Sarah Maria Sun: Killer Instincts

Sarah Maria Sun: Killer Instincts

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Mode Records - A Record Label Devoted to New Music Sarah Maria Sun: Killer Instincts

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Life’s Been Good  (Joe Walsh)  2:23

There’s A Law About Men  (Leonard Bernstein, from: Trouble in Tahiti)  4:33

1. Lucky Day Overture  (Tom Waits, from: Black Rider)  2:41
2. Justice  (Alan Price, from: O Lucky Man!)  2:26
3. When You’re Good To Mama  (John Kander, Fred Ebb, from: Chicago)  2:59
4. Lied des Lotterieagenten  (Kurt Weill, Georg Kaiser, from: Der Silbersee)  4:42
5. Political Science (Let’s Drop The Big One)  2:20  (Randy Newman)
6. Hitler  (Stefan Wolpe)  3:08
7. I Put A Spell On You  (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)  4:43
8. I Don’t Understand The Poor  (Steven Lutvak, Robert L. Freedman, from: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder)  4:09
9. Just The Right Bullets  (Tom Waits, from: Black Rider)  3:20
10. There’s A Law About Men  (Leonard Bernstein, from: Trouble in Tahiti)  4:33
11. Life’s Been Good  (Joe Walsh)  2:23
12. Glitter And Be Gay  (Leonard Bernstein, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, from: Candide)  6:34
13. A Little Brains, A Little Talent  (Richard Adler, Jerry Ross, from: Damn Yankees)  3:38
14. The Ladies Who Lunch  (Stephen Sondheim, from: Company)  4:15
15. Abschied Von Der Erde, D. 829  (Franz Schubert, Adolf von Pratobevera)  3:04

Sarah Maria Sun,  voices
with The Gurks:
Jan Philip Schulze, piano, organ
Hubert Steiner, electric, acoustic & Hawaiian guitars, banjo, bass guitar
Bernd Oezsevim, drums & percussion
Axel Nitz, baritone saxophone
Max Renne, piano
Chorus Voices on “I Don’t Understand the Poor”: Jan Philip Schulze, Brian Brandt, Regina Stärke, Sarah Maria Sun

Arrangements: Max Renne, Sarah Maria Sun

Sarah Maria Sun’s “Killer Instincts” is a gloriously creative and colorful collection of songs about bad people doing bad things. It is also a concept album — a pleasurable journey in bad people’s shoes.

To find just the right lyrics, Sarah brought together songs from a wide range of genres — from classical art song, opera, Broadway, movie soundtracks, to classic rock and pop. How can this mix work? In these songs, Sarah inhabits a wide range of characters, at the same displaying her amazing abilities in disparate styles.

The arrangements, by Max Renne and Sarah, are as clever as the repertoire. Bernstein’s virtuoso “Glitter and Be Gay” is reimagined for an ensemble of banjos and guitar, and his “There’s a Law About Men” is sung to an electronic background of the orchestral accompaniment chopped and minced with filters.

Joe Walsh’s rock classic “Life’s Been Good” is accompanied by just bass guitar. Tom Waits’ “Just the Right Bullets” becomes a wild west meets surf music arrangement. Others are sung basically straight: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell on You,” the Schubert melodrama “Abschied von der Erde” and the first recording of Stefan Wolpe’s harrowing “Hitler.”

Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride!

Packaged in deluxe Digipak with 32-page book including all of the song texts in English and German.


"Bleakness, Elevated Stylishly:
Sarah Maria Sun’s recent album, “Killer Instincts,” could be a soundtrack for our times."

During the third season of Netflix’s Weimar-era noir series, “Babylon Berlin,” the character Charlotte sings along to a recording of “Raus mit den Männern” (in English, “Chuck Out the Men!”). If the song by Friedrich Hollaender, a composer who wrote for cabarets, films and revues, makes you hungry for more politically jaundiced tunes, consider a recent album by the singer Sarah Maria Sun. Titled “Killer Instincts,” her recording is a satisfying side dish of satire: mordant in outlook, effervescent in detail.

Sun and her band, the Gurks, use a clattering, contemporary production sound to provide some consistency among songs that move from interwar compositions to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “I Put a Spell on You” to gems from Broadway. (Think of Tom Waits at the cabaret, with greater vocal range.) Whether Sun is performing a selection from Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” or a Stefan Wolpe tune from 1930 that laments Hitler’s rising political fortunes, she musters a stylish way of singing about bleak times.

Bernstein’s writing for the stage results in another highlight for Sun. Her performance of “Glitter and Be Gay” (from “Candide”) contains a banjo-led arrangement you never knew you needed. The twangy instrumental accompaniment and Sun’s coloratura brilliance are equally refined; together, they mock putative distinctions between “high” and “low” cultural practices with an energy that any satirist could admire.

— Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times, 28 May 2020.



Sarah Maria SUN Profile

Olivier MESSIAEN: Harawi — with Stefka Perifanova, piano
mode 310/11 (2-LPs or digital)

Modern Lied: Sarah Maria Sun (soprano) & Jan Philip Schulze (piano) perform works by Heinz HOLLIGER: Sechs Lieder nach Gedichten von Christian Morgenstern (1956/57); Salvatore SCIARRINO: Due Melodie; Helmut LACHENMANN: Got Lost; György KURTAG: Requiem po drugu op. 26; Wolfgang RIHM: Ophelia Sings; Bernhard LANG: Wenn die Landschaft aufhört
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