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Marc Farre

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Marc Farre is not a trend-driven artist. Fresh and seemingly in his own world, he writes dark, poetically understated songs delivered in a penetrating baritone. His cinematic pop/rock tunes are shot through with a raw, mystical energy -- bordering at times on the shamanic.  

Farre’s voice, like his lyrics, is deep, intimate, and intensely compelling: think Serge Gainsbourg crossed with Nick Cave, or Leonard Cohen with the edge of a John Cale or Patti Smith. His music has a European, art-house feel, a seductive ambience perfectly paired with the driving rhythms, otherworldly lyrics, and magnetic melodies that seem to flow naturally from him.

Marc Farre’s fifth offering, an EP called One Hand on the Night (released on 11/11) manages to touch both sides of the Atlantic (two songs in English interspersed with two in French). It distills the essence of his style and digs deep into some kind of a transcendent, primeval beat. The EP kicks off with the enigmatic, airy groove of “A Waterfall” and swings into high gear with a smoldering cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s iconic prison song “Chanson du Forçat,” sung in French. The last two tracks round off the EP and expose Farre’s artier, moody side. “One Hand on the Night” – the title track – drips with atmospheric, dark, almost erotic energy, with words of episodic imagery spoken softly over an ever-deepening beat. Meanwhile, “La Plaie et le Couteau” (a French version of his earlier single “Harry...”) is turned on its head with an adaptation of 19th-century French Symbolist Charles Baudelaire’s darkest poem (“The Self-Torturer”), from the poet’s collection “The Flowers of Evil.”

Although American, Marc Farre has deep roots in France. His father was a French mathematician and philosophy professor, his mother, an artist. He’s related to the iconic French singer Georges Brassens as well as to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the aviator who wrote The Little Prince. In the 1980s he managed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, with whom he embarked on dozens of world tours, also working with the composer John Cage. Farre also composed a dozen scores for modern dance in the ‘80s and ‘90s. His work with Cage brought him into contact with MODE, a Classical record label, which signed him to its AVANT and released his debut EP, Margaret Maybe, in 1994.

Subsequent recordings were released on his own All Weather label. The first of these was his full-length debut, Unsafe Songs — a deeply personal, mysterious, textured effort — released in 1998. Man on the Sun — a resonant pop album — followed in September 2000. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Farre released a benefit single, "Prayer Flags," which was immediately featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered website (where it can still be found).

In 2003, he scored the documentary film He Who Is Blessed for public television.

Marc Farre’s third full-length CD, Secret Symphony, was released on 2008. Among other praise, Bob Boilen, creator of NPR’s All Songs Considered, hailed the CD as “a fabulous collection of songs,” calling it “intense and truly fantastic.” All Music Guide awarded it 3½ stars and an AMG Pick, writing that “Secret Symphony enlists Farre in the company of European-influenced musicians like Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Nick Cave. A throaty voice expressing highly poetic lyrics [with] a kinetic band behind him.... Compelling.”

“One Hand on the Night” was released in North America in 2010 by All Weather Music, and is available on all major retail channels, including iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. It will be released in France and the rest of Europe on 1/11/11.

Farre is also releasing three moody, atmospheric videos to accompany his new EP. They will be available on his website starting on November 29.

* Recommended if you like Nick Cave, Patti Smith, John Cale, Serge Gainsbourg, PJ Harvey, Leonard Cohen, David Lynch

Discography
2011 One Hand on the Night
2008 Secret Symphony
2000 Man on the Sun
1998 Unsafe Songs
1996 Margaret Maybe

DateVenueCity & State
* New dates are shown in RED

NY Daily News October 2011 (pdf)

NPR September 2011 (link)

Brooklyn Rail February 2011 (link)

LoHud.com December 2010 (link)

Rockland Magazine September 2010 (PDF)

The Journal News September 2010 (PDF)

All Music Guide September 2010 (link)

The CD Reviewere September 2010 (link)

The Listening Room September 2010 (link)

“Intense and truly fantastic. [Secret Symphony is] a fabulous collection of songs.”
- Bob Boilen, creator and host of NPR's All Songs Considered

“Marc Farre’s songs will penetrate your brain and remain there for as long as you try to forget them. His haunting voice and quirky composition skills give these songs an ethereal quality.”
- Dejon Turner, The Aquarian (April 15, 2011)

“Singer-songwriter Marc Farre drizzles his super-deep vocals over rustic, Giant Sand–style arrangements, often singing in French. Arty, yep, but pretty good, too.”
- Time Out New York, April 13, 2011

“Marc Farre has that certain something. Possessing a gravelly voice with traces of art-house cinema, Farre mixes downtown creative spark with classic folk songwriting, adding accomplished jazz guitar to his dark storytelling.”
- Kate Silver, The Brooklyn Rail

“Dark, hypnotic, intensely soulful. 'One Hand on the Night' is the musical equivalent of an art-house film.”
- Mary Lynn Mitcham, The Journal News (A Gannett Newspaper)

“A well-trained croon and a presence Leonard Cohen would be proud of. One Hand on the Night packs plenty of Francophone aura into a four-song cycle.”
- Kate Silver, The Brooklyn Rail

“Phenomenally good music. Driving rhythms underpinned by intelligent writing and artful presentation. Just brilliant.”
- Peter Clitheroe, Suffolk'n'Cool (leading UK podcast)

“In the company of European-influenced musicians like Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Nick Cave. A throaty voice, highly poetic lyrics and a kinetic band behind him. Compelling.”
- William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide (Rating = 3.5 Stars, plus an AMG Album Pick)

“Enters your heart, through your ears and mind and the rhythm in your bones, daring you to give up carefully constructed emotional and intellectual defenses. Resistance is futile.”
- Elyse Knight, Off World Theater (NYC arts blog)

“Like melody-driven dreams, Marc Farre's cinematic, soul-searching songs take you somewhere else. Indie rock gets a French kiss.”
- Sky Pape, Drawn Together (NYC art & culture blog)

"Unique art-folk music, laced with a deep, resonant voice and European influences. It’s not often a musician emerges with such a distinct style."
- The Listening Room (NY music blog)

"Singer-songwriter Marc Farre drizzles his super-deep vocals over rustic, Giant Sand­style arrangements, often singing in French. Arty, yep, but pretty good, too. Check the disc One Hand on the Night to hear him in action."
- Time Out New York

"Dark, hypnotic, intensely soulful. One Hand on the Night is the musical equivalent of an art-house film."
- Mary Lynn Mitcham, The Journal News (Gannett newspapers)

"A fabulous collection of songs. Intense and truly fantastic."
- Bob Boilen, host of NPR's All Songs Considered

"Enters your heart, through your ears and mind and the rhythm in your bones, daring you to give up carefully constructed emotional and intellectual defenses. Resistance is futile."
- Elyse Knight, OffWorldTheater.com

"Though Farre sings about romance and the night sky… the first track on Secret Symphony, "Harry…," is an intense, dark fable… a percussion-heavy English murder ballad… reminiscent of [Tom] Waits’ subjects: bizarre, seedy characters, sung with a touch of gruff, bringing them to life. "
- Audrey Green, The Journal News

"Airy, orchestral indie-rock... Uplifting."
- Rockland Magazine

"Marc Farre’s new CD Secret Symphony caresses listeners with reflective, resonant romanticism. Like melody-driven dreams, these cinematic, soul-searching songs take you somewhere else. Indie rock gets a French kiss."
- Sky Papr, Drawn Together