Germany - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 24 - 10/05/98
Last autumn I reviewed Fnøs Hose's home-made debut album, in a limited
edition of 35 CDs. Now the digits have been switched; there's 53 copies of
Ferric about. This is Dagmar's first album on disc, though she has recorded
some cassette albums earlier. Apart from the occasional hissing s, the
album doesn't sound particularly home-made to these ears. I met the lady at
high altitudes a couple of years ago, in the Italian Dolomites, at the feet of
Peter Hammill literally, a very special gig it was. Dagmar thanks Mr.
Hammill on the cover and she is helped out by violinist Stuart Gordon of the
Peter Hammill Band on a couple of songs. Stuart has also been a guest with
XTC and Tori Amos among others and the latter lady seems to be a more
suitable point of reference than Hammill (at least they're both red haired
women who know how to handle the piano).
What do we get then? Surely not Krautrock. No. 41 is about the only English
sounding German I've heard, without that easily traceable Deutsch accent.
And all the lyrics are in English. This is very much a solo album. Dagmar
has made 12 of the 13 tunes herself and plays all instruments (piano, synth,
guitar, bass, flutes and percussive kitchen accessories) except for the
aforementioned violin. Most of the songs have been made at the piano, the
others probably with a guitar. The backbone of the opening and closing
tracks is dramatic piano playing with Hammill lurking in the shadows. The
final one To Not Wake Up even includes a flute close to a riff off Hammill's
The Emperor In His War Room (of Van der Graaf Generator's H To He).
Enough of Mr. H. Otherwise the flutes come much closer to a certain
frontman of Jethro Tull, not least the solo of the tourist track Headless In
Siena, but also the merry instrumental The Guitar Sounds Marginally Better
Than The Table with a guitar flavour somewhere in between Spain and
Sweet Georgia Brown. Great! At other moments like the little Great Wooden
Horse and especially the bitter-sweet New Lad Movement Song, Dagmar
sounds somewhat close to another Dagmar, namely Krause and her old
international band Slapp Happy.
Ferric also includes some kitchen sink surrealism/madness/absurdism in
Irony, Ynori (up the hill backwards) and that strange quacking of Think Arc.
Fine and funny efforts, but the backwards beats and voice experiments of
Attitude are hard to digest to these ears. Maybe because I haven't a clue
what the lyrics are about. But after all the album is dominated by
melancholic ballads. Nænia and No Orpeus are highlights where Dagmar's
voice and piano stands out along with Stuart Gordon's violin. In addition to
the opening Picture Me And The Waterman (which keeps popping into my
head at odd moments) and To Not Wake Up they indicate that Dagmar
might bring her music a lot further than to a home-made albums of limited
numbers if she wants to.
You might check out if there are more copies of Ferric available at:
Copyright © 1998 JP