Jesus in a Jiffy
Marianne Nowottny made her mark on the New York art/music world in 1998 with the release of a 7-song CDR entitled Afraid of Me (Abaton #001). She was just sixteen years old, a high school sophomore, at the time. Nowottny's subsequent recordings, an expanded version of Afraid of Me; a synth-punk album, Shell is Swell, recorded with her best buddy Donna Bailey; a holiday 7'; a double disc solo project, Manmade Girl; a live video-enhanced CD Illusions of the Sun (Camera Obscura), established her as one of America's most important avant-songstresses and '...indisputably one of the major musical figures of her generation.' [Joe Harrington] After learning the rudiments of piano playing from her mother and her pal Donna, Nowottny developed a personal style that references the scales and modes of Eastern music, American popular song, and electronic rock. Her arcane lyrics and complex song structures take introspective leaps of imagination that land somewhere short of pop. Nowottny's voice is a warm contralto, expressed as both a cool whisper and fierce growl. Her upper register includes a haunting falsetto, but she tends to favor her lower range, much like Egypt's beloved Om Kolsoum. Nowottny is able to glide effortlessly through scale modulations, stopping at random quarter-tones and surprising intervals. 'Her dark operatic voice sweeps one along an imaginary river meandering through subconsciousness.' Nowottny's musical compositions explore multiple layers of tone, texture and tempo, all within a deeply personal framework. Her scores have been compared to the early electronic music of John Pfeiffer and the pop simulations of Brian Eno.