New York folk princess Marianne Nowottny puts on a different face on this CD-R from the great new Barl Fire imprint. This short album shows Nowottny taking a seat behind the ivory keys, putting forth eight instrumental pieces that evoke an endless string of imagery.
I've long been a fan of Nowottny's fractured folk meanderings, but "Strange Weather" is such a departure that it's hard to believe it's made by the same person. And I mean this as a huge compliment. Her range as an artist is quite impressive. These evocative pieces dangle like feathers in the air, gently floating toward the ground. As you finally begin to wrap your head around these tracks, Nowottny throws a wrench into the proceedings by filtering the hopeful piano notes through a backwards loop at the end of "Untitled #4." It's dizzying and wonderful. To further knock you on your ass, "Untitled #5" sounds like the lost soundtrack to a silent movie. Her playing on the optigon here is hypnotic. The entire feel of this track just keeps me coming back for more.
We're back to the booming keys on "Divinity," a track with a distinctly Victorian feeling. I am reminded of listening to my grandma play piano for my sister and I when we we're wee ones. It thrives in its simplicity, giving us a real insight into Nowottny's creative spirit.
"Strange Weather From the Basement" is an intriguing document not only for those who are already fans of Nowottny, but for those looking for something different. Housed in lovely full-color sleeves, this is definitely something to seek out. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (28 June, 2006)