Jealousy and Diamond . Autistic Daughters
“Jealousy and Diamond is profoundly rich in texture and atmosphere. A delicate jazz hover permeates the pores of each and every track, while Dean Roberts’ guitar grounds the music in an other-worldly folk amalgamation that shimmers with its extreme, hushed beauty. Breathtaking music.” (Boomkat)
Recorded at Amann studios in Vienna with bassist Werner Dafeldecker and drummer Martin Brandlmayr, "Jealousy and Diamond" marks the return of Dean Roberts to the band format. "Jealousy and Diamond" is the group's first statement. The CD version of this album was released by the American Kranky label.
As Roberts told dB magazine in Australia in early 2004, "our capabilities instrumentally and compositionally, in engineering and production match, and moreover our friendship keeps it all together. We are able to say and do what we want and the vision is entirely collective." Created by live performance and processed and enhanced in the studio, "Jealousy and Diamond" builds to higher volume levels than Robert’s previous solo album, "Be Mine Tonight", and turns on a more assertive rhythm section. Basic tracks were recorded in Vienna in April 2003 by Roberts, Dafeldecker and Brandlmayr. Dean Roberts recorded additional voices, guitars and miscellaneous instruments with Valerie Tricoli (who was such a crucial part of the "Be Mine Tonight" recordings) in Bologna , Italy in the fall of 2003. With the members travelling and involved in multiple groups the mastering of the album was finished in early summer 2004 by Patrick Pulsinger.
The Autistic Daughters is the trio of New Zealander Dean Roberts and the Viennese Martin Brandlmayr (Radian, Trapist) and Werner Dafeldecker (Polwechsel).
Dean Roberts plays guitar, vocals, harmonica, harmonium and percussion, Martin Brandlmayr plays drums, vibraphone and electronics and Werner Dafeldecker plays electric bass and contra bass. Guest musicians were Valerio Tricoli (Loops, Handclaps, Campanelli, B-Vocals) and Anthony Guerra (Guitar, Palermo Hand-Clappers Union).
Dean Roberts has spent the last half-decade searching for the most appropriate settings for his words. 2000’s And the Black Moths Play the Grand Cinema, recorded in New York with Tim Barnes, saw dissembled fragments of text strewn across a livid magnesium plate of cracked textures. Roberts’ own internalisation of Brian Eno’s “Cindy Tells Me” suggested another avenue: the performer as translator, as conduit for the accumulated detritus of a song’s past, the hidden alternate readings of each song’s history brought to life.
With 2003’s Be Mine Tonight, Roberts introduced characters: now nameless, there almost faceless, characters whose sole purpose was to act, and be acted upon, while navigating alien cities - their mapping of the “real world” continuously disrupted by their own psychological profile, with each song watched, perhaps, from the windows of the building sketched on the album’s cover. (Inanimate buildings filled with/by “images” of people - not necessarily the people themselves.) Here Roberts discovered a new dynamic for his music: the crescendos of intensity in his 1990s free noise group Thela, once disrupted and cauterised via electronic processing on All Cracked Medias and the Grand Cinema, now dissolved and distant. This, of course, made his music far more dramatic, each new distance between human voice and recording device suggesting an improbably infinite terrain.
Terrain multiplies, people populate; on Jealousy and Diamond, the players in Roberts’ dioramas fall together, their stories interweave and they meet in a multitude of urban spaces. These songs pass through unnamed streets (the ambivalence has henceforth shifted from the characters that act to the byways via which these characters reach places that are acted within), and the characters’ actions are observed from open doors, windowsills, phone booths, in taxis (communication and/in transit). These people now have names, histories, and quotidian purpose, meaning Roberts’ songs are inhabited more than before.
So therefore, the Autistic Daughters, the group Roberts helms alongside Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr, with Valerio Tricoli as engineer, co-producer, and part of the touring unit. Now that Roberts’ stories are more intricate, his songs require more interplay - characters multiply, songs are thus populated. Brandlmayr and Dafeldecker bring a cumulative history in improvised and composed music, a keen ear for arrangement, and a knack for leaving spaces in songs the better to let uncertainty peek through, to show that the interactions and occurrences in Roberts’ lyrics are far from seamless.