emotion of the blues, yet deployed with an unadorned simplicity reminiscent of medieval music practice, and graced with a top note of childlike wonder? Or songs that blur distinctions of gender and identity, yet which still summon up such powerful feelings: longing, love, lust, loss? No. Because Antony is one-of-a-kind. But he is certainly not alone. We are proud to present you with a record filled with one of the most gifted voices heard in a long time. Antony's vocals are almost inhuman, coming together to compile a creature that's as beautiful and enigmatic as the Peter Hujar photo, Candy Darling on Her Deathbed, that graces its cover. The lead-off single to I Am A Bird Now, "Fistful of Love" is perhaps Antony & the Johnsons' finest work to date. It features a scorching horn section and subcultural icon Lou Reed on vocals and searing lead guitar. In the tradition of subversive soul classics The Crystals' "He Hit me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" and Millie Jackson's "Hurts So Good," Antony sings this ode to getting the shit kicked out of you and learning to love every minute of it. The complex emotional undertow of this track reaches a cathartic roar by the song’s finale. Antony shifts from a tremble to a wail — a tempest of emotion. I Am A Bird Now also includes contributions from friends Boy George (duet with Antony on "You Are My Sister"), Devandra Banhart (vocals on "Spiralling"), and Rufus Wainright (lead vocals on "What Can I Do").
Conceived as an introduction to Antony & the Johnsons’ new full-length I Am A Bird Now (due 2/1/05 on Secretly Canadian), The Lake consists of three songs, including the lead-off single to I Am A Bird Now. The song is “Fistful of Love” and is Antony & the Johnsons’ finest work to date. Featuring a scorching horn section and the legendary Lou Reed on vocals and lead guitar, the song’s clear star is Antony. His lead vocal performance is bone-chilling. Reminiscent to that of the late Otis Redding, he sings: I accept and I collect upon my body, the memories of your devotion. I feel your fist. And I know it’s out of love. He shifts from a tremble to a wail — a tempest of emotion. Antony and Reed are no strangers to one another. As a member of Reed’s band, Antony accompanied him on his 2003 world tour as a vocalist. There Antony was featured as the lead vocalist on the Velvet Underground classic "Candy Says" as well as Reed’s solo classic “Perfect Day”. These performances are documented on Reed’s latest double-live album Animal Serenade. Antony also contributed vocals for Reed’s most recent album, The Raven.
The Lake also features two previously unreleased songs. Starting off with the spare "The Lake," on which Antony breathes new life into a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. An in-concert favorite, a live version of this song was also featured on Devendra Banhart’s Golden Apples of the Sun new folk compilation (Bastet) from earlier this year. Less orchestrated than Antony & the Johnsons’ self-titled debut (recently re-released by Secretly Canadian on July 20, 2004), it shows a confidence & maturity that many fans in New York City have grown to love in his work. Closing with "Horror is Gone," Antony plays his darker imagery against a backdrop of hope.
Antony and the Johnsons present chamber cabaret in darkest blue, creating music that is highly dramatic, emotional, and lyrical. Compared to everyone from Nina Simone to Lotte Lenya, Antony's voice is hauntingly evocative. The Johnsons, an ensemble featuring a string trio, piano, bass and drums, lay a foundation of lush yet minimal orchestral arrangements. Antony & the Johnsons is a reissue of the group’s debut album, which was originally released in 1998 on the London-based label Durtro, which is run by David Tibet of Current 93. It was followed by the EP I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy EP, which includes a cover of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti's "Mysteries of Love." Antony accompanied Lou Reed as a part of his band on his 2003 world tour, on which Antony sang lead vocals on the Velvet Underground classic "Candy Says". It, as well as several other songs on which Antony sings back-up vocals, was documented on Reed’s latest double-live album Animal Serenade. Antony also contributed vocals for Reed’s most recent album, The Raven.