We’ve got a real treat here for Marc Almond fans – the last of his very limited edition Against Nature collaboration with Jeremy Reed and Othon. Against Nature is said to be the seminally decadent novel of 19th Century fin de siècle Paris. It explores the central character of Des Esseintes who, as Jeremy Reed explains lived, “a life governed by deviated aesthetic obsessions and the desire to subvert…. nature through artificial pursuits. Endemically bored, wealthy, disillusioned, acutely refined, phobic and neurotic and singularly disgusted by humanity he withdraws from Paris as a middle-aged sensualist to live with servants as a recluse”.
‘Perhaps the best of all my works’, said Gluck of his Armide. But this, the fifth of his seven ‘reform operas’, has never quite captured the public interest as have Orfeo, Alceste, the two Iphigenies and even Paride ed Elena. Unlike those works it is based not on classical mythology but on Tasso’s crusade epic, Gerusalemme liberata. No doubt Gluck turned to this libretto, originally written by Quinault, to challenge Parisian taste by inviting comparison with the much-loved Lully setting. Its plot is thinnish, concerned only with the love of the pagan sorceress Armide, princess of Damascus, for the Christian knight and hero Renaud, and his enchantment and finally his disenchantment and his abandonment of her; the secondary characters have no real life. Its style, largely determined by the structure of the libretto, is closer to the French tragedie-lyrique traditions than are Gluck’s more familiar operas, with its short airs gliding into arioso and recitative.
Defying expectations and throwing anyone for a loop who guessed what Marc Almond might do after Stranger Things, Heart on Snow is his Russian album. That is to say that some of the songs are traditional Russian folk music, some are inspired by Almond's somewhat existentialist views of Russian life and love, and others merely mention Russian life but come across like traditional Almond songs. Instruments mostly take a backseat to Almond's voice, which is in peak form, but each song has a firm foundation of a combination of upright bass, piano, accordion, violin, percussion, moody keyboards, and guitars.
Limited deluxe two CD digipak edition including a bonus CD containing acoustic versions of seven of the album's tracks. 2010 release from the British Pop vocalist best known as one-half of Synth Pop duo Soft Cell. Almond's first studio album of original self-written material for 10 years. Variete is both a dramatic celebration in song of the thwarted glamour of the fag-end of the show business of yesteryear and a brave and revealing body of autobiographical songs.