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Jen Gloeckner Goes Soph

01/21/2010
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Eccentric Midwestern songstress Jen Gloeckner releases sophomore album this Spring. Mouth of Mars is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed One Little Indian debut Miles Away. This sophomore effort was recorded at her own Hazy Sky Studio in Dubuque, IA with additional recording by Brian McTear and Amy Morrissey at Miner Street Recordings, Philadelphia. The album was mixed by Brian McTear and produced by Jen Gloeckner and McTear; special guests include Joseph Arthur, cellist Helena Espvall (Espers), violin player Joel Zifkin (Rufus Wainwright), bassist Lisa Umbarger (Toadies) as well as McTear and Amy Morrissey (Bitter Bitter Weeks).

MOJO Music Magazine has described Gloeckner's sound as "spell-weaving.different, dark, ethereal, funky; an alluring big-sky, small-room mystery." The new album is an instinct-driven exploration of primal emotion, where minimal lyrics and layers of sound evoke a universal, gut-level knowledge of desire, separation, and the sacred connection of souls. Jen depicts the human condition through sound-raw, dirty, brutal, healing, serene, and holy all at once.

Gloeckner draws artistic inspiration from moods and images that she receives in dreams, and listeners discern a mythical, collective-unconsciousness underlying her music -songs that can be as daunting as the darkest nightmares and as redemptive as purest desire. At times Jen comes across as a fearsome seductress-cruelly masculine in her lyrical directness and often aggressive, driving rhythms, then delicate and weak with longing as a Victorian lady taking to her fainting couch. As on Miles Away, Mouth of Mars achieves impressive coherence in the masterful balance of the opposites it embraces.

Jen's adoptive parents recognized her music talents at a very early age and she began piano lessons at age 7. By 12, she composed her first songs after discovering the Beatles and spending hour after hour singing along with pop radio hits. Gloeckner began writing seriously a few years later, having been given her first acoustic guitar as a birthday gift and drawing inspiration from the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. She soon transformed a spare bedroom into a home studio and began recording with help from friend and engineer Laird Scott.

Her self-released debut received significant airplay in the U.S. and Europe and an enormous amount of critical praise which led to its European release through One Little Indian (home to Bjork, Alabama 3, The Shaman and A.R. Kane among others). Eventually other musicians started hearing the record and seeking to collaborate with the bi-racial songstress. In 2006, the since-deceased Hector Zazou (Bjork, Suzanne Vega, John Cale, Jane Birkin, etc.) traveled from France to Jen's home studio to capture her lead vocals for an ambitious remodeling of the French chestnut "O'Biche Oh Ma Biche." The following year, Joseph Arthur heard her music on Myspace, struck up a friendship and offered to contribute backing vocals to her then work-in-progress. Record producer, Brian McTear (Apollo Sunshine, BC Camplight, Danielson, Woven Hand, etc.) heard the debut and offered to mix her new material, also introducing Gloeckner to cellist Helena Espvall (Vashti Bunyan, Bert Jansch, Espers), who gladly accepted the offer to play on several songs. Canadian electric violinist Joel Zifkin (Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Elvis Costello, etc.) also contributed to tracks on the new record.??

Gloeckener continues to write and record music from her home on the shores of the Mississippi; the river cuts through the heart of the America geographically, while she does so artistically. From little room to big sky and back again.


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