Posts filed under ‘Active Child’
Active Child (aka Pat Grossi) performed the Eurythmics’ 1983 pop classic “Sweet Dreams” on Australia’s Triple J’s “Like A Version”. Grossi takes his harp and his high-pitched falsetto stylings and makes good use of them both on this marvelous rendition. Annie Lennox would have to love this. Watch video of him performing it at the Triple J website, where you can also download an MP4 file. Follow Active Child at facebook and twitter. You can order his most recent record, 2011’s “You Are All I See”, here. Note: Photo from artist’s facebook page. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Active Child “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics cover) Triple J
Active Child is pushing an 80s vibe on his newest single, “Diamond Heart”. The church-like reverence and dust-in-the-light quality of the songs on his LP “You Are All I See” fall away slightly to happy synth work and bubbling rhythm. The song opens with a verse of dismay, “This isn’t what I imagined / This isn’t what I had in mind …” The song is a change of pace for Pat Grossi, but a welcome one. I’ve been told that “Diamond Heart” will be released on the deluxe edition of “You Are All I See”, available November 1st on i-Tunes. The deluxe release will also feature the b-side “Body Heat”, the Chad Valley remix of “Playing House” and a live version of “Hanging On” from WFUV. Look for Active Child on the road on Octover 28 in Washington D.C. at Black Cat; Oct. 29 in Raleigh, N.C. at King’s Barcade & Tavern; Oct. 30 in Asheville, N.C. at Moogfest; Oct. 31 in Atlanta, Ga. at Masquerade; and November 1 in Tallahassee, Fla. at The Engine Room. Note: Photo is from artist’s official website. — David D. Robbins Jr.
By David D. Robbins Jr. | Their Bated Breath
Active Child “You Are All I See” (Vagrant)
It makes sense that Active Child (aka Pat Grossi) came from a Philadelphia Boys Choir background, because listening to his new record, “You Are All I See”, is much like a religious experience. It’s also no wonder that birds grace the album cover, and a woman is frozen by a quick camera shot, looking upward. The record is revelatory and ambitious in its skyward reach. The opening title track begins with sparkling harp, and the warm welcome of brass. It’s like entering an auditory dream sequence, or accessing a new world by parting through an exotic beaded curtain. On the other side is a light too bright to see anything but the unsettling dust. You hear Grossi’s high falsetto tone fluttering above like a calling to a higher purpose. In this day and age of high falsetto maestros, Grossi is equal to that new realm consisting of The Weeknd, Bon Iver, Patrick Watson, Antony Hegarty, James Blake, and How To Dress Well (who can be heard on the track “Playing House”). His vocal flights are more lovely and heartfelt than strained affectation. It isn’t simply enough to have a range in falsetto, but it’s the impact of the voice, determined by how its used. Grossi knows what he’s doing.
The length at which he holds notes in “Hanging On” works to build tension in songs, giving just the right level of accentuation to his verses. That style adds weight to a phrase like, “I just can’t keep holding on”, the latter two words elongated into a strengthening of meaning. What might get lost among the pretty phonics, are the musical arrangements, which find ways to layer, twist, and weave the pathos of R&B, pop, dance and soul with the synthetics of experimental electronic sculpting. This building of each song feels like architecture, but not one of cold metal, steel and concrete. “You Are All I See” is a cathedral of golden gradations and amber hues. It exists somewhere in a land between the heavenly gaze and the mythological landscape of fairy-tales. A good number of the songs are about love, whether it’s the openhearted romantic of “Way Too Fast” or the deeply-smitten dreamer of the title track, lost in a tidal wave of reverential devotion.
You’ll have to wait until the eighth track on the record, “Ancient Eye”, before you hit a morose musical timbre. It seemed a bit too heavy for the lightness of the seven songs that proceeded it, until the song stretches itself out at the midway mark, into a choral majesty of oneness. Harp transitions into long, deep, pulsating bass notes, and into intermittent clanks, before Grossi eases his vocals back into the syrup-slow rhythm like honey poured atop more honey. It’s a glorious moment of invention. “Shield & Sword” continues the foreboding change of tone, as reverberating synth mixes with industrial beats. Active Child saves one of his best tracks for last, “Johnny Belinda”. It’s a doomed, operatic-sized menace. Paradise Lost. A battle between the early evil moans of what sounds like cello, then strings, then a scatter of hushes, and Grossi’s angelic falsetto. The song is romantic and anguished. No doubt it’s one of the best songs released this year. “You Are All I See” and “Johnny Belinda” make grand bookends, and couldn’t be more contrasting. It’s like entering an album by way of the pearly gates and leaving by way of perdition. This record is a harmony of the spheres. Note: “You Are All I See” comes out August 23 via Vagrant Records. Catch an Active Child show on August 22nd and 29th in Los Angeles, Calif., at The Echo; and August 30th at Tempe, Ariz. at Solar Culture. You can stream the new record at Hype Machine.
Active Child “Hanging On”
It’s time everyone joined the Active Child choir. I just got this link from Vagrant Records for the title track to his upcoming release, “You Are All I See”, out August 23rd. Pat Grossi sings in church-like high falsetto, with dream-sequence harps and romantic synth horn. It’s opulent and gorgeous. Like much of the music he’s released to this point, “You Are All I See”, is a patient uncurling. Passion pours out like the steady flow of lava. Emotions hover in the air with quiet ceremony — the refrain reverberating with thoughts of deep love and heartache: “All good things in time / I know we’ll be fine / Buried underneath / You are all I see.” It’s both dark and tender. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Active Child’s new high-falsetto strewn single, “Hanging On”, is the fifth track in Adult Swim’s 2011 Singles Program series. “Hanging On” is from Active Child’s debut “You Are All I See” out via Vagrant in August. You can download the song for free via Adult Swim. It’s a love song about desperation. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Active Child “Hanging On”