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Billy Martin’s Amulet Records have announced the January 21, 2014 release of The Invention of Animals by The John Lurie National Orchestra. The archival compilation assembles seven previously unreleased live and out-of-print studio recordings by the acclaimed musician, actor and visual artist John Lurie leading his early 1990s’ trio with percussionists Billy Martin and G. Calvin Weston.
“The three of us got together to try and write stuff for my band The Lounge Lizards, but what happened between Billy, Calvin and I was magical. After about a year of playing live it really came together,” says John Lurie. “There is something so unique and beautiful about this music. I don’t think there is anything else like it.”
Billy Martin adds: “John and I share the idea that this is like someone discovered a field recording of a lost civilization. Some strange and beautiful tribe unlike any other known to man.”
The Invention of Animals opens with “Flutter,” one of four National Orchestra performances culled from the soundtrack of John Lurie’s 1991 television series, Fishing With John. Also drawn from that same soundtrack are “The Beast,” “Little” and “Ignore The Giant.” The additional studio recording included here is the title track to the only official John Lurie National Orchestra album Men With Sticks released in 1993. Rounding out the collection are two previously unreleased live recordings. “I Came To Visit Here For Awhile” was preserved at the Threadwaxing Space in New York City on May 7, 1993. The album’s centerpiece and title track, “The Invention of Animals,” running at 19-minutes-plus, was captured by highly regarded sound engineer Claudia Engelhart from a performance on February 12, 1994 in Thessaloniki, Greece.
John Lurie first became known for his work in the late ’70s leading the band The Lounge Lizards, which went on to make music for 20 years. During this time, Lurie recorded 22 albums and composed scores for over 20 movies, including Stranger than Paradise, Down by Law, Mystery Train, Clay Pigeons, Animal Factory and Get Shorty, which earned him a Grammy nomination. Lurie also starred in three films directed by Jim Jarmusch, as well as a host of other films. He wrote, directed and starred in the aforementioned cult classic Fishing with John, a series that is now part of The Criterion Collection. Lurie is also responsible for the incredible music of Marvin Pontiac. Lurie emerged onto the art scene in the spring of 2004, when he had his first painting exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery. Since then Lurie’s work has been exhibited in esteemed galleries throughout the world. His solo museum exhibits include P.S.1. Contemporary Arts Center in New York, Musee Des Beaux-Arts De Montreal, the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg and the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, who gave their entire museum over to the presentation of Lurie’s work. Both the Wadsorth Athenaeum in Connecticut and The Museum of Modern Art in New York have acquired his work for their permanent collections.
The Invention of Animals by The John Lurie National Orchestra features a John Lurie painting as cover art. It will be released on digital formats, as well as limited pressing, collector’s edition 180 gram vinyl.
© 2013 John Lurie
© 2014 Hanna Hedren
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