Stargazing with Rufus Wainwright
  • WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2006

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Rufus Wainright has announced that his next album, Release the Stars, will be the singer's first self-produced record. Neil Tennant (of the Pet Shop Boys) has joined the project as executive producer. According to Wainwright's website, Stars is slated for release in May 2007.

The Germans are quicker than us, apparently, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper ran an article about the Wainwright-Tennant collaboration back in August. Since you can't read the piece without shelling out a few Euros - and since it's written in German - here's a translated excerpt:


Der Hitman von Köpenick ("The Hitman of Köpenick)

How does one actually record a string quartet? That’s the question on the mind of two world famous popstars on a Tuesday afternoon. Neil Tennant, 52, frontman of the Pet Shop Boys, and Rufus Wainwright, 33, labeled “best songwriter of our time” by Elton John, are conferring at the mixer in Room 4 of the former DDR-radio building in Berlin-Köpenick. In the studio, behind a thick sheet of glass, sit four young orchestra musicians, who have just played a string arrangement for Rufus Wainwright’s new record and are waiting to continue.

Again and again, both pop musicians listen to the recording. Wainwright doesn’t look happy. Should it sound like a live recording, Tennant asks, because it does. No, says Wainwright, actually it should sound like Fauré . Hm. Finally, they agree to add a little echo to the microphone during the next take – which does indeed sound a lot better.

Rufus Wainwright is in Berlin to record his new album, and he has asked his friend Neil Tennant to lend him a hand. Actually, Sam Mendes had planned to look in, the famous director, who is shooting a documentary about Wainwright at the moment, but something came up. So the musicians are left alone with a sound engineer in the oversized, mostly empty, ostentatious East German building, in which time seems to have stood still since the fifties. “Nobody's Off the Hook” is the name of the piece they’re working on today, and although it’s a classic pop song, with verses and a chorus, it still sounds like Mahler, Brahms, Bernstein, and a hint of Debussy. - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

****
For another Wainwright article (in English, too!), check out this piece from The Observer.


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