Navigating the dilapidated ruins of once-bustling Coney Island, New York, on a bicycle with blue banana seats was like entering a sort of parallel universe for Carol Lipnik.Surrounded by deteriorating rides, the sideshow spectacle was closed for the season, but the amusement park visuals of her youth, haunted vaudeville carnival days and other mystical fictions of her imagination are the hallmarks of the singer song. It remained rooted in the writer and was passed on to her.Performance and music, including Lipnik’s two most recent releases, an EP blue forest and album goddess of imperfection.
Based on The Goddess of Imperfection, partly co-written with Mexican composer Tareke Ortiz, Lipnik turns the scene upside down and creates her own cabaret, conveying landscapes more avant-Americana roots throughout the Blue Forest. Embody the characters, visuals and sounds of Augmented Reality. Live, Lipnik’s full-bodied performance of her art transitions to playing with her full band, centering on music made solely by pianist Matt her Kanelos. The Acoustic Spectacle won Broadway Her World New York Cabaret Award for Best She Alternative Cabaret Show in 2015.
Lipnik, who recently finished mastering another EP, wild cryfeaturing a recording of Michael Hurley’s 1964 fairy tale folk tale “The Werewolf Song,” recorded a cover of David Byrne’s “Heaven,” and told an American songwriter About her double emancipation, imperfect beauty, Joni Mitchell, and all the remaining spirits and spells around Pulling the Perfect Rabbit (song) from the hat.
American Songwriter: You put out two recordings this year. goddess of imperfection and EP blue forestHow did you prepare to release two different works at the same time?
Carol Lipnik: I had planned to complete two works and release them every other year, but the pandemic put them on hold. Then the pandemic changed and I took the chance impulsively. It’s kind of like having twins, and I’ve been promoting them as such and doing double duty, and it’s exciting. I am like a horse loose on the beach.
AS: Most of the songs goddess of imperfection Co-written with Mexican composer Tareque Ortiz. How has his experience and legacy influenced your musical collaborations?
CL: Tareke and I set out to blend our sensibilities and found that we shared a common love for ghost imagery. My love for the spooky house on Coney Island (where Lipnik grew up) and her Tareke love for her Dia de Muertos in Mexico. These haunted celebrations are playful, spooky, terrifying, and beautiful all at once. I made a cultural ghost stew. The rhythm of the title track “Goddess of Imperfection” is based on Huapango. Supernatural love stories are traditionally the subject of songs in this style. The song is a spell, an irony that defies the pressure of perfection, an embracing of the beauty of the imperfect, and the chorus is an uplifting, operatic vocalization.
AS: Other tracks were written with David Cale (2020 Obie Award winning playwright, performer and songwriter). Did his experience in theater make the songs more theatrical? What other influences did the collaboration have on your work?
CL: David loves to write songs, and both he and I love performing the songs we write in a theatrical way. [It’s] It was a very natural collaboration because it’s close to performance art and monologues. First, we wrote “A History of Kisses.” This is a melancholic, nostalgic rumination on lost love, lasting love, and passing time. … Everything slows down Hits and misses flow down into the history of kissingThe song begins with the words of Yeats. [which is] Better than ever: The ritual of innocence drowned.
Then David says he wants to write a song about poachers, and how the cursed tale of forbidden love begins and how the burden of secrets we keep weighs down our souls and makes us Orphaned and sent much of David’s work, with a shocking twist ending.
that’s why: The song “Non-Violent Man” feels very timely in 2022, but was written several years ago. Do your interpretations of it change over time? Is your singing influenced by current events?
CL: When Matt Kanelos (pianist and arranger) and I were rehearsing, he asked me if I wanted to hear the song he had just written. He played me the “non-violent man”. After lifting his chin off the floor, he told him that he would continue singing the song from the male character’s point of view.
We had a weekly three-and-a-half-year residency at Pangea, a wonderful Boite in New York City’s East Village, and sadly almost every week, this song reflected a terribly violent incident, It reflected a constant stream of chaos. and brutal male toxicity. It was like channeling the zeitgeist with that song. It’s a pretty emotional vehicle to play at the beginning of that song.this line Time is broken The killer became a child Although it continues to resonate violently, the song is also pure medicine, with the most beautiful, naked vulnerability and tenderness at heart.
son blue forestThe only non-original song she recorded was “Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes,” written in 1617 by the poet and composer Thomas Campion. What was it about that era that appealed to you? What drew you to this particular song?
