What others are saying...
"Eileen's fearlessly distilled lyrics and exhilarating guitar find a jungle of sounds with Peter Langston. Sudden turns, musical adventure, not for the timid. Advanced ears take note, this is a cd worth a real listening date, embraced by excellent headphones, lyric booklet propped open, hungry for all the nuances. Enjoy the feast!!!"
long-time fan Kristina Olsen, (and international touring musician)
"Eileen Cuba's new CD is rich, multi-layered and complex like a fantastic wine. The instrumentation and support from Peter Langston is brilliant, and helps Eileen's unusual guitar playing, singing and intricate lyrics shine. Likewise, the production on this recording is stand-out. If you could mix Laurie Anderson, Ani Difranco, and the Beatles...and great wine...you'd have this CD".
Anne Weiss, touring blues folk musician
"Wow, double wow, triple wow. It's a beautiful piece of art. The musicianship, the singing, the bvox, the words, all of it."
Linda Waterfall, Seattle singer/songwriter, composer, producer
"What is Eileen's Cuba's Simple Geometry? A) Rock and Roll. B) Folk C) Beatific Underworld Rhythm and Blues D) All of the Above The answer is D). But to get a little more descriptive... Start with Eileen's guitar chord progressions. No more like Trigometric patterns. Then add vocals and lyrics as if Joni Mitchell had emerged out of late 70s Punk rather than 60s Folk and then took 30 years off to study Soul Physics in another galaxy and returned with a microscope in one eye and a telescope in the other and subterranean homesick messages of the heart, and accompanied by a band of other worldly heroes who had absorbed all there is to know of Chuck Berry, X, Nirvana, The Ronettes, psychedelic jug music, and angelic choirs. With Peter Langston firing as many stringed weapons he could get his hands on and producer Johnny Sangster shooting pop-rockets into unlikely places in the sub-atomic mix, this is an album that you might not know that you want, but it is what you need."
"Cuba’s songs play like beautiful indie film dreamscapes. Simple Geometry is a kaleidoscope of ferocious desire, fragile pain, simple joy, and some delicious trips to the edge. The colors and shapes rearrange incredibly between cuts. Langston’s bold guitar work is a terrific addition to Cuba’s rhythms, adding depth and a just right, off-kilter David Byrne sensibility. My favorites: New Math, Blue Bird, Too Close, Touchtaptwisttremble, and Frozen; which never ceases to make me cry. And you gotta love a line like: "I close my eyes when I drive, but only at night, and only on 5" (Truth or Dare). The songs get deeper with every listen, so listen closely and repeatedly, and be prepared to experience life through Cuba’s fearless, wide open senses."
Lee, CD Baby
Eileen Cuba: Press
Cuba came in at the tail end of my running open mikes in the NW while Langston was part of Entropy Service in the early 70's with Judy Cook, Linda Waterfall and JB White (CDs of that group at www.peterlangston.com).
In late 1990 I reviewed a Cuba tape done in Miami, before she moved here and got involved in PSGWS. That introduced her to Langston. This is folk rock with up front vocal and good instrumental balance.
She maintains that haunting soulful singing style, but now with more body and maturity in songs like "New Math" showing the loneliness of losing the grip on a relationship. The slow insinuating mood continues on "One Inch of Water" with a Spanish guitar and dissonant mood. Langston takes multiple roles with bass, guitar and vocals. Another Ancient Victorys performer Alicia Healey is on many backup vocals including "Blue Bird" with electric organ push of Johnny Sangster.
Eileen paints scenery so well like the country fields and farms, familiar looks of a home, the yard, all the while emitting the youthful visions. "Simple Geometry" shows how un-simple it is when things don't fit, like a "circle in a square box". Like many of her songs the music moves, almost forced walking, weaving through ideas and landscapes while building the tension and delivery. She talk sings the walk in "Truth or Dare" highlighting that "do you really want to hear the truth', kind of a Jack Nicholson moment. "Touch Tap Twist Tremble" breaks the tempo quick stepping the same theme of a guy "I need jive, I have absolutely no need to see your insides." This digs right in and grabs you again using slight dissonance in guitars to get your attention. The kalimba driven song focuses the dreams and ideas of music that come, and how we have to believe we can translate those to functioning music.
Great thematic. Like the simple acoustic guitar and vocal of "Frozen." Images of falling through love in frozen breaths and then love that is just frozen end in that you must take your stuff away. We wander in an insinuating motion off the "Deep End" to close the fine set of tunes as daughter and mother dance life's conflict.
Simple Geometry is about rhythm and relationships. In a mostly staccato monotone, Eileen Cuba's alto voice sings and speaks her poetry. As one might gather from the title of the CD, many of these original pieces use geometry as a metaphor and describe relationships in terms of angles, shapes, sizes, equations and arithmetic. This is especially true of the title track and track 1, "New Math."
In other pieces, nature and sound are the predominate themes. "Blue Bird," is my favorite. It really shows off Cuba's talent for descriptive writing. My only criticism of Cuba's lyrics is that she really pushes a theme. She makes her point, however.
Cuba does not write in iambic pentameter or play every song in
4/4 time. Her rhythms and the chords she chooses to express them with are more complicated than that, and therefore more interesting.
The guitar work that supports this effort is right on the mark. Peter Langston plays lead electric guitar on most of the tracks. Cuba plays acoustic. It's a powerful combination backed up nicely by Johnny Sangster on bass, percussion, electric piano, harmonium and farfisa, Alicia Healey on vocals, Mark Pickerel on drums and Jim Sangster on bass. Simple Geometry does have its more melodic moments. "Frozen," is a pretty song made more so by Paul Elliot's violin.
Simple Geometry is not Cuba's first recording. In 1990 Chris Lunn reviewed a tape of her recordings in Victory Review, and in 2003 Alicia Healey produced and engineered Cuba's EP If.
Simple Geometry is well worth listening to. It's perfect for people looking for something a little out of the ordinary, something that challenges our ideas about folk music.