Billboard 25 September 1999
Andrea Parker's Kiss My Arp album release is discussed.
NEW YORK-With the U.S. release of Andrea Parker's long-awaited album, "Kiss My Arp" (due Nov. 2 on Mo'Wax/Beggars Banquet), the globally acclaimed DJ, producer, remixer, and accomplished singer/ songwriter is poised to carve a niche of her own in the electronica/dance music arena.
The U.S. version of "Kiss My Arp" is primarily a compendium of "Kiss My Arp" and "Kiss My Arp Instrumentals," which were issued on July 5 and Sept. 13, respectively, on Mo'Wax U.K., the label to which Parker is directly signed. (In Japan, "Kiss My Arp" was released last October on Toys Factory Records.) In addition, the U.S. album includes the previously released, import-only singles "Melodious Thunk" and "Return Of The Rocking Chair"
The cornerstone of "Kiss My Arp," though, is the introspective track "The Unknown," with Parker's languid vocals drifting seductively atop a riveting landscape of shuddering sub-bass and spine-tingling orchestration, courtesy of composer Will Malone, who created equally stirring string arrangements for Massive Attack ("Unfinished Sympathy") and U.N.K.L.E. ("Lonely Soul").
The key to Parker's popularity is the music-without-borders mentality that permeates her remix/production/DJ work. Her credits include such varied artists as Depeche Mode, Lamb, Steve Reich, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Similarly, Parker's continuously mixed CD for New York-based Studio K7's "DJ-Kicks" series was equally diverse and introduced her innovative turntable skills to a U.S. audience. The 1998 set linked classic electro, avant-garde techno, and early hip-hop tracks (from seminal artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Juan Atkins) to contemporary grooves from the likes of Depeche Mode, Dr. Octagon, and Parker herself.
There's also Parker's experimental electronica explorations with Inky Blacknuss and Two Sandwiches Short Of A Lunchbox (a collaboration with David Mor lev), as well as her guest appearance on Koh Toa's serene single "Sundown."
On "Kiss My Arp," Parker, whose songs are published by Chrysalis Music, successfully constructs an intricate opus that reflects all of her musical influences, especially those from minimalist/avant-jazz pioneers Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
"I really don't care for the latest, trendy big-beat artists like Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers," says Parker. "My album is much more subtle and heavily rooted in bluesy, experimental, and atmospheric music.
"Many people have described or categorized the album as gloomy or gothic," she adds. "In reality, it's just more layered, reflective, and emotional. Actually, my sound is not so clearly defined because I get easily bored. I need to constantly challenge myself and try out new and exciting sounds that are timeless and unpredictable."
This suits Lesley Bleakley, executive VP of Beggars Banquet U.S., just fine. "That's precisely what makes Andrea such an exciting artist," Bleakley says. "It's also why so many people have embraced her eclectic sound."
Bleakley says the label's main objective is to "build on the amazing groundwork established by Andrea's previous U.K. singles and high U.S. press profile following the 'DJ Kicks' release."
"We wanted to put together a strong and coherent album that presents all sides of Andrea's diverse musical abilities," explains Bleakley "Rather than following a more conventional marketing approach, we'll be instituting a long-term, grassroots plan that capitalizes on her solid underground support.
"Furthermore," she continues, "our central focus will involve press, fashion industry tie-ins, extensive servicing to college radio, and specialty shows."
Bleakley confirms that the label will ship the radio-only single "The Unknown" to specialty, college, and RPM formats in mid-October. Bleakley also stresses the importance of "getting Andrea on the road for another DJ club tour."
"I really look forward to doing another DJ tour [in the States]," says Parker. "When I'm on the decks, people don't just look at me as another pretty face trying to be a DJ. I've been fortunate to have people respect my music and my skills completely on the merit of my work. For me, that's the most gratifying of all."
Parker will embark on a nationwide DJ tour in late-October/earlyNovember to promote "Kiss My Arp." She is managed by London-based Debbie Rawlings. Her North American tour is booked by Kim Benjamin of New York-based Kimco Entertainment; Parker handles bookings for all other territories.
- Mo'Wax's Parker offers subtle beats on 'Kiss', Roseberry, Craig. Billboard; New York Vol. 111, Iss. 39, (Sep 25, 1999): 31-32.