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Sarah Fimm


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative ethereal ectronica

Status:

Most recent release, Potnia Theron (2016)

See also:

Sarah Fimm's site

CD Baby's Sarah Fimm page

Comparisons:

Sarah McLachlan vocally, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Ruby, Kristin Hersh

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

The first time I heard the word 'fuck' in a pop song was The Pretenders' eponymous debut, where Chrissie Hynde utters *that word* in a her slick, too-cool-to-care vibrato. She imbued 'fuck' with magic power. Subsequently, the word has lost some of its power in pop music. Hynde was quoted once, saying something to the effect that you'd be hard-pressed *not* to find to find a pop artist that uses it. It's an easy way to gain an edge.
     Sarah Fimm, a New York-based artist (band?) *loves* the word fuck. It is sprinkled liberally throughout her songs, and in the samples that she uses. Her utterances don't have the power of Hynde's groundbreaking use of the word. However, it's an honest use of the word, and contextually makes sense. She has found "the tao of Fuck." True, there's a bit of shock value: Ms. Fimm has a beautiful voice that reminds one of Sarah McLachlan, one that belies her dark imagination, and her pottymouth. Her lyrics are fanciful, barbed confessionals, in which no stone—rage, humor, pain, and sex—is unturned. All of her songs are drenched in a stream-of-conciousness poetry, full of pulp horror imagery, crude jokes, slang, and sly references to mythology. Imagine Kate Bush hanging out in Soho with Patti Smith, you might get the idea.
     Fimm's compositions are piano-based, with forays into spacy ambient, dubby triphop, and an occasionally nod to the swampy alternarock of Smashing Pumpkins. The triphop band Ruby is a good reference point. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

I love nexus. her earlier two are less even to my ear, but also good. all quite different, and getting progressively mellower (from not very mellow at all through semi-mellow to the wonderfully mellow of nexus). (damon)

Recommended first album:

Any

Recordings:

  • Cocooned (2001)
  • A Perfect Dream (2002)
  • Nexus (2004)
  • White Birds (ep, 2009)
  • Red Yellow Sun (2009)
  • The Vanishing Sessions (B-Sides, Pt. I) (compilation, 2009)
  • Near Infinite Possibility (2011)
  • Barn Sessions (download-only EP, 2012)
  • Disappear (Live Acoustic) (single, 2013)
  • Ant on a Wire (single, 2014)
  • Adaquarium (instrumental, 2016)
  • Potnia Theron (2016)

Cocooned

Release info:

2001—self-released—SL5361

Availability:

See Sarah Fimm's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Fimm—lead vocals, piano, b-3, synth

Guest artists:

Pete Geraghy—bass
Mac Ritchey—guitar, bass, percussion, synth, programming, sampling
Josh—Florian—drums
Burt Feintuch—Northumbrian smallpipes
Dylan Dea—violin
Ruth Fortey, Rebekah Mcalister, Clove Cronmiller, Laura Clapp—backing vocals

Produced by:

Sarah Fimm and Mac Ritchey

Comments:

Strong, edgy piano-based songs with a Gothic sensibility. We have songs such "Scream", "Valhalla", etc. They are very well-constructed musically, full of interesting sounds, which is especially impressive for a debut album, and show a wide range, from the loud, raunchy "Sexual Animals" to the stripped-down ballad, "Sets Us Apart" to the two instrumentals. My favourite song is the quirky and bleak "Red Paper Bag". (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

A Perfect Dream

Release info:

2002—self-released—SF12232012

Availability:

See Sarah Fimm's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Fimm—lead vocals, keys, synth

Guest artists:

Peter Geraghty—bass, synth programming
Jim Perry—drums, synth programming
Mac Ritchey—hand percussion, synt programming, guitar
Dana Oaks—trumpet
Michelle Lane—sax
Beth Cohen—tanbur

Produced by:

Sarah Fimm, Mac Ritchey, Peter Geraghty, and Jim Perry

Comments:

One of the predominate themes on this album is of self-loathing. The narrator(s) of "Smoke", "Be Like Water" and "Virus" are introspective misfits, "holding the charred remains of the last dirty joke." They are uncomfortable in the world at large, as well as uncomfortable in their own skin. The song-cycle forms a wonderful exploration of female rage, not unlike of the work of Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses). The frank sexuality of Hynde is evoked in the whispered "Lioness" is predatory; you can see her licking her jowls of the blood, after purring in the sunlit veldt. My favorite song, "Spit Trap Ghetto," is loungey hot jazz; in it, she catalogs the eccentricities of a bunch of beautiful losers as saxes wail and Monster-Mash rhythm plays. Beauty and the beast live side by side in these songs; in Fimm's world, Beauty's gown is tattered, and the Beast is a wimp. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

