Hal Willner

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RIP to a walking talking musical encyclopedia and true patron of the arts.

https://nypost.com/2020/04/07/hal-willner-snl-music-producer-dead-at-64-from-coronavirus/

vmajestic, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 22:30 (five months ago) link

Bummer because this morning I blasted Ecstasy, the near great album he produced with sympathy, clarity, and imagination for Lou Reed in 2000 and whose 20-year anniversary is today.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 April 2020 22:33 (five months ago) link

Agreed re: Ecstasy. Lou’s best friend til the end. Such a wide-ranging and wildly eclectic career.

vmajestic, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 22:41 (five months ago) link

My favorite of his tributes were Weird Nighmare: Meditations on Mingus and That's the Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk. I still listen to both, particularly the former. And Night Music was one of the greatest things to ever appear on US TV. Here's the Residents' famous appearance (first as themselves, then backing Conway Twitty):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk6hrGwmHrA

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 7 April 2020 23:20 (five months ago) link

growing up I was a big fan of collage and sampling, and as teenager I often mistook the real focus of what I loved about those records as technological / recording-based. I loved how you could do anything with the whole history of music. but his records woke me straight up out of that and helped me realize that what I actually valued in all of music wasn't the control, or necessarily the auteurs, but the real life relationships / collisions / collaborations. it was always just so ridiculously on, what he did, the people and the contexts he brought together. and risky, in the way that the moments that didn't completely click? totally underlined the process, helped you understand how important it is when it all does actually come together

what music is really about, at least when its good

way too soon

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 23:41 (five months ago) link

Also did right by Marianne Faithfull (hang in there, MF), on Strange Weather and Easy Come, Easy Go, and even, omg Dave Sanborn's Another Hand, feat the Downtown crowd, as Lou would put it: he gets covered, so does Bernard Hermann, Charlie Haden, Frisell (who also plays on it, way before his more limpid phase). Maybe because of their mutual involvement in Sunday Night AKA Michaelob Presents Night Music (Sonny Rollins x L. Cohen etc), but that's a whole (fairly Willneresque) story in itself https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday_Night_(American_TV_program)
Otherwise, I mostly know him from some (some!) of the tribute albums--take it, woik:
Amarcord Nino Rota (1981) Willner's first tribute album salutes Italian composer Nino Rota, and features interpretation of his music for Federico Fellini films by jazz and pop musicians including: Wynton and Branford Marsalis; Carla Bley; Muhal Richard Abrams; Bill Frisell; Steve Lacy; Jaki Byard; and Deborah Harry
That's The Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk (1984) features musicians ranging from John Zorn to Peter Frampton
Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill (1985) features musicians ranging from Sting to Charlie Haden
Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films (1988) features performances of songs from Walt Disney movies by a large cast of artists ranging from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, Ringo Starr, Yma Sumac and Ken Nordine
Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus (1992) is a tribute to Charles Mingus, featuring instruments designed and built by American composer Harry Partch, on loan from his estate. Performers include Bill Frisell, Vernon Reid, Henry Rollins, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Don Byron, Henry Threadgill, Gary Lucas, Bobby Previte, Robert Quine, Leonard Cohen, Diamanda Galás, Chuck D, Francis Thumm, and Elvis Costello
September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill (1995) re-creation of the previous Weill tribute as a Canadian TV special directed by Larry Weinstein. A CD was issued including performances by Nick Cave and P J Harvey. The list of performers on this recording is quite different from the list of performers on his previous Weill tribute. Some of those that are on both tributes, such as Lou Reed and Charlie Haden, provide new recordings of the pieces they contributed previously. Many of the songs included are the same, although the new recording tends toward more historical recordings (Lotte Lenya, Bertolt Brecht, and Weill himself), while the previous one tended toward more avant-garde tributes.
The Weills are my faves, but all are worth hearing for sure.
Also, if you're into these guys:
Dead City Radio (1990) by William Burroughs has musical backing by Sonic Youth, Donald Fagen, John Cale and others.
Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales (1996) by William Burroughs with music by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.
The Lion for Real by Allen Ginsberg features musical accompaniment by Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Paul McCartney and others.

B-but there's so much more!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Willner

dow, Tuesday, 7 April 2020 23:54 (five months ago) link

Amarcord Nino Rota was Bill Frisell's first appearance on record.

