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Miranda Sex Garden


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Alternative, ethereal, Gothic, industrial, experimental (first album early English madrigals).

Status:

The most recent album, Carnival of Souls (2000)

See also:

The official Miranda Sex Garden site

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Mediæval Bæbes, a side project of member(s) of Miranda Sex Garden

Comparisons:

Can't think of a direct comparison, but there are echoes of many industrial, goth and experimental bands who possibly were themselves influenced by the band. (afries@zip.com.au)

Sometimes sounds like Renaissance in their more Gothic moments, but they're far more extremely experimental (particularly in their later releases). (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own material; traditional English madrigals on the first album, Madra

General comments:

Miranda Sex Garden definitely does not belong to the "easy listening" category, but their vocals are fantastic and the music is interesting as well. (jbr@casetech.dk)

They are definitely an acquired taste. I have to be in the right mood to play them. Their sound is harsh and often dissonant yet melodic. Unlike anything else. I love iris but I wasn't fond of the madrigals or of their later stuff (an interesting listen once or twice but I stopped playing Suspiria and eventually sold it). Strange to love a band for just a brief moment in their career, but I guess that's better than just liking one or two songs, which happens with me a lot, too. (Neile)

Note that their first CD was DRASTICALLY different from all their later albums! (afries@zip.com.au)

I'd heard a lot of good things about Miranda Sex Garden, but their albums have never clicked for me. The first one with madrigals gets old fast, and is kind of flat. And their later work never seems to gel into anything that works for me. But I immediately liked what the Mediæval Bæbes were doing. Took the best elements of the various stages of Miranda Sex Garden and built off of them in a way that seemed fresh and alive. (neal)

Yes, Miranda Sex Garden are great for the piercing highs...Katherine Blake has been a big influence on my style...now Miranda Sex Garden and Mediæval Bæbes move me nigh to tears...good gracious. (John.Drummond)

Recommended first album:

Suspiria

Recordings:


Madra

Release info:

1991—Mute Records

Ecto priority:

Recommended only if you like madrigals or feel like something completely different!

Availability:

Now rather hard to find

Group members:

Katharine Blake—vocals
Kelly McCusker—vocals
Jocelyn West—vocals

Comments:

This album contains 25 traditional madrigals (mostly from around 1600) in absolutely stunning a cappella arrangements. Listening to the entire album in one session takes quite a bit of effort, though. If your hi-fi system can handle this, it can handle anything. (jbr@casetech.dk)

What I love the most about the remixes on the "Gush Forth My Tears" single is the mix between the old and new without destroying the feel of the song itself just adding an extra dimension to it. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)


Iris (EP)

Release info:

1992—Mute Records (U.K. and Europe)—MUTE 9 61277-2, Elektra (U.S.)

Availability:

Now rather hard to find

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for those who don't mind harsh harmonies

Group members:

Kelly McCusker—vocals, violin, organ
Katharine Blake—vocals, violin, percussion
Donna McKevitt—vocals, viola
Ben Golomstock—guitars, organ, bass, vocals
Trevor Sharpe—drums, percussion, bass

Comments:

This is my favourite of theirs, especially because of their version of "Lovely Joan" which starts as a traditional folk song and becomes something else entirely. Later songs take strange flights, sometimes sounding a little like Renaissance, or '70s rock stars incorporating classical music for push rock in a new (then) Gothic direction. (Neile)

Unfortunately. :( :( :( I hate it when a group that I used to like a lot suddenly do a u-turn and start to really annoy me. They should have changed their name, in my opinion. I bet a lot of people who bought Iris got a really unpleasant surprise! At least I got to hear it at the radio station before I wasted any money on it. Feh. Madra is the only Miranda Sex Garden album I can stand.(meth@smoe.org)

personally, i think that is their crucial release, both from an artistic and consumer perspective. with iris, they went from the madrigals of their first record to their current, noisier and harsher sound. iris is the bridge between, and since it's a short and cheap ep, this allows the consumer to figure out if they really want to buy the rest of miranda sex garden's catalog. a win-win situation! (ack! someone shoot me for using corporatebuzzspeak!). (woj@smoe.org)


Suspiria

Release info:

1993—Mute Records/Elektra

Availability:

Now rather hard to find

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for those who don't mind harsh harmonies

Group members:

Kelly McCusker—vocals, violin, organ
Katharine Blake—vocals, violin, percussion
Donna McKevitt—vocals, viola
Ben Golomstock—guitars, organ, bass, vocals
Trevor Sharpe—drums, percussion, bass

Backing musicians

Andrew Blick—trumpet
Sarah Cole—flute, piccolo
Dale—cello, strings
Nick Etheridge—tuba
Rupert Price—trombone
Helen Sidey—clarinet
Antony Wilson—mandolin
Chris Wilson—bass

Comments:

This goes on where Iris leaves off. A little of this goes a long way for me. (Neile)

a couple of years ago, I listened to a Miranda Sex Garden CD at a listening station, based on ecto recommendations, but I didn't like it at all. I'm not sure if it was just a vastly different album or if my tastes have evolved, but I *love* this CD. It has a medieval feel to it that I really like. (kamesan@geocities.com)

The first listen or two of Suspiria didn't do a lot for me (except for the track "Sunshine", which is one of the most glorious"wall o' guitar noise" songs this side of My Bloody Valentine) but one evening I listened to the whole album very LOUD, and quite frankly, it scared the HELL out of me...but in a GOOD way. Don't know what it is, but there's something spooky going on there. (ecurrent@sizone.jaywon.pci.on.ca)

Miranda Sex Garden Suspiria Wow. Once I really got into this album (read: I listened to it once while at school and decided that it was so good that I spent the next few days with it) I realized what a gem it really is. Wonderful stuff! (MIHARKI@indsvax1.indstate.edu)


Fairytales of Slavery

Release info:

1994—Mute Records/Elektra

Availability:

Good indie stores

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for those who don't mind harsh harmonies

Group members:

Katharine Blake—vocals, recorder, glockenspiel, piano
Donna McKevitt—vocals, viola
Ben Golomstock—guitars, keyboards
Trevor Sharpe—drums, percussion

Guest musicians:

Hepzibah Sessa—keyboards
Kim Fahey—bass, guitar
Andrew Blick—trumpet

Comments:

Miranda Sex Garden continues in the same vein as on Suspiria, but it is more quirky, and it isn't all doom and gloom. They maintain their position as my favourite band with this wonderful blend of fuzz guitars, drums, violins and recorder. On top of it all vocal harmonies (just as important are the disharmonies) which can change into shrieks at any moment. Soul-wrenching stuff, even if you don't listen to the lyrics. They're just brilliant. If you have a penchant for noise and female voices, you'll love this. (kjetilho@ifi.uio.no)

Carnival of Souls

Release info:

2000—sugarDaddy

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Miranda Sex Garden fans

Group members:

Katharine, Ben, Trevor, Teresa, Barney, Mike

Produced by:

Nigel Shaman

Comments:

It's great—very much in the line of Fairytales of Slavery (and very non-madrigalish). (jjhanson@att.net)


Thanks to Andrew Fries for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2009-01-03 22:12:51.
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