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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

The Crying Light is Antony and the Johnsons' third studio album and the follow-up to the band's widely-acclaimed second LP, I Am a Bird Now. The album was released on January 19, 2009, and preceded by lead single, "Another World", released through Secretly Canadian. The Crying Light features orchestrated string arrangements by Antony and Nico Muhly. The album's cover artwork features a 1977 photograph of famed butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, by Naoya Ikegami. Antony said of the image: "The Crying Light is dedicated to the great dancer Kazuo Ohno. In performance I watched him cast a circle of light upon the stage, and step into that circle, and reveal the dreams and reveries of his heart. He seemed to dance in the eye of something mysterious and creative; with every gesture he embodied the child and the feminine divine. He's kind of like my art parent." Antony and the Johnsons is a Mercury Prize-winning music act from New York City. One theme explored in the band's music is aspects of transgender life. This is expressed in songs such as "For Today I am a Boy", in which a young boy dreams of growing up to be a woman. Antony appeared as a prison inmate, performing an acoustic version of the song "The Rapture" in Steve Buscemi's movie Animal Factory. He also made an appearance in the Sebastian Lifshitz movie Wild Side performing the song "I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy". In the Wachowski brothers' screen adaptation of V for Vendetta, the main characters dance to Antony's "Bird Gerhl" from I am a Bird Now as it plays on V's illicit Wurlitzer. Antony gave a break-out performance in the 2006 concert documentary, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a star-studded tribute to Leonard Cohen that was later released on DVD along with an accompanying soundtrack. Antony's interpretation of "If It Be Your Will" was considered one of the highlights of the show. Antony is also involved in visual art outside of music. Their early live shows were often opened by Dr. Julia Yasuda, an intersex person,
who performed the welcome in Morse code.

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