Also, when you do the math knowing that he died at 64 you realize that he made ANR at 25.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 00:03 (five months ago) link

???? there has never been a Hal Willner ILM thread til today?

veronica moser, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:11 (five months ago) link

one of the best — how did he pull off all of this stuff!?

tylerw, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:14 (five months ago) link

oh jesus no fuckin way

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:28 (five months ago) link

I was still in high school when the Kurt Weill album came out. That was one of those, like Jonathan Richman said, "open the door to Bohemia" things for me, for sure. Loved that record.

timellison, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 01:37 (five months ago) link

The collaborations he put together for NBC’s Sunday Night Music show were awesome. Leonard Cohen with Sonny Rollins; Sonic Youth w/ David Sanborn & Indigo Girls & doing the Stooges; Sun Ra; Al Green; and many more

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 03:56 (five months ago) link

He was a bit of a crotchety old guy in that Times article but his memories of his early NY years are something:

If I miss anything, it’s the amount of eccentrics walking around, and hearing about culture everywhere on the street,” he said. “It’s still there. It just doesn’t mix like it did. Most people I knew were into all of it.

“I was a watcher, not a doer. I still am. I remember walking Rahsaan Roland Kirk around New York when I was 18, and I went from that to producing Lou Reed. It’s crazy. I had a big place at one time, both Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull were staying there at the same time. How lucky I was to be in the midst

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 04:17 (five months ago) link

I had a short email correspondence with him once, many years ago. Weird nightmare is the one I’m most likely to play these days; it’s strangely poignant at this particular moment to be thinking of someone whose reputation was built on connecting people, on introducing musician a to musician z and inviting them to play the music of x in y’s kitchen. Stunt casting, photos taken of famous people together that you would never have expected to be together but make you happy all the same, jools holland. Relationships.

There is also how good and surprising the actual music could be but idk I’m stuck in my flat and stuck on remembering someone who lessened the degrees of separation in the world

Microbes oft teem (wins), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 08:04 (five months ago) link

oh no! so sad. far too young.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 12:09 (five months ago) link

Hard I think for me to really describe what a number Weird Nightmare did to me and like wins said, almost more than the music (which is awesome), just the fact of the existence of the record, that we are going to do a tribute to Charles Mingus but we are going to use Keith Richards and Harry Partch to do it was and still is a mind-blow

I remember staring at the cover of that album in a record store in the suburbs just trying to reckon with it.

He seemed to good at just throwing some stuff together and having it work, which probably reads like a dis but as I get older the more I realize that in itself is some weird, magical skill.

Love the Rogue's Gallery records, the Burroughs, Whoops I'm An Indian, LULU, Ecstasy, Night Music, that Beefheart SNL performance was him, and frankly he hipped an entire generation to Sun Ra, Stay Awake is 100% the first time I ever encountered him

In these days of algorithms and curated playlists and tailored experiences we lose that free-wheeling, "hey, let's put the Residents and Conway Titty together and see what happens"-vibe that Willner perfected.

RIP, what a great, important ind

chr1sb3singer, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 14:44 (five months ago) link

MIND, for fuck's sake, how's that typo for a tribute?

chr1sb3singer, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 14:45 (five months ago) link

Willner special in 4 hours at wfmu.org

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 15:00 (five months ago) link

hopefully ok, too amazing not to share, crossposted from Steve’s FB page

This is an unpublished interview from a few years ago with Hal Willner by Steve Shelley and Aaron Mullan for an as-of-yet unfinished DVD edition of Sonic Youth’s Screaming Fields Of Sonic Love.

HAL WILLNER: I wasn't at Night Music full time when it started; but I did a couple shows the first season. The second show is the one that got me the gig. We put Leonard Cohen with Sonny Rollins together on “Who By Fire”. That was one of the great collaborations ever. They asked me to come full time the year after.
I look at music like a meal: here is your appetizer, your main thing, the vegetable that you won't like that's good for you, and an easy dessert. So when I came on at Night Music some people thought it was the greatest stuff they'd ever seen and some people thought it was a freak show.