Nexus

Release info:

2004—self-released

Availability:

See Sarah Fimm's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Fimm—vocals, electric piano, synth, synth bass, piano, rhodes, wurlitzer, b3, string arrangement

Guest artists:

Jim Perry—drums, drum programming, programming, synth, percussion, taiko drums, crystal bowl
Peter Geraghty—bass, drum programming, programming, synth, drums
Dan Fimm—b3, piano (one track)
Peter Bucknell—violin, viola (two tracks)
Felix Fan—cello (three tracks)
Mac Ritchey—congas, percussion (five tracks)
Hiro Kurashima—taiko drums (two tracks)

Produced by:

Lance McVickar, Sarah Fimm, Peter Geraghty & Jim Perry

Comments:

One of the best of 2004. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Sarah Fimm's mix of post 9/11 existenital angst, ethereal piano/ vocals and burbling downtempo electronica is perfect for the ecto crowd. While you wait for Happy Rhodes to release her next CD, try Sarah's Nexus. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

nexus is great. the lyrics seem a bit weak in places (though honestly i haven't paid a lot of attention) but the music and the general feel of it are wonderful...quite dreamy and dark with a great groove. (damon)


Red Yellow Sun

Release info:

2009—self-released

Availability:

See Sarah Fimm's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Fimm—vocals, piano

Guest artists:

Elaine Caswell—vocals (1)
Neal Coomer—vocals (1)
David Baron—keyboards (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Jerry Marotta—drums (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10), percussion (3)
Mike Visceglia—bass (1, 3, 4, 8)
Larry Saltzman—guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 10)
Dorothy Lawson—cello (2, 11)
Imani Winds (2, 6, 11)
     Jon Manasse—bass clarinet
     Matt Fields—double bass
     Valerie Coleman—flute
     Stuart Rose—French horn
     Toyin Spellman—oboe
Hugh Wilson—vocals (3)
Pete Geraghty—castanets (3), bass (6)
Pete Murphy—vocals (4)
Leigh Nash—vocals (4, 8)
John Andrews—guitar (4, 6, 7, 9)
Fames Macedonian Orchestra (4, 8)
Cindy Mizelle—vocals (5)
Tawatha Agee-vocals (5)
Brett Bass—bass (5)
Ben Butler—guitar (5)
Alexander Lipowski—percussion (6, 11)
Darrett Adkins-cello (6, 11)
Chris Gross—cello (6)
Peter Donovan—double bass (6, 11)
Gregg August—double bass (6)
Dov Scheindlin—viola (6, 11)
Kenji Bunch—viola (6)
Liuh-Wen Ting—viol (6, 11)
Cornelius Dufallo, Katherine Fong, Vesselin Gellev, Victor Schultz, Antoine Silverman, Krystof Witek, Amy Kauffman—violins (6, 11)
Eriko Sato-Oei, Katharine C. Kresek, Rock S. Dolan—violins (6)
Tony Levin—bass (7)
Marcus Parsley—trumpet (7)
Paul Bushnell—bass (10)

Produced by:

David Baron and Sarah Fimm

Comments:

Sarah Fimm's new album continues a never-broken string of excellent records with some fabulous songs. The orchestral sweep of opener "Horizon" sees Fimm sing like an angelic yet haunted presence. It's like an improved version of Sarah McLachlan's recent work. "Maryjane" is dark and lovely, Fimm singing at the top of her game to a haunting tune about a lonely woman. "To be alive" is an intriguing jazzy vamp, with some intriguing lyrics. Fimm's vocals are as precise as ever and the tune is great. This is a marvelous record. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Barn Sessions

Release info:

2012

Availability:

CD Baby

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Fimm—vocals, piano, guitar

Guest artists:

Loudboy—vocals (2)

Comments:

A digital-only, five-song acoustic ep of covers and re-imagined originals. I was particularly taken by the urgent "Everything Becomes Whole" (an acoustic version of a track from 2011's Near Infinite Possibility, which works so much more powerfully for me here) and also really like the mournful "Sycamore Trees." Her stripped-down, impassioned cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," is also intriguing. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)


Thanks to Damon, Sophia Gurley, and Anna Maria Stjärnell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-06-04 19:23:18.
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