FIND ME, self-released, is Happy's 11th album and her first since 1998's Many Worlds Are Born Tonight.
Happy Rhodes' 'Find Me' a stunning new offering
By David Malachowski, Reviewer
The Daily Freeman
Hudson Valley resident and ambient ethereal music goddess Happy Rhodes has a stunning new CD produced by Bob Muller and mixed by Mark Owen.
Rhodes has a spectacular voice, an amazing four-octave instrument. Having a multi-octave range usually means hitting high notes only dogs can hear, but Rhodes takes a different route, using her haunting, powerful and pure lower register straight away in "One And Many."
Here her signature dark vocal lines are augmented by a sinister Tony Levin-esque bass line provided
by Hansford Rowe, as Rhodes proudly proclaims, "I've been righteous but never angry."
The lush, almost orchestral title "Find Me" is in the vein of "Tales Of Topographic Oceans"-era Yes. Muller's menacing drums are world class, and Teddy Kumpel's guitar
work jaw dropping, as Owen's layered, textural mix takes it over the top.
The lyrics can be dark and bleak, yet memorizing: "I can see Charlie/Sitting on his hands/Drowning in his chaos/And formulating plans/If I had stayed that way (I could have been Charlie) It would have been me (Living on meds) Wishing for a handgun/Or a rope on a sturdy tree".
Despite all the fancy trimmings, Rhodes lives and dies on her spectacular voice and compelling tunes, which are abundant and flourishing here. "Find Me" could certainly
be Rhodes' best CD to date.
David Malachowski is a guitarist, producer and freelance journalist living in Woodstock.
Now get ready to be haunted by Happy’s 4 octave voice. Just like the opening track “One and Many” that talks about multiple personality “issues”, first time listeners of Happy Rhodes will often wonder how many people are singing. Well, the answer is “one and many” really, because in a split second she can go from an angel to demon no problem.
- Hande Burdg
The Prog Files
Happy Rhodes returns after a long absence with Find Me, her latest collection of songs, and it is well worth the wait. Exploring a sound both familiar and new, Happy covers a lot of emotional ground on Find Me. The subject matter ranges from the defiant anthem "She Won't Go", the last thoughts of a dying drowning victim in the title track, the lament of the eternal bridesmaid on "Chosen One" and the sweet tribute to a loved one in "Here and Hereafter."
Happy delivers one of the best songs of her career with the elegant and mesmerizing "Can't Let Go," exploring how the emotional scars of the past can be both a source of inspiration and a curse. The incredible range of her vocal instrument is complimented by a carefully crafted bed of electronics and traditional instruments into a sound that is both unique and incredibly listenable. Nowhere does this seem more apparent than the track "Queen" where she seems to ponder her role as siren to the marginalized, the searching and the broken. Thankfully she seems to be willing to take the mantle, as unwilling as it might be. We'll all continue to be the better for it.
- Jon Wesley Huff
With a perfectionism and eye for production detail to rival her musical influence Kate Bush, Happy Rhodes has always released records packed with transcendent, multilayered soundscapes. Yet "Find Me" may be her most fully-realized production. Whereas Happy's past records have at times had an even, almost metronomic quality that some have called "druidic," the songs on "Find Me" have heightened shape, contour and drama. The most memorable, like the searing title track, move from quiet beauty into explosive climaxes. When she called this her "rock album" at a recent performance, the audience tittered. But if by calling it "rock," Happy means to reference the album's high-octane, walloping emotional arc, she may not be far off the mark.
"Ejaculations of a Perverse Adult"
Not quite as well known as Gabriel and Gilmour, Happy Rhodes has been making music for more than two decades. Style wise she is hard to pin down. Some of her music is ambient inspired (think of David Sylvian). She also offers alternative/rock songs with Prog leanings (à la David Bowie for example) and some of her music consists of acoustic songs, often revisiting her own material or doing covers. This is the side of her I like the most. Another of Happy's qualities is her voice, exceptional being the only way to describe it.
Find Me give us eleven new tracks of original material, and her three musical song styles I just described are featured on the album. There are no fillers on this CD. She took her time to make it and it shows. This is strong stuff indeed. In my opinion, tracks like "Find Me", "Chosen One" and a few others are among her best ever, this because they show Happy's more tender/emotional side, and that the music is more organic, acoustic (less electronic) then on other tracks. More powerfull songs (like "One And Many" for example) also do the trick and add a nice variety to the listening experience.
