Jenny Omnichord Cities of Gifts and Ghosts

Jenny Omnichord Cities of Gifts and Ghosts
Endearingly odd folk pop musician Jenny Mitchell steps out from the Barmitzvah Brothers for an interesting record with an impressive guest list. Mitchell has long loved the omnichord — an electronic instrument most often used for subtle atmospherics by artists like Daniel Lanois, U2 and Arcade Fire. On rare novelty EP Jenny Omnicovers "These Eyes,” Mitchell’s first stab at omnichord-based songs was rough and, well, pretty silly. For Cities of Gifts and Ghosts, Mitchell’s work is much more heartfelt, delivering her own compositions earnestly and assembling a remarkable array of producers for each one. Don Kerr accents an amusing rap by Mitchell on "Kings of London,” while Evan Gordon’s "Nintendo City” is self-explanatory. Jim Guthrie plays around with "Moby” and Bob Wiseman puts his signature on the quirky "Lottery.” Mike Olsen does wonders with the metropolitan "Buildings,” while Scott Merritt’s "Skeletal Love Song” is eerily heavy. Dave Clark has the most fun with "The Birthday Song,” which isn’t as surprising as an Eccodek re-mix of "…And in the Cold.” Charming and diverse, Cities of Gifts and Ghosts is thoughtfully ambitious, serving as a proper coming out party for Jenny Omnichord.

What’s with the omnichord?
It was the first instrument I ever played and I got one eight years ago. At first I played it out of guilt; I thought it was a ridiculous instrument but my dad paid like, 80 dollars and I felt bad. When I learned more conventional instruments, the fact that I started out on something so underrated really appealed to me. I had this lingering love for the first instrument that found me.

Why so many producers?
I felt this project would really suffer if it was only looked at from one angle; it’s only one sound and one voice and if I went with one person how could they possibly make each song distinct? It was also a way to satisfy my curiosity about all these people who’ve offered to help over the years.

Who’s someone you couldn’t get for this?
Daniel Lanois. I emailed him and I got something back from his publicist; she said he wasn’t accepting any music. It’s sad because I think Daniel Lanois would have been totally into it. I think the purpose of that woman he hired is so he won’t have to decide yes or no to things he doesn’t want to know. I understand why people do that but it is a shame. (Independent)