CL: I’m always looking for great songs. Like snails and hermit crabs, I’m looking for beautiful eel shells to live on. My older brother, Lawrence Lipnik, has been a great musician specializing in early music since childhood. While I listened to The Beatles, he would hear countertenor Alfred Deller singing Renaissance songs, so these songs were always on rotation at home, and the songs were in my heart. It was burned into Thomas Campion’s magical “Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes” is incredible. It’s a series of spells and spells to get someone to love you, with an ending with a humorous earthly twist.
that’s why: blue forest Produced by Kyle Sanna (known for her work with Yo Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, Seamus Egan Project and Kinan Azmeh’s CityBand). How was your collaboration with him?
CL: Kyle is a dear friend of Matt Canelos, and he used to do shows with us and play guitar and synths on “Goddess of Imperfection.” blue forestIt was a very free and easy collaboration. Kyle was open to all my ideas. He also brought in the wonderful percussionist Matthias Kunzli for some beautiful and delicate overdubs.
AS: Some songwriters often struggle to create music and lyrics, while others say they are conduits for their muses and can bring music to paper. Where do you fall on that spectrum?
CL: To me that process is still a complete mystery. When I sit and work, I feel like a wizard looking for a rabbit in a hat. Occasionally pull out a full rabbit. Sometimes there are no rabbits. Sometimes [it’s] Rabbit ears only.
My favorite method, when I’m not sitting and staring, is to always carry a notebook with me and write down the things that struck me during the day. I always read (especially poetry) and write down the lines and ideas that stand out to me. And then I put the best of all these notes into one note, which I call the seed note. Then, when I’m ready to write a new song, I randomly open that book, find all the promising lines and ideas that have been handpicked, sit down at the piano, and try to connect the words, melodies, and chords to the song. Once in a blue moon they come out almost completely, like my songs “Hope Street” and “A Pure Dose of Mercy.” It always feels like a miracle. It’s like I’m channeling a mystical god, something that comes in from outside. I am bigger than myself.
Song “Tick Bite” [off Blue Forest] is a perfect example of this process.I was in the country and got a tick bite and I was prepared for this scenario with antibiotics so her husband said ‘you got the medicine’ then I read the seed book I opened it and saw The fire that burns within you is the same fire that burns youso I quickly added you have poison / and you have medicine All the while riffing on the tenor ukulele and singing the remaining toddler lyrics. I pulled out a nice rabbit.
Then there’s the long honing process, which is a lot of fun if you’re in the ‘write path’…
AS: Your music is heavily influenced by nature. How is nature involved in your story?
CL: When I am in nature, I can disappear and become incandescent. I live near the Hudson River and spend a lot of time walking by the river and getting lost in the water and sky. It frees me from psychological pressure and unleashes me. It gives me perspective and makes me realize how small and unimportant I am. Placing the natural world background throughout the piece to put the ego, the character of the song, in the same true spatial context I like
AS: You mentioned Joni Mitchell as an influence. Are there any particular eras of her that have influenced you the most?
CL: I love and admire Joni Mitchell’s artistry so much that I hate to pinpoint a particular time because there are so many gems in all her albums. , love the ghostly, quivering quality of her sopranos on “Song To a Seagull,” and unabashedly yodeling on “Woodstock.” Ladies of the Canyona philosophical cycle of thought without linear structure Hejiraopen curtain heart bluethe escape of for roses. driving mysterious title track Don Juan’s reckless daughter.
The way she turns the sounds of words into verbal meanings and turns them into melodic onomatopoeia, her incredibly conversational phrasing, and the way she presents conflicting thoughts and beliefs as one. It’s so real, so human to be in such a constant state of contradiction.
AS: Where do you see yourself in current pop culture?
CL: I’ve always been a bit of an outsider, just doing my own thing and never trying to be like anyone else. . If you want to get lost in a song dream world instead of swiping through social media, stop me.
Photo: Alby Mitchell