|Ani DiFranco — Binary (June 9, 2017)|
Ani DiFranco — Binary (June 9, 2017)Ξ With Binary, the iconic singer/songwriter/activist/poet/DIY trendsetter returns to territory that brought Ani DiFranco to the world’s attention more than twenty~five years ago. One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, she has been recognised among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, Ani DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
Birth name: Angela Maria DiFranco
Born: September 23, 1970, Buffalo, New York, United States
Genres: Folk rock, indie, alternative
Occupations: Musician, singer–songwriter, poet
Instruments: Guitar, bass guitar, tenor guitar, vocals, percussion, piano
Location: New York, NY, U.S.A.
Album release: June 9, 2017
Record Label: Righteous Babe
01. Binary 4:22
02. Pacifist’s Lament 5:56
03. Zizzing 5:56
04. Play God 4:53
05. Alrighty 3:16
06. Telepathic 3:13
07. Even More 4:08
08. Spider 3:54
09. Sasquatch 5:46
10. Terrifying Sight 5:14
11. Deferred Gratification 3:05
Ξ All tracks written by Ani DiFranco.
Ξ Jenny Scheinman and Ivan Neville join the band for more than half of the record. Other musicians showing up on the album include Maceo Parker, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey. The album was mixed by Tchad Blake (who has worked with The Black Keys, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, and many others).Ani DiFranco: Binary Review
By Holly Gleason | May 19, 2017 | 9:16am | Score: 8.6
Ξ Like a favorite chair, it’s easy to take Ani DiFranco for granted. Always there, always as expected, always comfortable/satisfying in her execution, it’s easy to miss the standards she maintains. And the way she pushes at the cuticle of the female condition in such delightfully savory ways.
Ξ On Binary, DiFranco casts a vast net across influences as she hones deeply humanist social commentary. Invoking Wiktionary’s definition of “binary” as not comparable, the activist/feminist/songwriter uses music to make the political alluring in a time of great stridence and division. Whether the lush soul/folk of “Pacifist’s Lament,” a silken consideration of being easier to stop trouble long before it starts that evokes “Gandhi and Dr. King and Aung San Suu Kyi” or the thumping sneaky funk of “Play God,” a throwdown for women’s physical autonomy in a right to life world, the Grammy and Woody Guthrie Award winner makes music so narcotic, the listener gets lost in the melody and groove long before they realize what truths these songs contain.
Ξ As always, DiFranco — now living in New Orleans — mines her own life and perspective for Binary’s 11 songs. But more than personal details, it’s a personal manifesto for times like these. The staccato skip of “Telepathic” makes the case for empathy, while the trombone/clarinet/trumpet accented “Deferred Gratification” is a lullaby to impulse control and the check~your~gratitude “Terrifying Sight,” which suggests Kate Bush in her prime, crafts that vortex of greater good that defines DiFranco.
Ξ Working with legendary alto saxman Maceo Parker, multi~instrumental New Orleans royalty Ivan Neville, violinist Jenny Scheinman and jazz bassist/Tiny Resistor Todd Sickafoose, the playing recalls Joni Mitchell’s fluidly Charles Mingus~informed pop years. Conjuring atmospherics and a quiet tension give “Zizzing” its erotic torque and disintegration; with background vocals from Bon Iver/Justin Vernon, it uses a very few words to suggest the rise, fall and confusion around desire.
Ξ Numbering Prince, Pete Seeger, Cyndi Lauper, Chuck D, Rob Wasserman and Utah Phillips as collaborators, the songwriter’s far flung musical curiosity opens portals of rhythm and cross~genre explorations of pop forms. On the minimalist shuffle “Sasquatch,” punctuated by…wait for it…panting, DiFranco twirls a lyric that taunts, then invites the monster to come out and surrender to (unconditional) love. Neville’s blue jazz piano runs ripple though the almost toy soldier snare drum as DiFranco intones a come hither that is as much playful as tender.
Ξ Comfortably merging politics and humanity, odd genre hybrids and supple playing, Binary finds DiFranco’s 19th solo studio album provocative and thought~provoking. Making people think, evidently, is as easy as moving their soles, so their soul can follow. •¬ https://www.pastemagazine.com/
Written by Alex Gallacher, 11 April, 2017
|Ani DiFranco — Binary (June 9, 2017)|