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About this Album
A primarily acoustic project, Phantom Moon is the third album from Duncan Sheik, and follows two previous Atlantic releases, 1996’s gold-certified Duncan Sheik and the 1998 follow-up, Humming.
Phantom Moon had its genesis in 1999, when Sheik began collaborating with New York playwright Steven Sater, whom he’d met at Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization. Sater, who directs the SGI arts division, approached the songwriter to ask if he might be interested in penning music to a set of lyrics culled from his play Umbrage. The playwright—who received a Steppenwolf New Play Contest award for Umbrage, and whose version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest was scored by Nonesuch recording artist Laurie Anderson—began regularly faxing lyrical ideas to Sheik at home, around which the musician would then compose songs. Within the space of six months, they’d written more than a dozen songs, which were then recorded as master quality demos in Sheik’s home studio.
Work on Phantom Moon took place throughout the summer and fall of 2000, with Sheik—who is both the project’s producer and primary instrumentalist—teaming in New York and London with engineer Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel, Tori Amos, the Brodsky Quartet); associate producer Tommy Krasker (Audra McDonald, Adam Guettel); frequent bandmates, guitarist Gerry Leonard, bassist Jeff Allen, and drummer Matt Johnson; drummer/percussionist Mino Cinelu (Sting, Peter Gabriel, Miles Davis); legendary guitarist (and Nonesuch recording artist) Bill Frisell; and Simon Hale (Jamiroquai, Krust), who provides the album’s string and wind arrangements.
Phantom Moon has inspired further collaborations for Sheik and Sater, with the former composing all of the music for a bold new version of famed German playwright Frank Wedekind’s 1891 classic, Spring Awakening. The play began in workshop at the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse and moved to New York under the direction of Michael Mayer (Sideman, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown). The Broadway production went on to win an astounding eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical as well as Best Original Score for Sheik and Sater.
Duncan Sheik, vocals (1-13), piano (1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 13), harmonium (1, 5, 7, 10, 12), guitar (2-10, 12), organ (3, 8), glockenspiel (7), bell (12)
Gerry Leonard, guitar (3-5, 7, 9, 10), dobro (6, 8, 12), dulcimer (6), banjo (7)
Jeff Allen, double bass (4, 5, 7, 9, 10), acoustic bass (8)
Matt Johnson, drums (4, 5, 7, 8 9), tambora (5)
Bill Frisell, electric guitar (8)
Mino Cinelu, drums, percussion (10)
The London Session Orchestra (2, 4-7, 9, 11, 13):
Violin: Gavyn Wright, concertmaster; Dave Woodcock, Rita Manning, Jaejy Shave, Pat Kiernan, Boguslav Kostecki, Simon Fischer, Rolf Wilson
Viola: Roger Chase, Bruce White, Garfield Jackson
Cello: Tony Pleeth, Martin Loveday
Bass: Mary Scully
Woodwinds: Andy Findon, flute; Jon Anderson, oboe; Nick Rodwell, clarinet; Julie Andrews, bassoon
French Horn: Richard Watkins
Music preparation by Mike Hornett
Strings and woodwinds arranged and conducted by Simon Hale
Produced by Duncan Sheik
Associate Producer: Tommy Krasker
Engineered and mixed by Kevin Killen
Recorded May-October, 2000, at Sear Sound, Inc., New York City, by Kevin Killen with Todd Parker and Steve Mazur, assistant engineers; Angel Studios, London, by Niall Acott with Tom Jenkins, assistant engineer, and Ruadhri Cushnan, hard disk engineer;
and TMF Studios, New York City, by Michael Tudor; and Other Room Music, Seattle, by Beck.
Mixed at The Looking Glass Studios, New York City, with Ryoji Hata, Steef van de Gevel, and Kevin Reilly, assistant engineers; and TMF Studios, New York City, with Tom DeKorte, assistant engineer, and Michael Tudor, hard disk engineer.
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York City
Music by Duncan Sheik
Lyrics by Steven Sater
Design by John Gall
Cover photograph by Gerry Johansson
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz