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TBTS Reviews: Tori Amos – Night Of Hunters

October 2, 2011

On Night of Hunters (Deutsche Grammaphon)  Tori Amos has garnered a mini-orchestra to help her achieve a more classical approach to her newest material. Digging deeply into the catalogue of various composers over the past 400 years gave Amos a veritable bumper crop of inspirational flora with which to arrange her latest bouquet of tunes. Works from Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bach, Debussy, Schumann and more are each credited as the model for Amos’s variations. Hunters has the energetic spirit of Little Earthquakes and the reflective thoughtfulness of Scarlet’s Walk, making for quite a nice combination indeed. Amos also enlisted her daughter, Natashaya Hawley, to add vocals to a small handful of tracks. Hawley is certainly her mothers daughter, musically speaking at least, and her voice lends such a fresh flavor to Amos’s well established style that it cannot be undervalued on this record.

For the first time on tour Amos will be performing with a string quartet, and not just any quartet, but the phenomenal Apollon Musagete, who appear on nine of Hunters thirteen songs. John Philip Shenale is expanding beyond the string arrangements he did for the album by exploring Amos’s previous releases in order to make greater use of the quartet live. Surely an event not to be missed, if passage can be arranged to a venue of reasonable proximity, although her schedule so far has been limited to big cities.

If you have always been curious about Tori Amos, or if you’re just a disenchanted fan that got lost along the way, patiently waiting for her to return to what drew you to her in the first place: this is that album. The deluxe edition of which is packaged as a beautiful full color hardcover booklet and accompanying DVD with three music videos and ‘making of’ footage. Night of Hunters is grand, vivid and generously deep in its expression. “Edge of the Moon,” “Snowblind,” “Star Whisperer” and the title track are all among Amos’s finest compositions. She plays at her highest level here, having recorded some of the most enchanting piano of her career.

If you are looking for a lovely listen, a musical story to lose yourself in by the fireplace on a crisp, cool autumn evening, Night Of Hunters would be an excellent choice.

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