Baudelaire in a Box: Songs of Anguish

by New Town Drunks & Curtis Eller's American Circus

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  • A unique, hand-made artifact created by Illustrator Jamie B. Wolcott. Each 7" x 7" collector's edition volvelle (or "spinny") is constructed and screen-printed by the artist and includes an instant download of all the music. THIS IS A DIGITAL RELEASE.

    Turn the wheel to create your own cantastoria as you listen to four musicalized Baudelaire poems by Curtis Eller's American Circus and New Town Drunks!

    YouTube demonstration: youtu.be/Z_f3EPNP_Qw

    An initial run of 200 of these special items will be created.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Baudelaire in a Box: Songs of Anguish via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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BAUDELAIRE IN A BOX
Jamie B. Wolcott / Curtis Eller's American Circus / New Town Drunks

The Inspiration:
Theater Oobleck's "Baudelaire in a Box" is a serialized recasting of 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire’s "Les Fleurs du mal" that revives the ancient art of cantastoria* for a new century.

The Project:
This articulation of "Baudelaire in a Box" is a collaboration between three unique and mercurial North Carolinian artists.

The Music:
Herein we find four poems from Baudelaire's haunting classic translated into English and set to original music by North Carolinian musical eccentrics, Curtis Eller's American Circus and New Town Drunks. These musicalizations were performed live as part of Baudelaire in a Box, Episode 4: Bad Luck.

The Art:
These songs of anguish are brought to life by Jamie B. Wolcott's original, clockwork constructions. Each hand-made, screen-printed volvelle* or "spinny" illuminates the grim imagery described in the music. Turn the wheel and watch as horrors beset the heart of this poor tormented soul.

Dig Deeper:
Please visit the following websites for more work from these artists.
- Theater Oobleck: baudelaireinabox.wordpress.com
- Jamie B. Wolcott: www.jamiebwolcott.com
- Curtis Eller's American Circus: www.curtiseller.com
- New Town Drunks: www.newtowndrunks.com


* Cantastoria - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantastoria
* Volvelle - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvelle

credits

released May 27, 2015

ALBUM CREDITS:

Artwork by Jamie B. Wolcott
Mastered by Joseph Dejarnette
Special thanks to Betsy Rack

NEW TOWN DRUNKS SONGS:
Diane Koistinen: voice
Roberto Cofresí: guitarra
Stu Cole: bass
Robo Jones: trombone
Nathan Logan: drums
Doug Norton: keys, accordion

Recorded and mixed by Rick Miller at Kudzu Ranch, Mebane, NC
℗© 2014 Pirata Music (ASCAP)

CURTIS ELLER'S AMERICAN CIRCUS:
Curtis Eller: banjo & lead vocal
Dana Marks: harmony vocal
Shea Broussard: harmony vocal
Louis Landry: drums, accordion, glockenspiel, keyboards, vocal
William Dawson: vibraphone
Douglas Vuncannon: upright bass
Joseph Dejarnette: electric bass

Recorded and mixed by Joseph Dejarnette
℗© 2014 Curtis Eller (BMI)

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New Town Drunks Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“It is difficult to do justice in print to how beautifully and elegantly New Town Drunks construct their songs. Both musically and lyrically, this is a band that knows how to build a song, displaying a level of both imagination and ambition almost unheard of from any corner of popular music.
Jon Black – Awaiting the Flood
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Track Name: The Joyful Dead (Curtis Eller's American Circus)
THE JOYFUL DEAD
In the key of Am

For I have a hatred for testaments and tombs
And rather than implore the world’s sorrow
I’d sooner, while living, invite down the crows
To drain all my blood and my marrow
I’d sooner, while living, invite down the crows
To drain all my blood and my marrow

Oh Worms! Black comrades, deaf and blind
Take this dead body sinking down, joyful and free
I leave this body to you….wanton philosophers
You, wanton philosophers
You children of rotting soil!

So dig through my ruin without remorse
Learn what tortures may still haunt the bed
Of this old soulless body, dead among dead
Dead among dead
This old soulless body, dead among dead
Dead among dead
Track Name: Le Vampire (New Town Drunks)
LE VAMPIRE

You, who like a dagger ploughed into my heart
with deadly thrill, with deadly thrill, with deadly thrill.
You, who stronger than a crowd of demons,
mad, and dressed to kill, and dressed to kill,

Of my dejected soul you have made
Your bed, your lodging, and domain.

To whom I'm linked as a convict to his chain,
Or as the gamester to his dice,
the drunkard to his dram, the carrion to its lice.

I curse you. I curse you. I curse you.
Oh I wish my curse could damn.

I have besought the sudden blade
To win for me my freedom back.
Perfidious poison I have prayed
To help my cowardice.

Both poison and the sword
Disdained my cowardice, and seemed to say
You are not fit to be unchained
From your damned servitude.

You imbecile! since if from her empire
We were to liberate the slave,
You'd raise the carrion of your vampire,
By your own kisses, from the grave.
Track Name: The Albatross (Curtis Eller's American Circus)
THE ALBATROSS
In the key of Bbm

Sometimes to amuse themselves the men of the crew
Snare and albatross, those vast sea birds
That indolently trail behind the ship
As they glide over the deep and bitter blue
As they glide over the deep and bitter blue

Scarcely have they pulled them to the floor
Thos fallen kinds, clumsy and ashamed
Pathetic as they drag their great, white wings
Worthlessly behind like drifting oars

As they glide over the deep and salty blue
As they glide over the deep and salty blue
As they glide ofer the deep and salty blue
As they glide over the deep and salty blue

Well those soaring travelers flounder on the deck
Once so beautiful, now comical and weak
And the sailors lurch about like crippled beasts upon the waves
And they hsove a burning pipe under his beak

The poet is like the prince of the clouds
Who haunts the storm and mocks the archer’s bow
Imprisoned on the earth by the weight of heavy wings
Exiled here among the jeering crowds

As they glide over the deep and salty blue
As they glide over the deep and salty blue
As they glide ofer the deep and salty blue
As they glide over the deep and salty blue
Track Name: Always the Same (New Town Drunks)
ALWAYS THE SAME (SEMPER EADEM)

Whence, ask you, does this strange new sadness flow
Like rising tides on rocks, black, bare, and vast?
For human hearts, when vintage-time is past,
To live is bad: that secret all men know.

An obvious sorrow, with no mystery, shown,
Clear as your joy, to everyone around.
O curious one, seek nothing more profound,
And speak not, though your voice be sweet in tone.

Hush, ignorant! Hush, ignorant soul that's still enraptured,
And mouth of childish laughter, neatly captured.
Death pulls us more than life, with subtle wile.

Oh let my thoughts get drunk upon a lie,
And plunge, as in a dream, in either eye,
And in their lashes' shadow sleep awhile.