Anna Coogan – The Lonely Cry of Space & Time
Self Released – 2017
Well now, this is a bit different. Hailing from Boston, Anna Coogan trained in singing classical opera, played in an alt-country, worked as a climate change researcher and writes scores for old silent films. Indeed, the title track which opens the album was performed as part of the score for Aelita, Queen of Mars, a Soviet silent dating from WWI. It was also inspired by the discovery of gravitational waves by Louisiana’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory project with which one of her husband’s relatives worked and, indeed the chorus borrows the “we’re listening” line from the press conference announcing the discovery.
Exploring the notion of listening to the universe, as you might suspect from the background, its five and a half minutes are something of a cosmic experience, Coogan moving between folksy tones and her soaring three octaves soprano to a drums, guitars and synth backing, sampling the audio signals beamed back from space at the end. It builds to something of a sonic storm, but there’s something incredibly soothing about it.
Driven by Willie B’s skittering percussive beats but also featuring twangy desert noir guitars, Collateral is an equally hypnotic number that erupts halfway through into another maelstrom of noise while that noir mood hangs around to dominate the brooding Burn For You, showcasing her full operatic acrobatics in the final stretch as the number explores social collapse in the Middle East.
Vocally, If You Were The Sun is the most operatic of the numbers, although, with the swirling spacey synths and the Moog bass and drums playout, the musical context is decidedly prog.
As such, listening to her in operatic mode, I was reminded of Clare Torry’s wordless vocals on The Great Gig In The Sky off Dark Side of the Moon and Wishing Well certainly conjures Pink Floyd. As indeed does the latter part of the six and half minute Wedding Vow with Hank Roberts on cello, although the early running is a more folk blues inclination.
Although listed as two separate tracks, Last Exit and Sylvia actually run together to form a nine minute epic, the former a Floyd/Schulze prog rock instrumental, the densely textured sounds incredibly, according to the credits, all created by Coogan on guitar effects, and the latter an equally powerful rock influenced number about Sylvia Plath.
Closing on another prog instrumental, the brief By Morning and with the ballad Follow Me suggesting the more pop side of Patti Smith, it’s certainly a stylistically diverse set. But the real oddity comes midway with Meteor, its dark lyrics about crash and burn self-destruction in complete contrast to the almost cheesy lounge disco drum machine and synth music, electronic handclaps and Coogan’s breathy vocals which, at one point get put through a vocoder.
This isn’t an album you approach on a casual basis, you need to work with it to form a relationship, but once you do, it’s one that will last.
Upcoming UK & European Tour Dates
Oct 19- The Sound Lounge, London UK
Oct 20- Devon Music, Devon, UK
Oct 21- The Band Room, The North Yorkshire Mores, UK
Oct 22- The Tape Center, Old Colwyn, Wales
Oct 24- Café Kultus, Grevenbroich, DE
Oct 25- Music Star, Norderstedt, DE
Oct 26- Music Café De Vijfport, Terschelling, NL
Oct 27- Lola, Groniegen, NL
Oct 28- Kloesterchen, Herzogenrath, DE
Oct 31- Ramble on Tuesday, Utrecht, NL
Jan 26- The Bank, Eye, UK
Jan 27- Wylam Winter Tales, Wylam UK
Feb 01- The Islington, London, UK
Feb 03- Transclyde Music, Isle of Bute, UK
Order The Lonely Cry of Space and Time via annacoogan.bandcamp.com/album/the-lonely-cry-of-space-and-time