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Emiliana Torrini


Country of origin:

Iceland

Type of music generally:

Ectronica, alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Emiliana Torrini & the Colorist Orchestra (with the Colorist Orchestra, 2016)

See also:

Emiliana Torrini's site

Emiliana Torrini's Facebook page

Wikipedia's entry for Emiliana Torrini

Comparisons:

Her vocals remind me of a cross between Björk and Beth Gibbons from Portishead...very cool music too. I'd recommend her to any Björk/Portishead fan. (sgriffes@umich.edu)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Emiliana is from Iceland, and is the voice singing "Gollum's Song" during the closing credits of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (candre@enteract.com)

Emiliana Torrini is only part Icelandic, hence her Italian sounding name. She's a female singer-songwriter, for lack of a better title, and not that dissimilar to Björk vocally, but more accessible music wise. (robettridge@hotmail.com)

She seems pretty intriguing. A little poppy for my taste, but with enough quirks to make it still interesting. (neal)

Recommended first album:

Me And Armini is her best so far

Recordings:


Love in the Time of Science

Release info:

1999—One Little Indian Records—34 Trinity Crescent, London SW17 7AE, UK

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emiliana Torrini

Guest artists:

Siggi Baldursson—drums, percussion (3, 7, 9)
Clive Deamer—drums, percussion (3)
Roland Orzabal—programming, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
Alan Griffiths, Eg White, Mark O'Donoughue—programming, keyboards, guitar
Johann G. Johannsson—keyboard (8)

Produced by:

Roland Orzabal and Alan Griffiths

Comments:

Let me add to the emerging voices who recommend Emiliana Torrini. Her Love in the time of science was one of my top 3 albums of last year. The CD player software that I use at work tells me that I've played this album 22 times (and I still love it :) Check her out if you have the chance! (klaus.kluge@gmx.de)

a veritable Musical Orgasm. (johnny.reece@virgin.net)

Love in the time of science is quite nice. Everyone calls her Björklite basically because she is from Iceland and has the same accent as Björk. She's constantly bugged by this and in interviews her response is usually "you know, if you go to Iceland you will find that there is a whole country who has my accent." Though she definitely has a bit of a Björk feel in her voice, and the electronic bleeps are all over her album, she does tend to avoid the histrionics and drama of Björk which either irritate or make you love Björk. I happen to love the drama, but find that Emiliana is quite a nice relief. The album is produced by Roland Orzabal—the guy behind Tears for Fears, so that should give you an idea of what it sounds like. A mix of latter-day Tears for Fears and Björk. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Debut album of the 21-year old daughter of an Icelandic woman and an Italian. Roland Orzabal and Alan Griffiths from Tears for Fears produced the album, played most of the instruments and wrote two of the songs. Emiliana sounds like Björk in her (Björk's) quieter songs. (Dirk.Kastens@rz.Uni-Osnabrueck.DE)

Another 1999 album found in 2000 that should have made last year's best-of]list. (Gordoja@aol.com)

Icelandic, and vocally reminiscent of Björk...sometimes disconcertingly so. No matter, there are a whole stack of beautiful tracks on offer...with some utterly gorgeous tunes. (jason.maloney@virgin.net)

Her album is good in a poppier version of Björk sort of a way. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

I really like it—but it may be a bit poppy for some people's tastes.
     Imagine a milder version of Björk, crossed with Stina Nordenstam's voice, produced by Tears for Fears with sort of their writing style (Roland Orzabal produced the album).
     It's pretty poppy but interesting. (jjhanson@att.net)


Fisherman's Woman

Release info:

2005—Rough Trade Records—RTA30055-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emiliana Torrini—vocals, bellows, creaks, korg

Guest artists:

Dan Carey—guitars, organ, pedal steel, Wurlitzer, bass, melodica, piano, glockenspiel, shakers, tabla, bazooki
Julian Joseph—piano
Samuli Koskinen—drums, percussion
Pharoah S. Russell—drums (8)

Produced by:

Dan Carey

Comments:

