Curiosity
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Curiosity

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"Doom and Hate"

Curi's a singer/songwriter/musician working in a style she calls "industrial jazz". She has a big, smoky, whisky-sharp voice: like Tom Waits if he were an angry 24-year-old woman preoccupied with Doom and Hate. Her best songs, like "Exist" and "Play With Us," are just apocalyptic, all crunch and yell and bad love and wrong romance. She's just gotten back from a trip to rural Japan -- she speaks the language -- with a sword fixation. This doesn't bode well for anyone. - Warren Ellis


"Buy this CD I Command You!"

OH MY GOD I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS CD! As soon as I heard the opening notes, I thought of something from a Tim Burton movie or a cabaret. Not only are the songs interesting, but her artwork as well. She plays the piano, the guitar, synthesizers, etc. She studies Iaido (an ancient art of samurai swordfighting) so DON'T MESS WITH HER!. She's just overall interesting. After hearing the first few songs on this CD, I was hooked. It's been described as "industrial jazz", a combo of industrial beats with jazz-like arrangement. I had to take it over to my friends as we played Mortal Kombat Tetris style and had to have it on rotation.
BUY THIS CD I COMMAND YOU. - glittergrrrrls.com


"Venom, Inspiration, and Power"

A mixture of equal parts venom, inspiration and power Curiosity is creating a musical tangent unto itself that speaks with a force and resonance that cannot be denied. If you aren't careful, you might get spellbound and fall into their hypnotic power and walk the Earth as their zombie for the rest of your days doing their bidding and slavishly following them from gig to gig only stopping to eat the occasional brain all the way to the stem. - Flabby Hoffman


"Uninhibited Brattiness"

This is the first release from Curiosity Valentine, a tough-sounding gal from Chicago who spends her spare time practicing the art of Japanese sword fighting. This feisty lady is a multi-talented independent artist who writes, sings, performs and produces all her own material. Though she may not be the typical golden-toned soprano that is typically associated with goth music, her voice has an uninhibited brattiness to it, giving her vocals an authentic underground appeal. The melodies on this disc may not grab you instantly, but after repeated listens these songs will etch themselves into your memory banks. "Euchre" combines a catchy beat with lyrics that lament the woes of human dissapointment and suffering while "Continental Razorblade" taps Curiosity's masochistic veins. "Teardrinking" is a sedate piano ballad with witty, off-the-wall lyrics and "Exist" is a dreamy keyboard song that gives insights into who Curiosity once was. The Forced Magician is a solid debut release of original alternative music that leans toward the darkside. - Dark Realms Magazine


"Gothic Cabaret Tori Amos"

Hailing from Chicago, this 24 years old girl working under the moniker of Curiosity does everything on her own. She claimed to compose industrial-jazz music and this description isn’t bad at all! I personally experience her work as Tori Amos entering a gothic cabaret. The sound is rather minimalist and written with lots of piano and guitar parts. This girl has a very special timbre of voice, which sounds rather harsh, adding an unpolished touch to her work. She also uses her voice in a half spoken, half sung way, creating a particular experience. - Side-Line Music Magazine


"Fascinating Debut"

The young woman who calls herself Curiosity Valentine has made a fascinating debut album. She has a thank you list with the headline "people I don't want to kill". That's called attitude. She adds in the liner notes "And the rest will get what's coming to you".
The music is accordingly harsh, but not without melodies. "Play with Us" is a Danny Elfman-like tune with a Nine Inch Nails style.
"Continental Razorblade" has a pretty dark lyric, but the singer's vocal skill is impressive.
"Teardrinking" tries to be a traditional ballad, but soon gives it up and collapses under the weight of the abrasive singing. Curiosity Valentine doesn't seem to be in line to sell out any day soon.
"Hardwired" lives up to its title, synth stabs accompanying Valentine's vocal.
"The Forced Magician" barely crosses the half-hour mark, but it seem to have enough ideas and attitude to last a long time. - Collected Sounds Women in Music


"The Lost Room"

There is a masterpiece of occult fiction, “The Lost Room”, by Fitz-James O’Brien. In this short story a man finds his boarding-room occupied by a mysterious group of refined strangers who seem bent on spending all their time on revelry, food, sex, beauty, drama, and esoteric conversation. As the question of their true nature becomes more and more dubious, the man rejects their offer to join them and tries to oust them from his room, at which point they inform him it is, in fact, their room and they have just been letting him use it. After a walk and a smoke in the darkened hotel gardens to ponder his problem with these wayward spirits, he returns to find the room gone – the whole room, right down to the door where it used to be, including all his stuff!
Okay... so this band is that group of mystery beings, with their flapperish sense of madcap mayhem, danger, drama, and otherworldly charm. At first listen to the first song I thought I wasn’t going to like the music, just didn’t warm to the sound right off, and the singer more shouting lyrics than singing them, though it is well rehearsed and delivered with authority. By two or three songs in, I discovered a quality to the brassy vocal delivery akin to a deco era jazz horn player; the subject matter and deft way it is treated, with nifty double entendre and such, drew me in. There is a strong sense that these people are sort of blasting their way through eternity, and the last place they were before here was the Roaring 20s, where they definitely “roared” and probably left a trail of maimed victims. Now if I could just get them to give me back my room and my stuff.
- Morbid Outlook


