CD: in analysis - mothers An album of real-life stories celebrates Mother's Day
Looking to the 'net to help fund a project is nothing new. Getting strangers to help with the actual creative process, though, is still pretty novel. It's what David Schweitzer's In Analysis project does. Schweitzer is best known for children's TV scores, like Charlie and Lola. Now he and collaborator Mary Richards have created a virtual analyst's couch. Visitors to their website were invited to anonymously submit personal stories, on the theme of mothers, which Schweitzer then turned into songs. The album comprises 11 tales of people's experiences of the person who brought them into the world.
Musically, the overall feel is poppy, catchy and full of positive emotion. Ma
ybe that's not surprising given Schweitzer's musical background. But it would be a mistake to think this album is just full of primary colours. Schweitzer's Neil Hannon-like baritone tackles a number of genres, and the subject matter is dealt with skilfully. Guest vocalists also appear throughout.
The stories range from the dark to the whimsical: "Mother #24" is dying and her child hasn't long to repair their relationship. "Mother #47", however, mainly needs IT help. The most stirring tale comes from the 33rd mother, the "Survivor". She's a childhood refugee from a number of brutal regimes behind the Iron Curtain. When the soft-rock chorus declares "the things my mother did would make your hair stand on end", it's genuinely affecting.
The guest singers each bring a little of their own spirit. Jon Boden's (Bellowhead) quintessentially folky voice tells the story of a mother whose dreams are eroded by the hard realities of life. It's full of bittersweet empathy. At the other end of the scale is the cold electronica of "Mother #09" where Asta Olga Magnusdottir reads a poem describing a powerful Nordic woman who protects her offspring against the cold and the dark.
It's not just musically that In Analysis is satisfying but conceptually too (future albums will have different themes). These days we can't get enough of real people's experiences. What better way to finish off a week that sees International Women's Day and Mother's Day, than with a celebration of the motherhood in all its various guises.