Later I came to learn that some people couldn't deal with the eclecticism. I didn't realize at the time how dark they considered it. I had a show with Conway Twitty, the Kronos Quartet, the Residents and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Years later I was out with some people at this place on Houston street and they introduced me to a friend of theirs; the guy looked at me, stood up, came at me and put me against a wall shouting: “Conway Twitty and the Residents?!” I think some people had a nervous breakdown because of what they were watching. They were freaked out.

Eventually, some of the Night Music staff had had it with the stuff I was putting on. A box came from Mute Records because I had booked Nick Cave. In the box was everything by Diamanda Galas. The talent coordinator gave me the tapes as a joke, thinking “this will freak him out!” But of course I just went over the moon demanding that we have to have her! The talent coordinator quit after I did that.

Putting together this particular show: Sonic Youth was available. Diamanda Galas didn't jump at it but we talked about stuff and she agreed. So we flew her over and actually she just stayed; decided to live in New York. Daniel Lanois was on the show. The talent coordinator was really pushing for the Indigo Girls. They're great but it wasn't my thing. This talent coordinator was like “they're the greatest thing in the world.” I'm not the type of person who says no, if so many people like something. So, we had the Indigo Girls on.

The Indigo Girls were out of place. I was upset. It was going to be the show to really get us cancelled. We asked the musicians what they’d like to collaborate on at the end. Evan Lurie asked for “Red River Valley”. Sonic Youth stuck with “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. Genius here was thinking it was two versions of Americana at its best. The strange thing was the Indigo Girls doing the “I Wanna Be Your Dog” chorus. The camera went to them singing it and people thought it was on purpose. I remember trying to get Diamanda to play piano and there was no fucking way. She hates so good. Amazing person.

In retrospect I can understand the staff's desire to tilt this episode toward something more “normal”. The sponsor was already withdrawing from the show. The trio of Sonic Youth, Diamanda and Evan Lurie was a little out there. The sponsorship question was already complex because the time of the show was always moving around. It was on NBC, Sunday night at 12:30 but they had football on before so everything afterwards could be delayed. Night Music might come on 30 minutes or 2 hours after it was scheduled.

There’s a couple different theories on why the show ended. I think what happened is: The sponsor had already decided after the first season they weren’t going to continue it after the second. One theory about why I got the job was that I could be the fall guy. They always need someone to point at and say “It’s his fault.”
I still get people who come up to me and tell me how they’d stay up all night on Sunday to see the show, and this being the broadcast days where you needed an antenna, they’d have to like stand on the kitchen sink with the antenna out the window, hoping to catch the Pixies but then having their minds blown by Sun Ra.

On the flipside of that, one day Lorne Michaels (Executive Producer Night Music, Saturday Night Live) came to the studio while we were taping Night Music because his buddy Eric Clapton was on the show. When he walked in we were filming Clara Rockmore, the legendary theramin player. So Lorne walks in and looks at the monitor and there’s a 92-year-old woman playing “Kaddish” on the theramin and I can just see stacks of dollars with little wings flying out of his head.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 15:50 (five months ago) link

That’s great. The Cohen/Rollins is the only clip I’ve seen from night music and it’s the one everyone seems to mention - wonderful stuff

Diamanda posted a lovely tribute on fb that I saw via former ilxor turangalila

Microbes oft teem (wins), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 15:57 (five months ago) link

The "Stay Awake" and "Lost In The Stars" comps were big for me, especially the former. And I was just thinking about "Closed On Account Of Rabies" the other day, the great spoken word Poe comp. The "Rogue's Gallery" comps were also really fun. Damn, I probably have more Hal Willner in my library than I realized!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 16:02 (five months ago) link

The second show is the one that got me the gig. We put Leonard Cohen with Sonny Rollins together on “Who By Fire”. That was one of the great collaborations ever. They asked me to come full time the year after. That performance always comes to mind first when I think of this show: those guys were listening to each other, digging deep, testifying.
Other effects: Nick The Cave, so portentous on "The Mercy Seat," with an amused-looking Charlie Haden at his service, no prob, A disgusted-looking Al Green CLANG CLANG CLANGing the cowbell through all-hands-on-deck finale with Sun Ra and the Arkestra---Syd Straw laughing wildly---but when I played back the C-90, it all fit perfectly---as Al would no doubt be even more disgusted to know (he might say that proved his point).
One of the best shows ever, and usually some of it on YouTube.

dow, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 19:37 (five months ago) link

