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Orion Rigel Dommisse - What I Want From You Is Sweet

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Artist: Orion Rigel Dommisse

Album: What I Want From You Is Sweet

Label: Language of Stone

Review date: Oct. 17, 2007

The first release on Greg and Jessica Weeks' Language of Stone is a baroque danse macabre, skeletal melodies waltzing tipsily over mournful parquets of cello, harp and keyboards. Singer Orion Rigel Dommisse, a cellist since childhood, crafts wavery, dark folktales that are as littered with corpses as with Jungian archetypes. Four of the 10 cuts have the word "death" (or some variant) in the title, and all of them incorporate mortality somewhere into their delicate landscapes. Greg Weeks is credited with playing "bones" on "A Faceless Death," and we can all hope it's only a metaphor.

What I Want From You Is Sweet draws together many of the players from Fern Knight's Music for Witches and Alchemists CD: Margie Weink this time in a supporting role as auxiliary cellist; Greg Weeks producing and sitting in on half the tracks; Jesse Sparhawk again coaxing mournful flourishes from his harp. Dommisse's one-time partner in Kiss Kiss, Robert Pycior, adds funereal ribbons of electric violin, and guitar on "Faceless Death."

Still, it’s Dommisse herself, a former homeless waif who haunted a college campus for its libraries and piano practice rooms, who dominates the album's pale, sorrowful tunes. Her voice is high and clear and fragile, floating above fey gypsy waltzes and Brecht/Weil caberet dirges, flowering into flute harmonies on "A Giver" and sighing breathily over the baroque-tinged "Alice and Sarah,” a little like Joanna Newsom.

Dommisse is all over the arrangements, too, balancing lush string tones with stark staccato plucks, finding the eeriest tones possible from organ, electric piano and synths. The densest, most fully realized cut on the disc, the aforementioned "Faceless Death," juxtaposes feverish harmonies with a music-box's precision, giving it a sort of mad Ophelia charm. The only non-original tune, "Suicide Kiss (Because Dead)," comes the Japanese underground film Suicide Club. In the movie, it’s performed by a glam band. Here, the melody is conveyed through folk guitar, silvery keyboard notes and Dommisse's luminous voice.

This is a very strong debut, both from Dommisse herself and from the new Language of Stone label. It belongs to the same extended family as Newsom's Ys and Fern Knight's Music for Witches and Alchemists, yet it has its own necromancing identity. It's a strange, haunted missive from the land between sleeping and waking, living and dying, folk and baroque classical music…a gentle new kind of goth for the morbidly romantic.

By Jennifer Kelly

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