One would be hard-pressed to think of a more quintessential go-to artisan for dynamic and progressive new music than Lisa Papineau. She began her performance career in experimental theatre and has since amassed a body of work that spans albums, film soundtracks, art installations, dance and theater productions, narration and producing, but is best known for her own mold-breaking voice – which Tori Amos once declared to have “…the power of Bon Scott and yet the lyricalness in the voice of a reed instrument.” Papineau can possess an unmistakably hushed yet still-beating heart-in-hand vocal style or tear screams from the same breath. One may even know her voice before they know her name, as we almost couldn’t keep track of her prolific collaborations with, among them, Air, M83, Jun Miyake, Halo Orbit, Jam Da Silva, Anubian Lights, her appearances on the (Academy Award nominated) film Pina, Watchman, Super and Crow II soundtracks, as well as her own projects, Big Sir (her long running project with bassist Juan Alderete) Pet (with composer Tyler Bates) and her eponymous group.
On her fourth solo record, Oh Dead On Oh Love, Papineau has created an aural canvas of lush but quietly unsettling arrangements: strings, brass, woodwinds, and other traditional instrumentation fuse organically with ambient tones. Vocal harmonies reminiscent of 70s FM radio super groups twine seamlessly through percussive vocalizations, haunting Yma Sumac or Meredith Monk-like swells unravel into plaintive shouts. “While writing, I could see the physical landscape of each song plainly,” Papineau explains, “…an image in the mind’s eye versus a particular chord… it took some time sitting alone in the woods to figure out how they translated sonically. And how all these fleeting images pulled together into one panorama.”
After fleshing out the world of the album, Papineau was able, to her great joy and contentment, to collaborate with many longtime musical partners: Tyler Bates, Jam Da Silva, Juan Alderete, Matthew Embree, and Koool G Murder to name a few. The album artwork is by renowned visual artist Andrea Mastrovito, who also provided the cover for her album Red Trees. “It is always a bit frightening for me each time I crawl out from the rock I’ve been hiding under, holding on a little too tight to my fistful of songs… but the experience of once again working with people I love, people who are hysterically fun but whose drive and creativity also push me, makes the coming together of everything on this record a true gift.”