Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Victory! (sorta!)

(Listening to: the Astros game. And weeping.)

You may or may not remember, but a few months ago I made a couple of posts concerning the lost Fiona Apple album, Extraordinary Machine. Now comes the news that the record will indeed finally be released to the general public on October 4.

Now, here's the weird part. The songs I heard back in March were recordings produced by musical genius Jon Brion, whose work as a composer you may know from Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, or I Heart Huckabees. Brion also produced Fiona's masterwork, When the Pawn.... But according to the press release -- which makes no reference to the leaked tracks or the "Free Fiona" campaign -- this album is produced by Mike Elizondo, who's worked mostly in hip-hop, with Dr. Dre and Eminem. (I recognized his name, though, primarily because he played bass and co-wrote a few tracks on Poe's spectacular album Haunted. As it turns out, he also played bass on When the Pawn....)

So, clearly, Madam Apple went back into the studio and rerecorded the whole album. And she clearly decided to do this very recently -- after all, if she was working on it when the big mess happened last winter, someone would have mentioned it to quell the protests, wouldn't they? And I wonder why the very good work with Brion was discarded, though I'm reading that everyone -- Sony, Epic, even Fiona -- was unhappy with the original production. I'll grant that it was certainly bizarre and non-commercial.

I don't know whether the new producer thing is good or bad, and can't know until I hear it. But there's apparently a new track, called "Parting Gift," and any Fiona is generally good Fiona.

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