A snippet of Britta Johnson's stop-motion animation
Last Thursday, Mirah and Spectratone International performed at the Hentry Art Gallery for the DVD release of Share This Place, their collection of songs and stop-motion animation by Britta Johnson. I already had plans to go see Jonathan Richman, so I dispatched our friendly music writer and local bassist, Erik Neumann, to go check it out for me.
Erik Neumann's review: Share This Place is a series of vignettes about different insects and is based on the writings of Jean Henri Fabre, a 19th century entomologist.
Inspired by Fabre's sensitivity towards the tiniest creatures of the world, Mirah's songs successfully capture the personalities of ants, flies and glo-worms. Likewise, Johnson brings her characters to life with the use of household detritus like pen tops, fabric and copious amounts of life-savers.
The only downside to Share This Place is that the visuals and music occasionally compete for the viewer's attention. Johnson is an accomplished animator-- she contributed to a Fleet Foxes' music video and made one for Andrew Bird-- and Mirah's excellent songwriting is accompanied by a quartet of accomplished folk musicians. This sense of competition could be attributed to fact that the songs were written first in this project, whereas sound-tracks usually come second, as an accompaniment to film. Still, this is probably an issue of seeing the performance, and performers live, and if their biggest fault is having too many skilled contributors, they're doing quite well.