The other day, I turned on the WGN morning news to be greeted by a pink-haired, corset-clad violinist and her bandmates singing a version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I was glued to the TV. In a day of cookie-cutter pop music, this was certainly nothing I’d ever seen before. I had missed the beginning of the segment, but I did catch the name of the artist – Emilie Autumn, and her girl band, the Bloody Crumpets. She and her band put on a crazy show, but despite the theatrics, they’re actually good musicians. Here’s some info from her website:
Courtney Love’s “anarchy violinist” returns to the stage and is keeping the spotlight all to herself. With appearances on Leno and Letterman, glossy magazine covers, and guest spots on the albums of such artists as Love, Otep, Billy Corgan, and TV’s “Metalocalypse,” under her corset strings, Emilie Autumn’s devilishly dark lyrics, metal-shredding violin solos, and industrial-strength voice reinvent “gothic” for the masses, and goths have never had so much fun.
According to www.allmusic.com, Autumn started reading notes before learning the alphabet, and by the age of four, she was playing the violin. She toured across Europe and North America, but grew bored of formal education before she became a teenager. She attended the well-respected Colburn school of performing arts by age 10, where she befriended famed violinist Nigel Kennedy. Under his guidance, she experimented with an improvisational playing style with piano and violin. She studied literature, history, art, as well as medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. She then briefly attended the music program at Indiana University but did not stay. Autumn went on to form a Renaissance rock group. In 1997, she issued a compilation of classical arrangements, On a Day: Music for Violin and Continuo. Autumn released her first full-length album, Enchant, in 2002.
Autumn’s latest album, Opheliac, will be released on October 27 by The End Records. Here’s info about the album from the website:
… as the sole composer, performer, and producer of her latest full-length album, the double disc “Opheliac,” EA gets personal. Written in the style she calls “Victoriandustrial,” this magnificent musical adventure draws upon EA’s background as a child-prodigy classical violinist growing up on the stages of concert halls around the world, and combines it with her passion for harsh industrialism, aggressive metal, and all things Vaudeville. The subject matter of this elaborate concept album is much darker however, bravely and often humorously addressing highly controversial issues ranging from manic depression (the harpsichord-driven title track as well as the contagiously danceable “Swallow” and the epic “Misery Loves Company“), self-mutilation (“Liar,” a terrifying decent into hell), and sexual abuse (“Gothic Lolita“) to suicide (the beautifully ironic “The Art of Suicide“), and touching on EA’s real-life experience as a psych ward inmate (the tragically funny “Thank God I’m Pretty,” from the “Opheliac — Deluxe Edition” Bonus Disc)
I read this great quote recently which said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Rather than trying to explain Autumn’s performance in words, I’ll let you check it out for yourself.