Fisherman's Woman is very good. Acoustic, almost delicate. Her voice is reminiscent of Björk's in a broken-bird sort of way. (I know she's always getting those comparisons because they're both from Iceland, but her voice really has always reminded me of Björk's.) Musically, though, there's no comparison, unlike Emiliana's debut, Love in the Time of Science, which very strongly reminded me of Björk. Here the mood is like a walk outside on an early autumn day. Or maybe it's just the artwork that makes me think of that. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Fisherman's Woman is more acoustic but still excellent. (paul2k@aol.com)

This one snuck up on me. I didn't expect to find it so lovely. (Neile)


Me And Armini

Release info:

2008—Rough Trade—rtradCD 285

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Emiliana Torrini

Guest artists:

Not listed

Produced by:

Dan Carey (one track by Eg White and Dan Carey)

Comments:

This is one that's very difficult to me to describe its appeal, though it is really appealing. It's mostly low key like Fisherman's Woman is, but has a couple of intense tracks ("Gun", wow). Her best album yet. (Neile)

An honorable mention for the best of the year. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

Emiliana, where the hell did this come from? Your first albums weren't released outside Iceland and the debut isn't even on (the nevertheless amazing) Always On The Run. Love in the Time of Science was uneven, if excellent for a few songs—OK, mainly one song, "Telepathy". (That's "excellent" as contrasted with "just good," not "excellent" as contrasted with "crap". This is a best-of list, not a worst-of list.) And then with Fisherman's Woman you took all that and turned it into placid acoustic guitar music that gets played on Grey's Anatomy. I wrote you off.
     So where the hell did this come from? This is exciting again. This is inventive again. This is something I'm excited to pull up on my shuffle and don't feel compelled to switch in the first 10 seconds. Songs like the title track and "Dead Duck" and "Ha Ha," to name a few, actually make impressions. The center of the album, in particular, has a three-song sequence which in itself would qualify it for best-of status. You have "Jungle Drum," which starts out as a gleeful, if pastiche-y love song, but with undertones of mania: the key, the electronic flourishes that scribble in and out of the background. It doesn't take long for the undertones to become overtones, then to take over the song entirely. The lyrics, which sound a bit twee on paper, make perfect sense taken in the context of the song: infatuation, at double speed, and gloriously trying. And then the very next words after that song are "Hold, heart, don't beat so loud." Maybe I shouldn't pull it up on shuffle after all. But that song's a lead-up, really, to "Gun". What can I say about this? It's a slow burner, a builder, but one that creeps slowly from 1 to 3 without—crucially, without—reaching a climax. You expect it to explode. She's done explosions. Every so often there's a yelp or snap after some lyrics to remind the listener of the prospect. But the absolutely genius thing here is that all the elements that'd normally come roaring in stay muted: the wailing guitars, the synths, the rest of it—are barely audible, in the background. Everything's gloriously understated, and then you remember that this is a song about murder. The lyrics, unlike the music, do build; the dissonance between their nastiness (example: "Your kids keep telling jokes that ain't that funny, and you've failed in everything comes to mind") and the restrained music makes the track. (lotterose @ gmail . com)


Tookah

Release info:

2013—Rough Trade

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Too short, but a great follow-up to Me And Armini. "Speed of Dark," "Autumn Sun," and "Animal Games" are outstanding tracks. (dbucak@yahoo.com)

One of the best albums of the year. (timjy@sbcglobal.net, stjarnell@yahoo.com)

My thought upon my first few listens was 'sadly, this doesn't really do anything for me.' It's grown on me since then, but I still don't find it nearly as engaging as Me And Armini or even Fisherman's Woman. "Animal Games" is a great track though. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The new Emiliana Torrini doesn't do anything for me, either, but I wish it would since I enjoyed her three previous albums, particularly Fisherman's Woman. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Further info:

Emiliana was formerly in a band called Spoon. There seem to be several rare albums including Merman and Rarities. She has recorded with Thievery Corporation and appears on the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-12-10 21:03:05.
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