That unpublished interview from a few years ago with Hal Willner by Steve Shelley and Aaron Mullan provides great insight in Hal Willner and the Night Music show

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 20:24 (five months ago) link

I was misled about the WFMU programming earlier, but I suspect Irwin Chusid will do something in upcoming weeks

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 21:54 (five months ago) link

"Lost in the Stars" was out of print for soooooo long. It may in fact still be out of print. Monk album, too, I think.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 22:05 (five months ago) link

actually Irwin did a last set of Willner recordings today, but he did this show w/ Hal in 2013:

https://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/50546

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 22:15 (five months ago) link

Looks like many of the Willner tribute albums are out of print now

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 April 2020 03:45 (five months ago) link

That unpublished interview from a few years ago with Hal Willner by Steve Shelley and Aaron Mullan provides great insight in Hal Willner and the Night Music show
link?

tylerw, Thursday, 9 April 2020 03:56 (five months ago) link

Steve Shelley posted it on Facebook as a public post April 7 at 8:05 pm

https://www.facebook.com/steve.shelley.549/posts/10160243605204848?hc_location=ufi

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 April 2020 04:05 (five months ago) link

Milton Parker posted the text above

curmudgeon, Thursday, 9 April 2020 04:07 (five months ago) link

That's awesome, thanks Morbs!

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 April 2020 12:36 (five months ago) link

(Is that Omar Hakim as house drummer?)

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 April 2020 12:38 (five months ago) link

Wiki sez:

“The show also featured a house band of Omar Hakim (drums), Marcus Miller (bass), Philippe Saisse (keys), David Sanborn (sax), Hiram Bullock (guitar), and Jools Holland (piano).”

vmajestic, Thursday, 9 April 2020 19:17 (five months ago) link

Jools H was the host initially, but it was fairly clear that what worked on the BBC would not work stateside, although his sensibility was very much present in the first season. So Sanborn, who on the other hand did not have the gift of gab but had a high enough profile due to appearing with the Shaffer band for many years, was the host afterwards… and the band referenced above had some replacements by the end…

veronica moser, Thursday, 9 April 2020 19:52 (five months ago) link

and yeah I had forgotten: the first season was far far more armani, musician Magazine, Mark Knoplfer and Clapton-friendly, very respectful of jazz, blues, gospel elders…the 2nd season was Willner running hog wild…

veronica moser, Thursday, 9 April 2020 20:05 (five months ago) link

Haha, yeah, that was quite a moment.

timellison, Friday, 10 April 2020 00:06 (five months ago) link

From an email to Bob Lefsetz:

The last time we were in his studio, where the puppets and albums hang around and underneath his mixing board, I asked him about a photo of Lenny Bruce he had hanging above his Keith Richards puppet. He said, "That's Lenny and his daughter." In the photo they are embracing each other with happy smiles. Hal continued, "Richard Hell gave that to me because he owed me some money or something. I've always loved the photo." I said, "I love it too. They look so happy." He said, "Well, his daughter became an addict too so it didn't end well." We both sort of sat there and didn't say anything for awhile and I thought about how I hate losing people. Especially the really cool ones. The odd ones who see things differently.

The other thing that Hal did a lot over the past six months or so was play me tracks off the upcoming T Rex album he finished. It's pretty amazing. The Nick Cave track alone is stunning but it's much more than even that and of course Hal made sure that the album sequencing gave it a real flow. It does. We were working on a plan for Hal to fly to different record stores and play his T Rex album for people in the stores. Hal really believed in the magic of music bringing people together.

I really wish we didn't have to lose him. Godspeed Hal, you were one of the really cool ones.

Michael Kurtz

curmudgeon, Friday, 10 April 2020 04:20 (five months ago) link

Elvis Costello:

