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Ys [Import]

Joanna Newsom Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.87 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Ys + Have One On Me (Vinyl) + Milk-Eyed Mender (Vinyl)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 87.32

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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. Emily
2. Monkey & Bear
3. Sawdust & Diamonds
4. Only Skin
5. Cosmia

Product Description


Joanna Newsom's voice--a piercing flutter that's pitched somewhere between Björk and a hand brake--is an acquired taste. But to the uninitiated, it's not nearly as impenetrable as her cosmic poetry or, for that matter, baroque music. The 24-year-old Californian harpist's second album is a five-track concept piece loosely based on its namesake, the mythological drowned city of the Bretons. We say "loosely" because she leaves plenty of room for digressions on meteoroids and birds flying into windows. While Ys was recorded by minimalist Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey), it includes lush string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks (Brian Wilson) and the final mix was done by sonic experimentalist Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Tortoise). The result is an album that sounds unlike anything else. And despite containing spectacularly beguiling songs that stretch out past 15 minutes, every second seems to drip with magic. You certainly don't get that with Ashlee Simpson. --Aidin Vaziri

Product Description

A new Joanna Newsom album - yes! Well actually, Ys. Pronounced ''ees.'' It's the title of an almost unspeakably incredible new Joanna Newsom album. Five songs, fifty-five minutes, one what-an-album! Ys is to Ms. Newsom a dream collaboration between her voice and harp and a full orchestra - a sound many of us fans have thought we were hearing when listening with closed eyes at her concert performances. Songs familiar to Joanna's following are a big part of Ys, having been performed in concert over the past year - but not with the arrangements you'll find on four of the five songs here. The wide-screen beauty of Ys is due to, among other things, a scrupulously all-analog production involving forty-odd tracks spread over two synched-up 24-track tape machines, mixed to tape and mastered at Abbey Road, home of the all-analog mastering path!

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Unique and All the More Precious For It. April 23 2007
Format:Audio CD
It's not very often that an album comes along that defies categorisation and more rarely that it seems impossible even to trace its influences and origins.This is such an album.

I can't remember the last time I heard an album that seemed to reinvent the possibilities in music itself. I'd like to say it's a ground-breaking album but the style is too 'of itself', creating its own hermetically sealed universe into which it allows us to teleport;so it's hard to see it having much influence on the wider musical world.

I recommend if at all possible that you try and listen to the album in a distraction free environment (yes I'm talking darkened room, phone off-the-hook) it's worth the effort.

Some listeners have referred to the several listens it takes to get in to the album, I found it took about a minute and a half.
Is it folk, prose-poetry,classical or just great pop music? There are perhaps elements of all and more.

A lot is sometimes made of how unusual her voice is, but to to be honest it is more distinctive than strange and it would be fair to say that her singing has become richer and more resonant than on her earlier works(I honestly think that most critics are still reviewing the way she sounded on "The Milkeyed Mender" but she has moved on since then, while still retaining her unique sound).

The album opens with "Emily" a song so rich in imagery and strong in melody it would justify the purchase of the album on its own, conjuring visions of meteorites, skimming stones and raging seas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique & perfect Nov. 18 2006
Format:Audio CD
Both Joanna Newsom albums are amazing in their own way. They're different but yet so beautiful and unique. On Ys, Newsom goes deeper with much more powerful lyrics and a more mature sound. The five 10 minute + songs complete eachother perfectly, with a blend of melancholic french horns, pretty violins and joanna's comforting voice and harp. Nothing in this world will ever sound the same again. Brilliant from start to finish.

(backing vocals from Smog singer's bill callahan on "Only skin")
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5.0 out of 5 stars best album of the year Jan. 17 2008
Format:Audio CD
probably the best album that came out in 2007. it's only 5 songs, but each one is long in length and never tires. beautiful album. even if you're not into "freak folk," pick this up. you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Beautiful Epic Songs from Newsom April 4 2008
Format:Audio CD
I usually write reviews for movies but I've been listening to this disc since November and I have yet to get sick of it. I appreciate music as deeply as I do movies but I'm always a bit more apprehensive in asserting any strong opinions about music. To me it seems like a more subjective medium but I'm sure many will disagree. Anyway, Joanna Newsom is a harpist who sings epic folk songs with a voice as equally eclectic as Bjork's but more appropriately contained for her lyrics. The first few times I listened to this album I new immediately that these songs would take some getting used to. They are long and wordy but in time her lyrics come through and she has so much to say. I actually can't even believe Joanna Newsom is real. I'm almost tempted to say that she is some kind of collaboration of talent like some might say of William Shakespeare, but she's not. She is real and she is only in her mid-twenties. Newsom will never be a big star and she obviously doesn't care to be anyway. Her music, as I've described above, is not tailored for mainstream appeal and although the old punk in me might like her for that alone, I actually find her music massively appealing. You might too if you are open to appreciating music like this.

I'm not going to review every track individually because there is a lot to say. However, on an album with just five songs it is quite possible. The first song is probably the most appealing. It is a song called "Emily". It seems nostalgic and is about a loved one (I think her sister?) who chose a different path in life but a path Joanna seems encouraged to understand and appreciate. The only repeated lines, possibly even considered the chorus, are about the differences between a meteor, a meteorite, and a meteoroid.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunken cities Feb. 22 2007
Format:Audio CD
Joanna Newsom hasn't lost her freakfolk sound. She's just expanded it.

And she strays from conventional freakfolk in her second album, "Ys," by sticking to sprawling, intricate songs that clock in at about ten minutes average, and enhancing her folky sound with... an orchestra. It's a bit like listening to an acid-tripping fairy tell you her life story.

It opens with "Emily," a gentle little ballad that works itself up in a flow of violins. "The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow/Set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport over the pharaoh," Newsom warbles. There's a bittersweet note to the hints of loss, but Newsom also fills it with childish wonderment at the world.

Then it's time for interspecies romance in the rippling, meandering story-song "Monkey and Bear," before trickling into "Sawdust and Diamonds." Unlike the shining density of the other songs, this one is stripped down -- it's just a shimmering harp melody, and Newsom crooning softly over it.

Newsom wraps things up nicely in the final two songs. "Only Skin" is a gently expanding ballad that sounds like a medieval song, with an experimental twist. And finally there is "Cosmia," a colourful mishmash of harp, squealing violins, and Bjorkian vocals. "Dry rose petals, red round circles/Frame your eyes, and stain your knuckles..."

Supposedly "Ys" is a loose concept album, about the legendary sunken island -- a bit difference from her Narnian references in her first album. But taken only for itself, "Ys" is a magical experience, as Newsom spins song-stories about pastoral grandeur and magical nature.

Newsom also expands her music in this.
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