I first heard of Amy from Tim Thompson, a member of the electro-music.com forums, via email. He said, "Great/catchy/accessible/deep composition, stunning vocals, terrific use of technology (but all serving the music). A 1-woman show, complex compositions are constructed completely live (she loops/layers her voice and plays/triggers things with drum pads)." Tim is sometimes prone to understatement.
Amy X Neuburg is a classically trained vocalist (Oberlin Conservatory), a composer, an electronic musician, a poet, and an entertainer. Her music covers a tremendous range of styles, from medieval religious chant through Kurt Weil cabaret singing, pop, rock, avant garde, sound text poetry, opera, African tribal singing, and electronic (ambient, beat, noise - everything). Her music is very experimental, but always under total control. The result is, like Tim said, accessible. She is satirical, profound, humorous and sexy too. Oh yes, Amy's voice is magnificent, a full-range masterfully controlled musical instrument.
Amy has a relatively small but sophisticated setup. She has a digital mixer with effects, a looper, a sample-based synthesizer, some drum controllers, some foot switches, and a few other miscellaneous gadgets. There is no external computer. Somehow the entire performance is stored as a series of presets which control all the equipment. As she goes through each piece, the drum controller changes function, sometimes as a loop controller - sometimes as a sample trigger - sometimes it even changes reverb parameters. Everything is very tightly planned, down to the beat. She performs by hitting the percussion controller with drum sticks and singing into a boom mic. (Sometimes she takes the mic off the boom and sings like a popular vocalist.) Her music is very tightly structured and the electronics change function instantly for whatever musical purpose she wants; sometimes several times in rapid succession during a piece - sometimes on every beat.
It's very difficult to describe Neuburg's music. In no special order I think of Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, John Lennon, Renee Flemming, Robert Ashley, and Laurie Anderson, but with electronic music like nobody else. The songs on Residue combine the most mundane every-day aspects of live, like brushing your teeth, with the most profound.
If you are a musician, consider Residue a must-have CD; Amy is a musician's musician. That said, I think just about everyone would like Residue. Amy should be playing for huge houses. She deserves to be at Carnegie Hall. The kids should see and hear her on MTV.
We are very proud offer Residue at the electro-music.com store. Go ahead, click through. There are some nice mp3 samples to enjoy.
Amy X Neuburg makes her home in Oakland, California. You can visit her web site here: http://www.isproductions.com/amy
(copyright 2004 by Howard Moscovitz)