Words are a very poor carriage for the way I am feeling today at the sudden passing of my dear friend, Hal Willner.
Nobody could put themselves to the front of a line of Hal’s many friends but Diana and I are only comforted by the thought that his wife, Sheila Rogers and their son, Arlo must know of the depth and breadth of love that people have for Hal.
It is my belief that beloved people always dwell in the present tense.
Not very long ago, Hal and I sat for a while listening to a wonderful record that he was making with an extraordinary cast based on the songs of Marc Bolan. His studio was like a living collage of his love of music, art and other fascinations; record albums, artwork, puppets, tiny books of arcane facts once owned by Stan Laurel were among his wonders.
After the new record was over, we listened to a few selections from an album by the actor, Albert Finney, made for the Motown label. Only a few people probably know this record even exists, Hal would be among the even smaller group of curious souls who sought out an actual copy.
Listeners are sometimes confused by the role of a record producer, as many of the most successful or infamous producers apply their own vision to the music like a veneer or lens through which the original intentions may be only dimly perceived.
Hal’s approach better resembled the beautiful chaos of a childhood chemistry set, in which all of the substances and elements were mixed with joyous but determined abandon to render coloured smoke, a delightful explosion or something of unlikely and uncommon beauty.
I arrived to one of my most memorable sessions with Hal, directly off a plane to NYC from Barbados, where I had been cutting rock and soul sides with what I thought of as an experimental line-up of players with an ample supply of rum cocktails. 


In these terms being, “experimental”, I was a mere novice.
The band Hal had assembled consisted of, guitarist, Bill Frisell, bassist, Greg Cohen and a horn section of Henry Threadgill and Art Baron with percussionist, Don Alias, smiting what looked like a giant railway sleeper with a huge felt mallet, the “Marimba Eroica” which resonated to your very innards. The studio was filled with an array of remarkable percussion instruments, each with similarly extraordinary names given to them by the composer, inventor and musical theorist, Harry Partch.
It was indicative of Hal’s mischief that he had had musicians, Marc Ribot, Michael Blair and Francis Thumm addressing these microtonal devices alongside conventionally tuned instruments as a foundation for performing Charles Mingus’ “Weird Nightmare”, a beautiful ballad with Mingus’ own lyric.
The resulting album of Mingus interpretations had contributions by people as contrasting as Dr. John, Henry Rollins, Keith Richards, Leonard Cohen and Chuck D.

This range of artists was not by any means unique in Hal’s work, nor was it a matter of marquee billing or stunt casting. To engage with the gentle and curious assemblies of his productions was to surrender your fears and doubts, like discovering a box of paints full of previously unseen colours. 

Listen to any one of Hal’s extraordinary investigations, whether into the music of Nino Rota or Thelonius Monk, his record of Disney songs, “Stay Awake” with performances by Tom Waits, Betty Carter, Sun Ra, NRBQ, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Bonnie Raitt or his productions of albums by Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Lucinda Williams and “The Lion For Real” by Allen Ginsberg.
Hal also worked with the director, Robert Altman, producing the extraordinary soundtrack for “Kansas City” or also the film, “Short Cuts” for which he was kind enough to ask me to write the song “Punishing Kiss” which was sung by Annie Ross.
Hal’s live events rightly live in legend, my favourites being a concert during the Vancouver Winter Olympics, performing the songs of Neil Young or “The Harry Smith Project”, an investigation into the “Anthology Of American Folk Music”, a more than three-hour concert at Royce Hall, UCLA, including performances and contributions from Garth Hudson, David Thomas, The Folksmen, Steve Earle, Kate and Anne McGarrigle, EIiza Carthy, Percy Heath and Philip Glass and of course, his direction of the Montreal concert one year after the passing of Leonard Cohen.
As heartfelt as many of the performances on that evening were, Hal had already produced an unmatchable moment with Leonard Cohen and Sonny Rollins collaborating on a performance of “Who By Fire” on the NBC show, “Night Music”, the standard by which we hoped to measure any successes during the two seasons of the television show, “Spectacle”.
I could go on to name all of the elusive moments of alchemy and records on which Hal conjured gentle magic but I will close by expressing my deep gratitude for every door he walked me through and all the simple kindness and humour of his regular but always unexpected texts, whether during a moment of crisis in our family, while hard at work at his regular musical supervising job at SNL or in the midst of producing music for theatre director Robert Wilson at an anniversary event for Solidarność in Gdansk.
I wrote to Hal two nights ago when it seemed he had come through the worst of this dreadfully, cruel contagion. I said it seemed as if we had woken in the plot of a poorly realized film adaptation of a futuristic story by Philip K. Dick, with savage asides that might have invited the editorial red pen by even a writer like Hunter S. Thompson. Whether or not there was time to still laugh or smile, I will miss my friend’s reply for the rest of my days.
“Condolences” seems a word of insufficient depth for the way many of us feel today but we must not be selfish or feel alone but rather look to the light and imagination with which we will perhaps emerge from this dark and melancholy hour. I send my love and that of my wife, Diana with a wish for every possible strength to Sheila and Arlo.
Here is a song by Kurt Weill recorded with The Brodsky Quartet in Toronto in 1995 for Hal’s album of Weill interpretations and re-imaginings also entitled, “Lost In The Stars”.
Elvis Costello. 7/4/20

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 11 April 2020 15:09 (five months ago) link

That’s beautiful
Is there audio of the Harry Smith concert somewhere?

