Elysian Fields (band)

Elysian Fields (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Elysian Fields

Img_capt = Elysian Fields in concert
Img_size = 250
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = flagicon|United States New York City, United States
Genre = Dream pop
Art rock
Years_active = 1995–present
Label = Radioactive/Universal
Associated_acts = Jeff Buckley
Medeski Martin and Wood
Jamie Saft
Steve Albini
URL = [http://www.elysianmusic.com/ www.elysianmusic.com]
Current_members = Jennifer Charles
Oren Bloedow
Past_members =

Elysian Fields is a New York dream pop/art rock band founded in 1995 by co-composers Jennifer Charles (vocals, instruments) and Oren Bloedow (guitar). Their music has been sometimes described as "noir rock", due to its sultry, dark and mysterious inflections, be it sonically or lyrically. The band uses mainly acoustic instruments, predominantly guitar, piano, bass and drums, with the occasional appearance of eastern instruments, classical strings, and subtle electronics, the focal point being the voice of Charles in the forefront.

Based in New York City, Elysian Fields have found underground success in the United States but are more popular in Europe. Author of "The Dark Stuff", Nick Kent says of their music, "Maybe we have their out-of-the-mainstreamness to thank for a sound that is still unique -- as sensual as a sleepwalker's wet dream." Through the plus-twelve years the band has been active, they have won quite a devoted cult following, largely by word of mouth. Besides their well received albums, the band is also noted for its strong live performances. The rest of the band has included many of New York's strongest players: all the members of Jeff Buckley's band, members of Medeski Martin and Wood, Ed Pastorini, Ben Perowsky, James Genus, Thomas Bartlett, Jamie Saft and members of Ollabelle have all played in Elysian Fields at various times.


Elysian Fields first released an EP in 1995 on Radioactive/Universal Records with cameos from John Lurie and Marc Ribot, which was followed up with the critically acclaimed full length, "Bleed Your Cedar". The band then recorded their second full length with Steve Albini which was never released due to artistic differences between the band and the record company. Despite their record company's urgings, Charles and Bloedow did not want to give the recording a more commercial feel, prompting a split with Radioactive/Universal, who retain the recording. Charles states, "We made our second full length with Steve Albini. It wasn't at all what the label was looking for, or wanted. The label wanted us to redo things, go in with more commercial people, and give them songs that they could sell. I didn't want to mess with what we made with Steve. It was what it was. In the end we agreed to disagree, I asked to be released from my contract, and we parted ways. For now it sits in some vault gathering dust, I suppose."

In 2000 the band did a one-off for Jetset records for whom they recorded "Queen of the Meadow" which the band toured extensively in Europe, and which reached to number 5 on the CMJ charts in the States. Robert Wilson went on to use one of the songs "Rope of Weeds", in one of his plays. June 2003 saw the band releasing "Dreams That Breathe Your Name" in France and Benelux on PIAS and Bang Records respectively, followed by an American release in 2004 on their own label Diluvian. The "Dreams" record was called "Close to noir-rock perfection" by TimeoutNY music editor Mike Wolf.

Elysian Fields latest album is "Bum Raps and Love Taps", which was released in Europe in late 2005/early 2006 on the label "Naive" and which saw the band touring in Europe for much of 2005 and 2006. The album is dedicated to Jennifer's Grandmother, about whom the title track was written. Another song "Duel with Cudgels", eight minutes and thirty seconds long, takes its title from a Goya painting. Their music is lush and melancholy, with poetic and sometimes surreal lyrics. In the Fall of 2006, video artist Vincent Moon filmed two live videos of Elysian Fields for Lablogotheque.net (also seen on YouTube), one of which is for the song "We're in Love", the duo acoustic final track on the "Bum Raps" album.

In addition to contributing to many of John Zorn's produced compilation records, including one of Marc Bolan and the first track on the Serge Gainsbourg tribute, Charles and Bloedow also released two complete albums of Sephardic songs on John Zorn's Tzadik label, the first one being titled "La Mar Enfortuna" and the most recent called "Convivencia". They give ancient moorish melodies a revamp with their signature Elysian Fields sound. Charles sings in Ladino as well as in Arabic, Aramaic, Spanish, and Greek on these albums. A new Elysian Fields album has recently been finished and is slated for a 2008 release. Elysian Fields have also performed in several tribute concerts produced by impresario Hal Willner, including one of Randy Newman's songs in Los Angeles, where Oren was a Musical Director, and another for Edgar Allan Poe. Elysian Fields most recently performed at Carnegie Hall on April 5, 2007, in Michael Dorf's produced all star tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Oren was once again musical director, backing up several artists including Badly Drawn Boy, and Bruce Springsteen himself for the rousing finale of "Rosalita". Elysian Fields rendition of "Streets of Fire" was noted in both Billboard and Rolling Stone as being one of the show's highlights, calling it "sensual" and "passionate".

Elysian Fields music has appeared in both American and Foreign films as well as many Television shows including Conviction, Smallville, Charmed, One Tree Hill, Extra and The Crow.


*"Bum Raps and Love Taps" - (2005) - Naive records
**Lions in the Storm
**Set the Grass on Fire
**Sharpening Skills
**Duel With Cudgels
**Lame Lady of the HIghways
**Out to Sea
**Bum Raps and Love Taps
**We're in Love

*"Dreams That Breathe Your Name" - (2003)
**Stop the Sun
**Baby Get Lost
**Timing Is Everything
**Drunk On Dark Sublime
**Live For The Touch
**Passing On The Stairs
**Shooting Stars
**Shrinking Heads In The Sunset
**Never Mind That Now
**Dog of Tears

*"Bend Your Mind Single EP"-(2000) - The Flower Shop
**Bend Your Mind
**Lie Low

*"Queen of the Meadow" - (2000)
**Black Acres
**Bend Your Mind
**Tides of the Moon
**Hearts Are Open Graves
**Rope Of Weeds
**Dream Within a Dream (lyrics by Edgar Allan Poe)
**Barely Recognize You
**Fright Night
**Queen of the Meadow
**Cities Will Fall

*"Bleed Your Cedar" - (1996) - Radioactive/Universal
**Lady in the Lake
**Jack in the Box
**Off or Out
**Fountains on Fire
**Anything You Like
**Sugar Plum Arches
**Gracie Lyons

*"EP" - (1995) - Radioactive/Universal
**Diamonds All Day
**Move Me
**Get Rich

External links

* [http://www.elysianmusic.com/ Elysian Fields website]
* A sampling of their music is at [http://www.epitonic.com/artists/elysianfields.html www.epitonic.com] .
* [http://www.myspace.com/elysianfieldsnyc MySpace page]
* [http://blackacres.net/ blackacres.net] Fansite
* [http://www.musiques-volantes.org/10/elysian.htm Live in Metz, France, Nov 2005]

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