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The Changelings


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal, Eastern Modal, Neo-Medieval

Status:

Most recent recordings, Astronomica (2002)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry on The Changelings

Comparisons:

Perhaps a cross between Dead Can Dance and Miranda Sex Garden. (Violaine@juno.com)

If any comparisons were to made, the first that comes to mind would be to a "stripped-down" Clannad without the heavy production. Ms. Morris' vocals are sometimes reminiscent of the drifting, lilting sounds of Enya. (lotus@oz.net)

Covers/own material:

Original material

General comments:

Not to be confused with the four-piece, guitar-based band from Sydney, Australia.

The Changelings are an ecto-ish group of musicians. It's hard to describe them, they are kinda goth, kinda medieval, kinda chamber/classically oriented. With a Middle Eastern/Celtic fusion bent. I like Craig's label, "Ethnic/Renaissance Fusion". I've often thought the Changelings exotic blending of styles is so much more than the "goth/darkwave" branding they've gotten themselves a bit pigeonholed into. They have female vox, violin, keyboards, guitar/sitar, and drums played in rolling style with timpani mallets. I heard about them originally on the October Project email list, and now I happily have found them and have become a big fan and friend. (Violaine@juno.com)

A simply jaw-dropping ensemble from Atlanta. A friend blessed me with both of their CDs on the Solstice, and they are in no wise a disappointment. If pressed to describe them quickly, I would say, "Imagine for a moment that Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry [of Dead Can Dance] had been born in Georgia and had found three like-minded friends."
     The talent in the Changelings is spread evenly around the band, but the sum is the same and the songwriting is exquisite. One might say that The Changelings are overall more conservative than Dead Can Dance in the musical territory they stake out, but the results are still breathtaking. FOCUS is the operative word here. The band sounds as though they've been doing this all their lives, and the production of each track is spot-on, perfectly synchronized, neither too sparse nor too dense.
     Okay, enough raving. Well, almost. You owe it to yourselves to listen to the online excerpt of "Johnny Ether's Great Escape" at The Changelings web site. Okay, NOW I'm done. (mjstevens@mindspring.com)

Dead Can Dance with a little less bombast? Cocteau Twins with a more Middle Eastern flair? Whatever—this is definitely ethereal and definitely interestingly structured sonically. Listen and dream. Their albums are good and highly recommended for those who love world/ethereal music. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

The Changelings

Recordings:


The Changelings

Release info:

1996—World Serpent Distribution—WSCD015

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Anyone interested in ethereal female vocals with a flair for medieval and eastern modal instrumental treatments would enjoy this album. (lotus@oz.net)

Group members:

Paul Mercer—violin
Regeana Morris—voice, hammered dulcimer
Nick Pagan—keyboards
Chandler Rentz—percussion, bass guitar
Damon Young—guitar, sitar, tanpura

Produced by:

Bruce Bennett & The Changelings

Comments:

The Changelings offer us a well-produced, well-paced album for those that enjoy soft melodies and non-invasive, complementary instrumentation. If one is in the mood for restful, peaceful music that won't put you to sleep, The Changelings will be more than happy to oblige. Despite some of the percussive aspects of this album, The Changelings traverse fairly quiet territory. This is an excellent album to spend a calm afternoon with. (lotus@oz.net)

Terra Firma

Release info:

1997—Middlesex Records

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of ethereal/world music

Group members:

Paul Mercer—violin
Regeana Morris—voice, bass guitar
Nick Pagan—keyboards
Chandler Rentz—percussion, bass guitar
Damon Young—guitar, sitar

Produced by:

Bruce Bennett & The Changelings

Comments:

More of the intriguing ethereal/world style evidenced in their first album. (Neile)

Amphibian

Release info:

1998—Middlesex Records—3000

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of ethereal/world music

Group members:

Nick Pagan—keyboards
Chandler Rentz—percussion, bass guitar
Paul Mercer—violin, viola
Damon Young—guitars, voice
Regeana Morris—voice, hammered dulcimer, toy accordion

Guest artists:

Josh Brown—sitar
Diana McCrary—harp

Produced by:

Bruce Bennett, Douglas Jacobs & the Changelings

Comments:

Ethnic/Renaissance fusion conjures up a stately court waltz or perhaps an honoured, ancient ritualistic dance; the Changelings' new cd of Ethnic/Renaissance fusion is closer to a wild jig combined with some bawdy tavern shuffle. Amphibian starts out with a gentle, gothic lullabye of a piece, with rippling guitars, propulsive bass and Reagana Morris' prim, pure soprano twisting notes into trills. The next piece, "Frog Song", however, is more revealing of the sinister, twisted bent of this song-cycle. The lyrics are written from the viewpoint of frogs who want to rise up and destroy "non-circular" things. It's funny, goofy, and spooky all at once. Another song finds the songstress describing a delicate cat going about her rather nasty business of killing things. Two story-songs, in the firm tradition of British folk-balladry, are sung by the guitarist, who has a nice, sexy bass-tenor voice. One describes pirates and sailors, and is very ribald. The other piece is about a mermaid's despair. The Changelings mix a variety of instruments, from the traditional guitar-bass-drums-keyboards, to toy accordion, sitar, harp and violin. The album nicely balances story-songs, poetic pieces, and ethereal pieces that feature Reagana's swooping, crystalline, pretty-as-Wm.-Morris-wallpaper vocalizations. Imagine Kate Bush, at her most subversive, fronting Dead Can Dance, with the guy from And Also the Tree along for the ride. A great cd! (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

Mercury ep

Release info:

1999—self-released

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for The Changelings' fans

Group members:

Paul Mercer—violin
Regeana Morris—voice
Nick Paga—keyboards
Chandler Rentz—percussion
Damon Young—guitars

Comments:

A taste of what The Changelings are working on now. Not so very different from what they've been working on in the past (world-trance-dance), but has a stronger, less trancey beat. I like this slight shift in style. (Neile)

Epicycles: Incidental Music 1997-2000

Release info:

2000—self-released

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for The Changelings fans or fans of more dreamy ethereal music

Group members:

Paul Mercer—violin, viola
Regeana Morris—voice, hammered dulcimer, musical sax
Nick Pagan—keyboards
Chandler Rentz—percussion
Damon Young—guitars, door

Produced by:

First four tracks by Bruce Bennett and The Changelings; last two tracks by DeArqe and Schendel

Comments:

This is definitely not my thing as my tastes run to more song-oriented music. The first four tracks were commissioned for a forthcoming computer games, and the last for for a haunted house. They're a little too dreamy and drifty for me, but fans of those things will love this! (Neile)


Thanks to John Navroth for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-05-09 18:11:34.
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