Saturday, December 13, 2014

Imagene Peise (Flaming Lips) "Atlas Eets Chrismas" (At Last It's Christmas)

Imagene Peise
(Flaming Lips)
"Atlas Eets Christmas'
(At Last It's Christmas)
Warner Brothers
Released: Record Store Day, November 28, 2014

"Atlas Eets Christmas" was previously released in a very limited quantity on CD under the pseudonym Imagene Peise (with a sticker that read "Love Is The Answer--Merry Christmas From The Flaming Lips 2007). This marks the first time these haunting takes on Christmas classics has been released on vinyl.

What you get with "Atlas Eets Christmas" is 12 haunting tracks, complete with faux vinyl pops, atypical musical sounds, unusual psychedelic arrangements, especially when listened to in the context of Christmas carols.

poignant and evocative; difficult to ignore or forget.
"the melodies were elaborate and of haunting beauty"
synonyms: evocative, emotive, affecting, moving, touching, stirring, powerful; poignant, nostalgic, wistful, elegiac; memorable, indelible, unforgettable

Schroeder from the Charlie Brown Christmas (Vince Guaraldi) high on something, or maybe you can buy in to the following for a truly odd trip:

In a world full of mysterious and timely entities, no one could be more exotic or more relevant. Imagene Peise is believed to have lived for a short time in Tikrit, Iraq. Her exact birthday is unknown. She is rumored to be just 18 at the time of this recording. Her extraordinary talent as a master jazz pianist at such a young age should, alone, put her in the realm of the stellar.

Available here for the first time Ms. Peise's Atlas Eets Christmas is a strange and beautiful experience. Little is known of her musical and recording life. Most of what is known is shrouded in clouds of legend and smoke of myth. But what is clear is her expressive playing and her unique arrangements.

The Atlas Eets Christmas collection is said to be a rehearsal for a doomed or poorly recorded session. But what an inspired "doomed" session it turned out to be. The forgotten facts of the trio that accompanies her will perhaps be invisible to us forever. But, as we hear, Imagene is not the only musical star shining through. Ominog Bangh the synthesizer virtuoso (playing the outmoted The Laughing/Crying Glider Synthesizer) and Indian classical musician Shineyu Bhupal are obvious, added other-worldly treats.

Atlas Eets Christmas stands as a missed opportunity. It's uncanny coincidence of a Middle Eastern talent embracing such American themes (jazz piano, Silver Bells and Winter Wonderland) as we know now, are glimpses of a future that was never to be. With her powerful message of kindness and peace we can only imagine if Ms. Peise had become an international star her influence could have, in some other space and time, prevented the current apocalyptic environment.

We can not know if her story is truly triumphant or sad. She is rumored to have committed suicide in 1978. But if she really is gone from this world in the physical sense then she is gloriously hovering above us in the metaphysical dimension as a source of sublime pleasure and reassurance anytime we need her. By playing this CD she is reanimated and we are once again comforted by her loving vision.

Either way, a great record.

Merry Christmas
Frank FOE

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