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His Name Is Alive


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

alternative, ethereal, gothic

Status:

Most recent release, Patterns of Light (2016)

See also:

His Name is Alive's site

His Name is Alive's bandcamp page

The 4AD Records site

Wikipedia's entry on His Name is Alive

Comparisons:

This Mortal Coil, "the 4AD sound"...actually they are pretty unique.

About the only band I can compare them to—in concept rather than necessarily in sound—is Pram. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

They are the most amazing band in the entire world. I can't believe how amazing they are. They use mainly acoustic and electric guitars that sound really affected and blown out of proportion sometimes. There is no one to compare them to but themselves. They use a lot of samples. They have samples of a clock ticking through an entire CD almost, also choirs and messages from answering machines. They also use cello and orchestra. They are very eclectic musically. (JLeonard@st.ceu.edu)

His Name Is Alive has some real interesting weirdnesses, to be sure. Half the time they are playing one rhythm (like a two-step type of thing) and singing something similar but syncopated or out of sync in some other way. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

i saw his name is alive in concert. Karin oliver's voice is wonderful! strong and yet vulnerable...just plain beautiful! (woj@smoe.org)

I hated the Nice Day EP and was only lukewarm about Stars on E.S.P.. I like everything before Stars on E.S.P., though, even the messy King of Sweet. So, I'd also like to know how the new one compares to Nice Day. If it hadn't been for the last two His Name is Alive releases being so disappointing, I would have run out to get Ft. Lake as an import. Now, I'm hesitant to get it even when it's released in the U.S. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

It's true that the overall sound of this "band" (really Warren Defever's various projects) has dramatically changed in the last few releases. I think my favourites are Livonia and Mouth by Mouth—I wasn't very fond of the retread Beach Boys sound of Stars on E.S.P.. I do like the one song I've heard from Ft. Lake quite a lot, though, and will have to give that one a chance. (Neile)

They're just plain weird. But oh, how I love Home Is In Your Head. (burka@jeffrey.net)

Recommended first album:

Livonia, Mouth by Mouth

Recordings:

  • Livonia (1990)
  • Home is in your Head (1991)
  • Mouth by Mouth (1993)
  • King of Sweet (limited edition, 1993)
  • Stars on E.S.P. (1996)
  • Ft. Lake (1998)
  • Someday My Blues Will Cover The Earth (2001)
  • Detrola (2006)
  • Sweet Earth Flower: A Tribute To Marion Brown (2006)
  • The Eclipse (2010)
  • Cliff Bells Vanilla (digital, 2013 reissue of limited 2010 release)
  • Home Is (digital, 2013 reinterpretation of 1991 release, Home is in your Head)
  • Dragons Look Out Your Window (digital, 2013)
  • Patterns of Light (2016)

Livonia

Release info:

1990—Rykodisc/4AD—RCD 10244 (Ryko release)

Availability:

indie stores

Ecto priority:

Essential

Group members:

Warren Defever—guitars, basses, samples
Karin Oliver—vocals
Angie Carozzo—vocals

Guest artists:

Damian Lang—percussion
Jynn Auge—guitars
"Tracy"—bassoon

Produced by:

Warren Defever (?)

Comments:

The first one. dreamy tape loops. ideal for walking around town late at night. none of the harsh stuff that occasionally pops up in the latter releases. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Very calm and ethereal. It just floats through your speakers. (JLeonard@st.ceu.edu)


Home is in your Head

Release info:

1991—Rykodisc/4AD—CAD 1013 CD (4AD release)

Availability:

indie stores

Ecto priority:

essential

Group members:

Warren Defever—guitars, bass, samples
Karin Oliver—vocals, guitars
Melissa Eliott—guitars
Jynn Auge—guitar
Damian Lang—drums, percussion
Denise James—vocals

Comments:

The second one. still dreamy, but with some raspy guitar stuff here and there. the us release on ryko also includes the dirteaters ep (the dirteaters being another project of warren defever's which is more band-oriented than his name is alive). (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

My personal favorite. It varies in styles and is an epic of an album. The songs just meld into one another seeming to tell a story. (JLeonard@st.ceu.edu)

Home Is In Your Head is a desert island disc for me. (bye@humnet.ucla.edu)


Mouth By Mouth

Release info:

1993—4AD—9 45214-2

Availability:

indie stores

Ecto priority:

recommended

Group members:

Warren Defever—guitars, samples
Karin Oliver—vocals
Trey Many—drums

Guest artists:

Denise James—vocals
Karen Neal—vocals
Melissa Elliot—guitars
Chelle Marie—vocals
Elden M—noise, vocals
Damian Lang—drums

Comments:

The third and my fave (though not by much). this is more or less evenly split between his name is alive stuff and dirteater stuff. [dirteaters are a side project] probably the most compelling release of last year for me (well, excepting sarah mclachlan). (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Mouth by mouth was one of my favorite albums from last year. it is one of those albums that reverberated in my brain and soul from the first instance i heard it—a severe case of audio déjà vu. (woj@smoe.org)

This album is a bit harder than the rest but by no means any less impressive. It also varies in styles from loud guitars to what sounds like treated orchestra. (JLeonard@st.ceu.edu)

Very interesting textures. i still haven't any very clear impressions to divulge, but i think it's very mood dependent music for me...i imagine i'll like it a bunch in certain moods :) (damon)


King of Sweet

Release info:

1993—Perdition Plastics

Availability:

Limited pressing of 2,000—hard to locate now

Ecto priority:

High for His Name is Alive fans

Group members:

Karin Oliver—vocals
Jymn Auge—guitar
Melissa Elliott—vocals
Warren Defever—bass, guitar
Denise James—vocals
Karen Neal—vocals
Damian Lang—drums

Comments:

"Tracks compiled and assembled frm cass." Interesting stuff if you're a fan—lots of noisy noodling. I like it, or at least I like much of it. Definitely for fans and not good as an introduction to the band. (Neile)

Stars on E.S.P.

Release info:

1996—4AD—9 46207-2

Availability:

indie stores

Ecto priority:

recommended

Group members:

Warren Defever, Karin Oliver,...?—the booklet is useless in the usual 4AD fashion!

Comments:

Pretty great stuff. Some of it is a conscious effort to sound like '60s and '70s bands, especially the Beach Boys. (And yes, I think there is a theremin in there somewhere.) Not as quirky as earlier stuff, even Mouth by Mouth, and I'm sure some His Name Is Alive fans are quite upset but I think it's good. (cinnamon@one.net)

I prefer their earlier albums, but Stars on E.S.P. is the most fun by far!. (Violaine@juno.com)


Ft. Lake

Release info:

1998—4AD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for His Name is Alive fans

Group members:

Warren Defever
Karin Oliver, Lovetta Pippin—vocals
Chad Gilchrist—bass
Trey Many—drums
Scott Goldstein—drums

Comments:

While this album is a huge improvement over Stars on E.S.P. and especially the Nice Day EP, I still don't like it. I know I can't hope for a remake of Mouth by Mouth every time. But I just hate the direction HNIA is going. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Ft. Lake is quite good, but the new singer Lovetta is more of a soul stylist/r & b singer (she was heard a bit on Stars on E.S.P.)...Karin is also on it but more of a supporting role. I'd say folks are 50-50 on it. It's still got that trademark Warren stamp on it...a bit zany, not like anything else on the planet. I do like it, but my faves are the older stuff. (Violaine@juno.com)


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Entry last updated 2017-04-12 21:22:38.
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