Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World

January 01, 1970

(Secretly Canadian)


Taken from two live performances last year with the Danish
National Chamber Orchestra (actually a small symphony orchestra with 42
members), Cut the World isn’t a major
new statement from Antony Hegarty, since only one of its 11 songs are new and
he’s no stranger to using string arrangements. But the material is mostly the
cream of his four studio albums (plus the title song from his I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy EP).


It highlights his extraordinary voice, fluidly moving from
high tenor to falsetto as he caresses the fragile, ethereally lilting,
melancholy-yet-uplifting melodies. Occasionally, he dips to a low note,
stabbing at us with that sudden sense of darkness that makes his songs so
mysterious. Songs like “You Are My Sister,” “Epilepsy is Dancing,” “Another
World,” “Rapture” and “The Crying
Light” sound heavenly with this orchestra. (“Kiss My Name” is more mundane.) Cut the World includes only the title
song from 2010’s Swanlights, maybe a
tacit admission its songs weren’t as naturally melodic as previous work.


But this album’s new title song, from an upcoming Robert
Wilson-directed movie called The Life and
Death of Marina Abramovic,
has the same beauty as his older, best work,
making one eager for what comes next. One track here, “Future Feminism,” is an
address to his audience, a musing-style monologue that touches on his
transgender identity as well as the need for a more feminine consciousness on
the part of us all. It’s friendly, sincere, insightful and charming enough to
not make anyone get antsy for the music to resume.


the World,” “You Are My Sister” STEVEN ROSEN


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