The work of New England musician Lisa Papineau is considerable – it includes a wealth of musical collaborations, solo releases, dance and theater productions, art installations and narrations. She has lent her substantial talents to music from artists such as M83, Air, Jun Miyake, Omar Rodríguez-López and Halo Orbit, just to name a few. Her songs can be found on soundtracks as disparate as “Pina,” “Watchmen,” “Super” and “The Crow: City of Angels.” She also finds good company in Big Sir (a band she co-founded with bassist Juan Alderete) and Pet (which she started with composer Tyler Bates).
These broad musical canvasses have allowed her the freedom to experiment with a number of different sounds, building on one another to form a history of creative and dreamlike rhythms and textures. She never clings to any given genre, nor does she pay much attention to fads, preferring instead to follow an inner instinct and compulsion, a voice which pushes her further into the depths of her own melodic impulses. And with a voice that can alternately tear down mountains and brush the tears from your cheek, she possesses the intricate abilities needed to maintain this sustained sense of experimentation.
She is currently gearing up for the release of her fourth solo record, “Oh Dead On Oh Love,” which is due out Feb. 15 via Team Player. For this release, she’s brought together strings, brass, woodwinds and other traditional instrumentation into a mass of original musical folklore and imagination which she then fuses with ambient tones and tenors. “While writing, I could see the physical landscape of each song plainly,” Papineau explains, “...an image in the mind’s eye versus a particular chord... it took some time sitting alone in the woods to figure out how they translated sonically. And how all these fleeting images pulled together into one panorama.”
On her latest single, “Little Hell,” she fashions a song which feels skeletal, brittle and unnervingly voyeuristic. Her voice shakes but is resilient, the mournful exhalation of a spirit set against the slight pluck of an acoustic guitar. The track eventually blossoms into a wave of haunting folk rhythms, filled with ethereal strings and otherworldly harmonies set against a wind-swept landscape of rustic backroads and pine-filled woods. It’s the kind of disquieting beauty that effortlessly gets under your skin and raises the hair on your neck. The accompanying video showcases a series of black and white photos along with some grainy footage of tempestuous seas. It’s the perfect companion to the pastoral yet occasionally unsettling sounds presented by Papineau.