Corey Dargel (born 1977) is a Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based composer, writer, and singer whose gentle assault on pop and classical idioms creates a tension that pervades his music. Deadpan and detached vocals reveal heartbreaking intimacies, awkward and obtrusive drum patterns struggle against fragile harmonies, vocals and music uneasily oppose each other as songs stumble to their ends. The New Yorker magazine calls him “a baroquely unclassifiable” composer of “ingenious nouveau art songs.” Salon praises his songs’ “rococo ingenuity” and “sustained bursts of lyrical brilliance,” and according to Gramophone magazine, he has “a compositional sense guaranteed to keep close listeners on their toes. Words and music are truly equal partners….”
Notes from the Composer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Everybody Says I'm Beautiful
Performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble; Vocals by Corey Dargel.
These two songs come from the larger work Thirteen Near-Death Experiences, an art-pop song cycle about different kinds of psychiatric delusions, with a focus on hypochondria. Everybody Says I'm Beautiful touches on the differences between one's mental image of one's body and the way other people see it. In What Will It Be for Me, the singer ruminates on his future health, based on his family's medical history of clinical depression, heart disease, dementia, and suicide. Here Dargel sings with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and David T. Little.
When he was in junior high school, Corey became ill with a chronic medical condition that kept him in bed for the better part of six months. Doctors could not diagnose the illness. Eventually it went away on its own, but Corey was held back one year in school and never found out what was wrong with him.
In Thirteen Near-Death Experiences, psychiatric case studies masquerade as love songs, embracing a mix of humor, tenderness, and pathos and celebrating the ways in which abnormal behavior leads to more diverse interactions with the world, new approaches to creativity, and unconventional definitions of sanity.
What Will it be For Me
Performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Corey Dargel, vocals
Musically, Thirteen Near-Death Experiences represents a drastic shift from Dargel’s signature glitch/electro-pop style—described by Time Out New York as "elegantly skewed electronic art songs"—to the organic, focused intricacies of a classical chamber ensemble. Thirteen Near-Death Experiences is scored for vocalist, flute/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, piano, drum set/percussion, violin, and cello.
Thirteen Near-Death Experiences appears on Dargel’s two-CD album Someone Will Take Care of Me, released in 2010 by New Amsterdam Records.