Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label with Night of Hunters, set for release this September. The iconic, platinum-selling singer-songwriter continues her legacy of ground-breaking recordings with this 21st century song cycle inspired by select classical pieces spanning the last 400 years.
With Night of Hunters, Amos carries on the classical tradition of variations on a theme: taking inspiration from classical forms to create a bold new work while paying tribute to the mastery of the original compositions.
Tori has provided an introduction to her album, track by track, after the jump.
Night of Hunters is a song cycle that begins with a shattering of a relationship as the sun begins to slowly disappear and dusk moves in. Alone in an old Georgian House on the river Bandon on the outskirts of Kinsale Co Cork Ireland, tori begins to piece together what has just happened in Shattering Sea. The “him” in tori’s life we learn carries the force of tide and wave as she carries the force of fire.
She soon meets a shapeshifting creature named Anabelle who appears firstly to tori as a fox and explains to her that only with the night and darkness can we truly begin to see with our inner eyes. Anabelle suggests that a missing fragment in the couple’s story lies back in ancient Ireland. She encourages tori to allow herself to cross time and space and go back in time mentally to where this couple walked these same hills but in Ireland’s mythic past.
With Anabelle’s ability to see the past tori reclaims a key fragment of her past with “him” in Battle of Trees. This epic battle took place possibly around 3,000 years ago. The battle was not only for those with physical weapons but always included poets on both sides who used the ancient tree alphabet The Beth-Luis-Nion (Birch-Rowan-Ash) to fight each other. The power of the poet in ancient Ireland was unlike anything in our modern world. But a poet’s wrath, if skillfully turned on a ruler of an opposing army, could shame them to such an extent that a psychological advantage could be achieved for the poet’s army.
Eventually in ancient Ireland, as invasions grew steadily on the island, the respect for the White Goddess was supplanted by those who worshipped the Thunder God in all his many forms. Our couple fought on the same side as poets against these invaders. We all know that the goddess worshipping culture was subjecated by the Thunder God and then Christianity suppressed any inkling of the goddess culture even further.
In Fearlessness, tori collects another memory of her recent past with “him”. Doubt and Blame seem to have come between the couple. Here their life on the sea comes to life. On their recent Atlantic Crossing on his sailboat from the new world to the old world Outside Forces begin to pull them apart so that by the end of the song we hear: “Then that was when the Blame began, what were once two forces joined in Fearlessness.”
Anabelle then shares her view of the couple and makes tori aware that “Every couple has a version of what they call the truth.” Anabelle tells tori to call all that lies beneath both stories back to her own fire and to embrace the truth of what she finds. Anabelle has turned into her goose shape. Anabelle offers tori an elixir of cactus to open up tori’s vision and her heart so that she can actually claim her part in this shattering separation from “Him”. As with any elixir, it’s job is to take the participant to a depth of feeling and understanding that they have not been able to achieve in the cold light of day.
Star Whisperer is where tori begins to sing directly to his soul. She refers to “him” as you for the first time in our song cycle. “He” begins to have a voice and perspective as he speaks to her through different instruments. The elixir Anabelle has given tori has taken her into the dimension of Star Whisperer which is over 9 minutes in length and becomes an emotional discovery whereby tori realizes that, “you saw a me I didn’t want to see” as well as, ” I saw a you I didn’t want to see”.
Next, Anabelle, as fox, asks tori about the day she abandoned her force of fire. She also warns us that “There is a grid of disempowerment” and that, ” All forces are being called to dismantle this”. As the constellation Job’s Coffin looks down on Earth, we learn that Anabelle is here to call all forces, “back on line”. She explains that looming in our present reality, “There exists a power of old who wanted Earth to be controlled”.
In Nautical Twilight, tori reveals when she turned her back on her own force of fire – “I abandoned it rupturing a delicate balance when I left my world for his”. She now sees what this has done to imbalance their relationship. She expands on the idea Anabelle planted in Job’s Coffin about ” a power of old who wanted earth to be controlled”. The consequence of any force turning their back on their own power is no different than using it for destructive purposes. tori realizes she must make the choice to reactivate her inner life force.
Your Ghost is tori singing to “him” after having met his ghost. “Your Ghost has shown me our primroses could survive the frost if a gentle rivulet of flame is sustained tenderly.” She acknowledges she created a forest of glass and that she understands now that he was also wounded in the shattering of their relationship. She also tells him that both of their forces have the power to “heal what was cut and bruised”.
Edge of the Moon reveals a vow that “he” made to tori. She begins to remember what their relationship was like before the two of them allowed outside forces to pull them apart. In both Your Ghost and Edge of the Moon, we hear that there is a depth of feeling that still exists between the couple. The blame and the anger each had towards the other is transmuting itself into a place where the depth of their love for each other is stronger than the damage that was done to their relationship.
With that understanding of how she really feels, during The Chase, Anabelle announces she must go and leaves tori with the Fire Muse. The Fire Muse reveals herself through an actual flaming life-size fire that Anabelle dances around getting tori to show the Fire Muse the riddle she has been taught. Anabelle explains that she, in her fox/goose form, is the hunter and the hunted which carries the force of duality and neutrality. Although a different kind of hunter/predator force seems to be closing in around them, Anabelle must continue on her mission of calling all forces to wake and to use their powers to out-create the forces who have chosen to use their power for destructive purposes. The riddle Anabelle has taught tori is old magic and is teaching her the skill of shapeshifting from the hunted to the hunter, Anabelle’s power. She warns tori that “out there”, in order to survive the predators, she must out think them, out create them, and apply everything Anabelle has taught her, or she could literally lose her head.
The Fire Muse begins her message to tori with,”rose so red this night of hunters, find love instead of their blood by your thorn.” The Fire Muse acknowledges that some of the dark forces gathering hunt for power, others, to invade children’s dream. tori’s first instinct is to for revenge against these dark forces. The Fire Muse explains that the children’s dreams must be reclaimed. With the assistance of the Seven Sisters, a frequency is put in place to watch over the children’s dreams and guard them against the dark forces that would invade these children.
The Seven Sisters bring tori to the force Love and for the first time she has gratitude for the people that have come into her life and even though they may leave, for whatever reason, they are not truly gone.
With the dawn comes Carry, and the sentiment, “you will not ever be forgotten by me in the precession of the might stars your name is sung and tattooed now on my heart here I will carry carry carry you forever.”
Tori Amos July 2011