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coverpic flag Germany - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 24 - 10/05/98

Dagmar 41
(private release)

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.

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