The Magic

Album: The Deep Field (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • American violinist singer-songwriter Joan Wasser experienced tragedy in May 1997 when her boyfriend, the musician Jeff Buckley, died of an accidental drowning in Memphis, Tennessee. A couple of years later Joan joined the Mercury-prize winning act Antony and the Johnsons. She has stated in interviews that being part of this band saved her life because of the nurturing effect of Antony and his "singularly beautiful voice." After leaving the group in the mid 2000s, Wasser signed a distribution deal with British indie label Reveal Records to record under the moniker of Joan As Police Woman. She took her curious stage name from the fact that she once attended a fancy dress party as an officer of the NYPD. This is the lead single from her third long player, The Deep Field.
  • Wasser told CMU about her songwriting process for The Deep Field: "I start on either the piano or the guitar. Typically, the music comes first, then a melody and then words. The melody rises out of the chords. There are usually some words that come along with the melody. I find the rest of the words by writing almost anything down to act as place-holders and then revise them over and over. Then I bring the song to my band. I try to not say much about what I want from the drums and bass. Before I insert my ideas, I want to hear what my genius rhythm section has to contribute. The rhythm usually turns out to be a combination of their ideas and a little shaping from me. They've got the hair and I just do a little styling. For this record, Parker Kindred played all the drum tracks. I used five different bass players, one of them being the Moog bass player who I tour with, Tyler Wood. Then we go into the studio (Trout Recording in Brooklyn owned and run by Bryce Goggin, assisted by Adam Sachs) and do the basics. We (drums, bass, and me on either keys or guitar and voice) record the basics live, all in one room with some separation of the amps but no separation between the players. I sing live and we record it until the feel is right. Sometimes the run-through has the best feel; Bryce always has the tape machine running so we might catch it on the rehearsal; which has the potential to feel the most relaxed and free. Sometimes we record the basic five or ten times. Then I do keyboards, guitars, lead vocals, backup vocals and call in any number of my favourite musicians from this fine city. Doug Wieselman has played on all my records. He plays saxes, clarinets and guitar. He is one of the deepest players I have ever heard. He is always in the moment. He played some bass clarinet on this record that is painfully gorgeous."

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