Tori Amos
Night of Hunters


3.5
great

Review

by Iai EMERITUS
October 12th, 2011 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A headfirst lunge toward classical music inspires Tori to her best effort since Choirgirl.

To say that Night of Hunters is highly conceptual is no great shock; that's what Tori Amos does these days, be it the cross-country tour of Scarlet's Walk, the gender-twisting Strange Little Girls, or the split-personailty conceit of American Doll Posse. It was more of a shock that Abnormally Attracted to Sin didn't have a concept, if anything.

Yet for the first time since Scarlet's Walk, the more you read about the concept and the recording process, the more interesting it becomes. It's the first time she's recorded everything acoustically? Couldn't care less. It's inspired by classical music? Okay, not too surprising - she's classically trained, after all. Her daughter appears on a couple of songs? Could be interesting. It's a set of variations on themes by composers including Chopin, Bach, Satie, Debussy, and Mendelssohn? Definitely interesting. It's being released on Deutsche Grammophon, an honest-to-goodness classical label? Whoa, really? They've given her access to world-renowned orchestras, producers, soloists, and conductors from the classical world? Nice!

If that all sounds fascinating and exciting to you (and it certainly did to me), you'll be glad to know that Night of Hunters sounds almost exactly like you've just imagined it, and it's her best album since From the Choirgirl Hotel.

The first thing you'll notice about Night of Hunters is that it sounds beautiful. The experience of the producers and instrumentalists working here is immediately evident, because everything played with great sensitivity and put together in the mix in a way that allows each instrument its own space. Were it not for Tori's voice, it could easily pass for the kind of chamber music Deutsche Grammophon normally trades in. Tori responds to this in kind, with some of the most subtle, tender playing and singing of her career. It's a palpably 'warm' album, in more ways than one.

Similarly impressive is the way Tori treats her source material. The range of it alone is worth applauding - there are famous works by household names like Bach's Prelude in C minor (""Seven Sisters"), Debussy's The Girl with the Flaxen Hair ("Carry") and Chopin's Nocturne no. 9 ("Cactus Practice") rubbing shoulders with more obscure works by Charles-Valentin Alkan and Enrique Granados (who appears twice). Similarly, the list ranges from the Baroque era (Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in F minor) to late Romanticism (Erik Satie's Gnossienne no. 1). Yet, for all the variety, Tori has carved out an album that feels like a self-contained work, and that arguably flows more naturally as an album than anything she's ever recorded - and she's done it while respecting her source material, leaving each piece recognisable as a variation, but also making them recognisably Tori.

Perhaps the success of this album is to be expected. She's always been a great interpreter of song, with several of her covers of songs by acts as disparate as Nirvana, Eminem, Bill Withers, and Slayer remaining firm fan favourites. That she has been so successful in transferring that ability from the world of popular music to the world of classical music is certainly to be applauded, but she'd given us plenty of clues that she'd be able to pull it off. Still, Night of Hunters feels refreshing, unique, and utterly lovely; it's another great success in a career that has quite a few of them.



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user ratings (90)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
October 12th 2011


15756 Comments


very nicely done. always had something of a soft spot for tori, probably because i grew up with older sisters in the 90s

VicariousIntent
October 12th 2011


1628 Comments


Lovely review, I'm very excited to listen to this album. Tori was once wonderful but hasn't been for so long, and I was tired of disappointing myself by listening to her albums. I will definitely give this a shot though.

Acanthus
October 12th 2011


9812 Comments


This mad my morning, seeing this review. Must give this a listen soon!

dcha
October 12th 2011


990 Comments


Think of all the kitties and puppies.

AsoTamaki
October 12th 2011


2524 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice to finally see a review of this.



The musical performances are absolutely superb. It's such a pleasure simply listen to instruments. Sadly, I haven't felt compelled to listen to this much since the week it came out (overload of good new releases) so I haven't gotten too deep into the lyrical concept. Tori's kid sounds great on her parts too even though I'm typically not a fan of child singers. One thing I did notice is that with the songs I seemed to enjoy most, I was already familiar with and love they pieces they were based on. Not sure if that's an indication of how much Tori's additions had to with the quality of the music.



This was executed miles better than Midwinter Graces, but I hope the trend stops with this one and she returns to completely original compositions on the next record. AATS was her best work since the 90's.

foreverendeared
October 12th 2011


14720 Comments


"A headfirst lunge toward classical music inspires Tori to her best effort since Choirgirl."

If this is true, then whoahhhhh. From The Choirgirl Hotel is an incredible album.

Zantera
October 13th 2011


130 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really loved this album to be honest, it all comes down to how well it will age, but a really really good album IMO.

Piglet
October 13th 2011


8474 Comments


been a while since i've listened to her, might get this.
decent review by the way

Spec
October 13th 2011


39374 Comments


Isn't this the bitch that went on some insane rant that she was better than every metal band?

Det_Nosnip
October 13th 2011


374 Comments


Mmm this sounds good...will have to check it out. I haven't kept up with Tori since ~Strange Little Girls, but her early stuff is amazing and she's awesome live.

Goatlord
October 14th 2011


405 Comments


Tori Amos looks like an over-sized troll doll. Kinda funny that a blatant feminist went over the deep end with plastic surgery, eh?

Spec
October 14th 2011


39374 Comments


Nope.

http://www.antimusic.com/news/11/sep/ts21Tori_Amos_Issues_Metal_Band_Challenge.shtml

Muikuli
October 14th 2011


195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^Taken out of context and being misinterpreted afaic



Good review. I think Tori was at her peak in the mid to late 90s, but this is the best album of her later career.

KILL
October 15th 2011


81580 Comments


gonna check this

natey
October 22nd 2011


4195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Isn't this the bitch that went on some insane rant that she was better than every metal band?



not so insane, maybe unnecessary

seedofnothing
December 29th 2011


3422 Comments


I haven't even heard this but I'm gonna "m/" it anyways.

Dreamflight
December 29th 2011


2199 Comments


Do it man.

Your ghost and the edge of the moon rule hard.

seedofnothing
December 29th 2011


3422 Comments


I'm on that!!

menawati
October 2nd 2012


16715 Comments


was, is, and always will be a kate bush ripoff

Cygnatti
December 1st 2012


36020 Comments


is she really?



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