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 11 April 2020 22:58 (five months ago) link

That is a compelling tribute, damn maybe I should read EC's autobiography. Saturday Night Live, in quarantine, just now closed with a well-timed tribute to Willner: current cast, in concise segments, on what it was like to work and hang out with him, past and maybe current female SNL colleagues delivering choruses of "Perfect Day," a shot of Lou Reed with Willner---not to make it a SadOlympics, but so far his death has been the single most disturbing/felt loss of this pandemic, speaking strictly for myself.

dow, Sunday, 12 April 2020 05:20 (five months ago) link

Saturday Night live tribute was nice

curmudgeon, Sunday, 12 April 2020 20:05 (five months ago) link

xpost EC's memoir is really good, though not necessarily quite what you might expect (which is to say, a standard rock and roll memoir). But he is a great writer, so if you're expecting that you won't be disappointed.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 12 April 2020 21:10 (five months ago) link

three months pass...

Had no idea the T. Rex album was apparently completed and is being released:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTLMGU9o50k

“Jeepster” is the fourth song to be released from Angelheaded Hipster, following Kesha’s “superstar vocals”(SPIN) on “Children of the Revolution,” Devendra Banhart’s “serene...trippy” (Rolling Stone) “Scenescof” and Nick Cave’s “gorgeous rendition” (Brooklyn Vegan) of “Cosmic Dancer.” Each of the 26 tracks on Angelheaded Hipster was produced by the acclaimed Hal Willner, who passed away from COVID-19 in April. Willner had previously served as the Saturday Night Live sketch music producer for nearly 40 years, produced albums for Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull and William S. Burroughs, and concept albums drawing upon the music of Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, vintage Disney films and others.

For Angelheaded Hipster, Willner brought together a wide-ranging cast to reimagine Bolan’s greatest songs - Jett, Kesha, Banhart and Cave plus Marc Almond, Børns, Helga Davis, Perry Farrell, Elysian Fields, Gavin Friday, Emily Haines, Jesse Harris, King Khan, Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Maria McKee, Father John Misty, John Cameron Mitchell, Gaby Moreno, Nena, Beth Orton, Peaches, Todd Rundgren, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams With Julian Lennon and U2 Feat. Elton John.

Angelheaded Hipster will be available on CD, LP and digital. A special limited-edition white vinyl version will be released one week early on August 28 exclusively at independent retail stores in the US.

Hal Willner worked on AngelHeaded Hipster for several years, with sessions spanning continents, from New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, to London, Paris and Berlin. The project was conceived and executive produced by Bill Curbishley and Ethan Silverman. Kate Hyman had the creative vision to ask Willner to produce it.

Dunno who plays on it, musician-wise, but the Joan Jett song (which is not particularly good; Visconti's production is a big part of T. Rex) features a lot of shots of Tony Scherr on bass, so I assume the usual guys will be playing on it.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 13:49 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/09/910679207/a-final-bow-from-hal-wilner-the-producer-with-the-golden-rolodex

Todd Rundgren, Helga Davis, Beth Orton and his final project on Marc Bolan

curmudgeon, Thursday, 10 September 2020 13:48 (one week ago) link

Listened today and it’s a mixed bag of course, but I was surprised how many singers followed Bolan’s voice right down to detailing the warble of his trills. (About a quarter of them)

Which didn’t bother me because it made me realize how essential those trills are to putting his lyrics and melodies into stratosphere. So the album made me look at his work in a new way, which I wasn’t expecting but I should have expected since the other Wilner tributes were so special because of that exact knack of his.

Julius Caesar Memento Hoodie (bendy), Tuesday, 15 September 2020 02:30 (one week ago) link


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