So last week’s Oh! Inverted World extravaganza at The Old Queens Head was a bit good! The bafflingly-titled but superb 9-piece Professor Penguin opened up in style, while former Absentee frontman Dan Michaelson swept us away with a stripped back set that even featured Romeo of Magic Numbers fame on guitar.
We also had a new star in the making filling the middle slot in I Am Harlequin. A spellbinding 30-minute set left us wanting more, and now we’ve got the track “Marianne” which has just been made available for free download for you good folk.
Enchanting and innovative, I am Harlequin is the creation of German-born, London-based musician Anne Freier who writes, records and produces all her own music. Having grown up in East Germany at the end of the GDR regime, Anne was introduced to the world of ballet and opera when the wall finally came down. This inspiration led to her embracing a menagerie of instruments, creating a bold and intricate sound in her music. Her sophisticated, off-kilter arrangements owe as much to a classical background as to a veracious love of melody, forming stirring and unforgettable pop songs.
For Marianne, Anne told us the inspiration came loosely from a woman she used to know, “‘She would eat men up like sushi dishes on a conveyor belt in order to get her way. In the song, she convinces the main character to fall in love with her. He then falls prey to her game-playing and abuse.
It is an almost demonic depiction of greed and power; Marianne wanting ‘ever more’, but also a criticism on a misinterpretation of feminism. Marianne gains her power through challenge and abuse. But historical payback is not what I consider feminism to be about.”
The sultry, dream-like vocals and instrumentation on ‘Marianne’ is just one side of the range that Anne has. Inspirations for I Am Harlequin can be drawn from classical music, particularly the Russians of the 20th century (Prokofiev, Rimski-Korsakow, Rachmaninoff), to the advanced choir arrangements in Stephen Sondheim musicals, as well as Kate Bush, Rickie Lee Jones, Grace Slick and Joni Mitchell, whom she grew up listening to.
I Am Harlequin has recently been turning heads at her early live shows and we’re really excited to have this new track as a pre-curser to the forthcoming single to be released later this summer, ahead of her debut album. Already proving to be a prolific songwriter in both range and ideas, I Am Harlequin is going to be a big One To Watch over the coming months.
Following acclaimed performances at both Oh! Inverted World and Liverpool Sound City last week, I Am Harlequin plays Brighton Festival this week ahead of a full tour later in the year. Here is the superb ‘Marianne’ for your ears, head to
to hear more!
I Am Harlequin – Marianne