- ProGGnosis review
Now, what Happy Rhodes does here musically isn't so easy to describe... Up front is as always Happy Rhodes' unbelievable voice, whose range once again spans the spectrum from Annie Lennox (Eurythmics) to the young Kate Bush. One may compare the opening "One And Many" with the title track and be hard pressed to convince yourself that it's the same singer!
The music itself is best described as prog-Electronica. Like on her previous album she shows influences from Trip-Hop to Ambient, when Bob Muller plays Tabla (such as on "Little Brother" or "She Won't Go") there is an aura of ethnic sound. Some songs sound like Kate Bush singing on a David Sylvian ambient piece (the title track), some are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel ("Queen") or even a quieter Peter Hammill ("One And Many"). But despite all these comparisons the music stands fully on its own, and Happy Rhodes has her own completely unique sound.
- Jochen Rindfrey
Happy Rhodes is an enigma. This is according to the Music Industry, which has never been able to pigeon-hole her into any category. Her music is otherworldly yet substantial and her 4-octave voice has a haunting familiarity to it.
Most listeners find her work difficult to describe and yet she incites an almost unheard of devotion among her fans. She goes from Kate Bush highs to David Bowie lows and you find yourself being beckoned to follow her into her multilayered worlds.
She was born on August 9th, 1965 and named Kimberley Tyler Rhodes. Three days after her birth, while still in the hospital, her brother Mark called her "Happy-baby" because she was so smiley and he couldn't pronounce Kimberley. It seemed so fitting that it stuck. The family never knew her as Kimberley and so when she was 16, she made Happy her legal name.
As time went on though, she became increasingly removed from the outer world. High School became a place of alienation for her because she was already driven for a musical future and depression was slowly becoming part of her everyday existence. She knew she needed to do something or she would explode. At age 16, Happy left school and got her G.E.D.
For the next two years, she wrote and made some Open Mic Night appearances at a legendary cafe called Cafe Lena in Saratoga, NY. During this time, she met up with Pat Tessitore, a co-owner of Cathedral Sound Studios in Rensselaer, NY. She approached him with the idea of becoming an intern of sorts, just so she could learn the basics of audio recording. "I knew I wanted to be a professional musician, but didn't really know where to start. So I decided I'd learn how to MAKE records first, get my foot in the door and then figure the rest out later."
Happy never really got the full recording education she was looking for because as soon as Tessitore heard her sing, he insisted on recording everything she'd written up to that point. "She played and it absolutely blew me away. And I had heard a lot of voices in my day," recalls Tessitore. "She brought tears to my eyes."
Soon, Happy met up with another musician and mutual friend of Tessitore's, Kevin Bartlett. Bartlett had been writing his own instrumental music for years and had a small, cassette-only label, called Aural Gratification. He heard Happy's work and asked if she'd like to release her music to the public on his label. She accepted. One of these cassettes made its way to a woman named Vickie Mapes, who at that time, was doing an all-female-artist radio show in Kansas City. She began to play Happy's tapes and circulating samplers to unsuspecting music-lovers.
From her efforts, a small fan-base was forming. They organized themselves into what is now known as ECTO, a Happy Rhodes Mailing List. This is a forum through which, music lovers can discuss Happy's work, as well as other "Ectophilic" artists.
Happy released approximately 9 CD's on the Aural Gratification label. In 1997 however, Happy decided that it was time to seek out a different kind of record label. A good friend recommended her to a newly forming label called, Samson Music. Founded by Norm Waitt Jr.(co-founder of the Gateway Computer company), this was a label that Happy felt would take her music to the next level. She signed with them and released "Many Worlds Are Born Tonight" in August of 1998. "I went through a lot of darkness to make that album. It was also the most fun I've ever had making a record." Happy and Samson Music parted ways in early 2000.
Happy lives on a farm in upstate New York with her husband, musician Bob Muller. She currently spends her days building pro-audio equipment for Dangerous Music, a job she likes and finds very satisfying.
Find Me (2007)
Many Worlds Are Born Tonight (1998)
The Keep (1995 compilation)
Building The Colossus (1994)
RhodeSongs (1993 compilation)
Rhodes II (1986)
Rhodes I (1986)