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Regina Spektor|Home, before and after

Home, before and after

Regina Spektor

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Listening to Regina Spektor's music is like having a one-on-one conversation with someone who not only knows her own mind but is constantly reexamining her feelings while connecting with larger overarching truths through the smallest, most intimate details of everyday life. Six years have passed since Spektor's last album, and given that she was also pregnant while recording this new one, it was almost a sure thing that her pandemic album was going to be a powerful ringer. Even measured against her previous catalog of uniformly appealing, inventive albums, Home, before and after is bursting with creative energies. Opening with alternating notes on piano, "Loveology" is Spektor at her playful, melodic best. The same holds true for the rhythmic echo pop of "SugarMan" where she coos the wonderful second couplet: "I'm not your doll/ I'm not your pet/ But I'm not my own/ Ever since we met." The Bronx, New York-raised Spektor salutes her hometown in the album's first single, "Becoming All Alone," which settles into an engaging mid-tempo groove, swinging between unadorned piano and voice and sweeping string/horn/synth orchestrations with backing vocals from her husband Jack Dishel. The urgent "Up the Mountain" gallops along over undulating strings, slowing near the middle, before revealing the key verse: "On the mountain there's a forest/ In the forest there's a garden/ In the garden there's a flower/ In the flower there's a nectar/ In the nectar there's an answer /In that answer there's another." Three lines in "Raindrops" sum up her powers of observation: "Round each corner there's a chance/ People searching glance to glance/ Moving about real fast like insects and fish when they're scared." It's clear that Spektor's songwriting has been super-charged in the years since her last record, nowhere more evident than in the 8-minute plus mini-symphony-opera-performance piece, "Spacetime Fairytale." Backed by a lush, momentous orchestral arrangement from Jherek Bischoff, Spektor plays piano and sings that while there's no such thing as time "This world began outside of time/ Some days it's yours, some days it's mine/ Some days it's cruel, some days it's kind/ It just can't stay the same." Before a percussive tap dance interlude by Caleb Teicher, she returns to a more intimate reflection on time, "My mind is full of melodies/ They search for homes inside of me/ Like begging, pleading refugees/ But I can't find the time." Producer John Congleton, who is making a specialty of working with talented female singer-songwriters (Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent), adds structure, tempos and a weighty synth presence to everything.  He also functions as the band playing bass, synths, keyboards, drums, percussion, and drum programming. With Congleton and Ariel Shafir engineering, the album has a spacious feel while retaining Spektor's sonic signature of a close-miked voice. String and horn arrangements, played by FAME'S Skopje Studio Orchestra, are handled by the hugely talented Bischoff, who has written commissions for Kronos Quartet as well as original compositions for film, TV, and the stage. Distinct and original, carefully groomed and sonically precise, Home, before and after is Regina Spektor at the very top of her game. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Home, before and after

Regina Spektor

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1
Becoming All Alone
00:04:18

Joey Waronker, Percussion - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Luke Reynolds, String Arranger, Horns Arranger, Bass - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Percussion, Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Programming, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

2
Up the Mountain
00:04:40

Joey Waronker, Percussion - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, String Arranger, Horns Arranger - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, String Arranger, Percussion, Horns Arranger, Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Programming, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

3
One Man's Prayer
00:04:05

Joey Waronker, Drums, Percussion - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Luke Reynolds, Guitar - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, String Arranger, Drums, Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Synthesizer, Drum Programming, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

4
Raindrops
00:03:09

John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, String Arranger, Horns Arranger - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Synthesizer, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

5
SugarMan
00:04:35

Joey Waronker, Drums, Percussion - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, String Arranger, Horns Arranger - Luke Reynolds, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, String Arranger, Guitar, Percussion, Vibraphone, Horns Arranger, Bass, Synthesizer, Marimba, Drum Programming, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

6
What Might Have Been
00:02:44

Joey Waronker, Drums - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Luke Reynolds, Guitar, Synthesizer - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Keyboards, Percussion, Synthesizer, Theremin, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

7
Spacetime Fairytale
00:08:47

Joey Waronker, Drums - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, Orchestral Arranger - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Synthesizer, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - David Turk, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra - Caleb Teicher, Tap Dancer

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

8
Coin
00:05:23

Joey Waronker, Drums - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, String Arranger - Luke Reynolds, Guitar, Bass - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Synthesizer, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

9
Loveology
00:05:16

Joey Waronker, Drums - John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - Jherek Bischoff, String Arranger - Luke Reynolds, Bass - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Synthesizer, Drum Programming, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer - Skopje Studio Orchestra, Orchestra

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

10
Through a Door
00:04:19

John Davis, Masterer - Regina Spektor, Piano, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, CoProducer - John Congleton, Producer, Mixer, Keyboards, Synthesizer, RecordingEngineer - Ariel Shafir, RecordingEngineer

© 2022 Sire Records. Marketed by Warner Records Inc., A Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2022 Sire Records

Album Description

Listening to Regina Spektor's music is like having a one-on-one conversation with someone who not only knows her own mind but is constantly reexamining her feelings while connecting with larger overarching truths through the smallest, most intimate details of everyday life. Six years have passed since Spektor's last album, and given that she was also pregnant while recording this new one, it was almost a sure thing that her pandemic album was going to be a powerful ringer. Even measured against her previous catalog of uniformly appealing, inventive albums, Home, before and after is bursting with creative energies. Opening with alternating notes on piano, "Loveology" is Spektor at her playful, melodic best. The same holds true for the rhythmic echo pop of "SugarMan" where she coos the wonderful second couplet: "I'm not your doll/ I'm not your pet/ But I'm not my own/ Ever since we met." The Bronx, New York-raised Spektor salutes her hometown in the album's first single, "Becoming All Alone," which settles into an engaging mid-tempo groove, swinging between unadorned piano and voice and sweeping string/horn/synth orchestrations with backing vocals from her husband Jack Dishel. The urgent "Up the Mountain" gallops along over undulating strings, slowing near the middle, before revealing the key verse: "On the mountain there's a forest/ In the forest there's a garden/ In the garden there's a flower/ In the flower there's a nectar/ In the nectar there's an answer /In that answer there's another." Three lines in "Raindrops" sum up her powers of observation: "Round each corner there's a chance/ People searching glance to glance/ Moving about real fast like insects and fish when they're scared." It's clear that Spektor's songwriting has been super-charged in the years since her last record, nowhere more evident than in the 8-minute plus mini-symphony-opera-performance piece, "Spacetime Fairytale." Backed by a lush, momentous orchestral arrangement from Jherek Bischoff, Spektor plays piano and sings that while there's no such thing as time "This world began outside of time/ Some days it's yours, some days it's mine/ Some days it's cruel, some days it's kind/ It just can't stay the same." Before a percussive tap dance interlude by Caleb Teicher, she returns to a more intimate reflection on time, "My mind is full of melodies/ They search for homes inside of me/ Like begging, pleading refugees/ But I can't find the time." Producer John Congleton, who is making a specialty of working with talented female singer-songwriters (Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent), adds structure, tempos and a weighty synth presence to everything.  He also functions as the band playing bass, synths, keyboards, drums, percussion, and drum programming. With Congleton and Ariel Shafir engineering, the album has a spacious feel while retaining Spektor's sonic signature of a close-miked voice. String and horn arrangements, played by FAME'S Skopje Studio Orchestra, are handled by the hugely talented Bischoff, who has written commissions for Kronos Quartet as well as original compositions for film, TV, and the stage. Distinct and original, carefully groomed and sonically precise, Home, before and after is Regina Spektor at the very top of her game. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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