Marianne Nowottny who is now 20 years old continues to astonish. She is showing no signs of diminished power on "Illusions of the Sun" which is her third release. This somewhat underground and aloof figure who seems to rarely perform live, has single-handedly been able to challenge the prevailing understanding of the female singer/songwriter model. Be prepared, this is not indie rock type music. It really has nothing to do with Nico, Tori Amos, Cat Power, or the numerous other's. It will completely demand you rewire your prevailing thoughts on what not only a "new artist" is capable of, but any artist from now on. Actually, sin of sin's, she disregards even the most current understandings of what hipster thought is. It's words, beliefs and lifestyle she ignores all of it. She exists on her own terms.
Nowottny's musical universe is a hall of mirrors that reflect direct expression. Removed from this world are notions of difference, such as beauty and ugliness. You are left floating in a musical galaxy of tempo and key-changes which seems to appear at random. Her completely unique voice moans in a dream state of believable un-reality. She jumps from a Skip James-like falsetto to a grueling Om Kalsoum death throb in an instant. You are allowed here to create yourself in a way. The sign posts are removed but you don't feel lost. Nowottny holds your hand. This is very pure but "damaged" music. It is a strange but beautiful feeling. It is odd joyfulness.
Included on this release is 12 minutes of video content from Signal 66, an avant-garde performance venue in Washington D.C. Here you can see the young artist, who must be only 17 years old at the time perform three more tracks. How revealing it all is! What you imagined listening to the previous 28 minutes is more than true. Here you find a young woman of unusual beauty decked out like a demi-god. Flowers are in her hair, glitter is in her eyes and she is surrounded by plastic jewels, candles and cardboard stars hanging by threads from the ceiling. Three professional cameras capture it all. A document of homemade performance by a teenager of chilling potential. She's happy, she sad, she struggles, it's magical. The audience seems not to care. You will. - MDABC