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Monday, February 20, 2012

Dream Zoo, the Avant Cabaret Music of Valerie Kuehne

Life in the United States, in my generational view anyway, is a life of continual loss. You lose things. A piano, friends, a house, a job, parents, your car keys, that important note you wrote to yourself, your youth. And then you (one hopes) gain things too. There's always new music, for example. Here today is something to gain. It's the music of Valerie Kuehne, in the guise of the group Dream Zoo. She writes the music, plays cello, and sings what is variously dubbed classical, experimental, melodramatic popular song, avant cabaret.

Like Friday's music it has a bit of a sprechstimme (speech-song) aspect, which of course cabaret always has had, presumably well predating Schoenberg's "Pierrot".

So there's a six-song self titled album Dream Zoo (self-released) which you can listen to on Facebook and My Space, and can buy as a download on Bandcamp (Facebook links you to them). Now I must caution you that this music may be an acquired taste (it was for me) so that hearing some of it while staring at a computer screen may not be the best way to experience the music.

It's music that has a cerebral-emotional intensity, modern expressionist chamber music if you like, and the first hearing, especially in less than ideal circumstances, may put you off. The lyrics are about a dissociative surreal metaphysical angst in an everyday dream world. I am not sure Ms. Kuehne would put it that way, but it hit me that way.

It is music that grew on me to the point where I now appreciate it, even. First time through I almost hated it. But that's something I lost as I listened time and again.

If you download the album and do as I did, you may find that you feel the same way.

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