"Fresh and Interesting"

My first impression of Curiosity Valentine's debut, The Forced Magician, was..."cute." Her business card lists her as an "industrial jazz" musician, and I suppose that's a pretty good indication of her work. One of our standard angry girl type outfits, Curiosity infuses a jamming feel into her CD. An Alice in Wonderland vision of Valentine on her promo photo adds to her flair. And while a bit cheezy, it's not too bad.
If I were to go ahead and compare her I'd have to name others like...Meg Lee Chin(1), Lucy Mongrel(2) or Glampire(3) (removing the gonads and adding boobies in the latter case of course). A one-woman show, doing all arranging, producing and what-not for her release, she's also a student of samurai sword fighting. A butt kicking girl, I'm sure. She's based typically in Chicago, various trips to Japan for sword slashing and fluent speaking aside.
The Forced Magician is definitely fresh and interesting. Like Lucy Mongrel she can start initially annoying, but grows on you as you notice the cutesy nuances in her music on the second or third listen. She layers her music with various synthetic affects and piano hammerings over which her lusty yet mean voice bitches her angers and frustrations. What the album lacks in slick production, it embellishes with its flair and perseverance.
Songs like Exist, for example, can get overlaced with different clashing instrumentation. Melodies are simplistic but effective for the most part, and while I wouldn't consider Curiosity the next Beethoven in the way of musical arrangement, she can hold her own at times while at others coming across a bit too cheeky. It's a hit or miss scenario. Your Son is Fine is quite good with its punctuating guitar riffs and off-kilter piano melody and later-arriving harpsichordy synth slides.
Free Tonight originally starts like Curiosity is beginning a serenade in an old town lounge club...in a seedy bar on the east side of Purgatory. Her lyrics are somewhat trite, but occasionally pointed as she croons her way into the hearts of all the nasty men in the room hoping to be the one she sings "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to next. An abrupt ending without ever really getting off the ground, but an interesting piece to close the album. Now let's jump back to the opening of the album...Play With Us opens with a Carnival and Parisian Rouge flair. Enjoyable!
Probably not the best arranged musical crescendo I've spun, Curiosity's The Forced Magician is sure as fuck different, biting and fun. She can at once annoy yet croon into your brain. If you liked Lucy Mongrel or anyone else from the angry young chicks brigade, give Curiosity a spin. It will, at the very least, perk your interest.
- Legends Magazine


"Strange and Unusual"

This cd, the debut by Curiosity, is easily one of the most strange and unusual cds to cross my desk in a long time. It's the solo project of a artist who Identifies herself as Curiosity Valentine, who according to her bio in the press kit is actually two years younger than me.. but I would have never have guessed that by just listening to the cd. The vocals sound very mature, and have a almost Alanis Morrissette-esque quality to them. Musically, the album yields a bizarre combination of Industrial sounds, synthpop-esque beats, and jazz-style arrangements.
One thing that is universal to this album: the songs are dark. Dark to the point of a cynical despair, at times. It would have been nice to be able to give specific examples of this in the lyrics, but they're not included with the cd or on the website. Still, after multiple listens the lyrics sink in enough to tell that Curiosity Valentine is a very troubled soul. The occasional explicative only serves to emphasize that.
This cd is so unusual I have a very difficult time making a recommendation on it. It's certainly not for all tastes, but for the musically adventurous this might be just what you are looking for.
- Synthpop.net


"Stylized and Burlesque"

Curiosity comes with a rec from Warren Ellis, which is a hard one to beat. You can see what attracted the guy, too: dark, nerve-jangly, with gothic, visual lyrics and a sharp-machine-made sense of rhythm. Her voice is powerful, and it's the voice that most contributes to this album's sense of ambition and style. She's sometimes a straight-out belter (as on "Play With Us") and sometimes a little more stylized and burlesque ("Vitamin Sugar"), but it's always a big voice, a little strident, generally pissed off, always demanding attention, and it occasionally drops off from the backing arrangements to mutter an aside. It's very theatrical stuff and it's out to kick your ass.

And it's quite good at that, though of this batch, it's the one I'm least likely to turn on again. Because its strengths are also its flaws: you turn on "Play With Us," the first track, and you're nodding along, hell yes, this is something really original, and the woman's personality just leaps out at you. Then you listen to a few more tracks, and realize that the tone doesn't really change (jazzy, styled, amped-up), and, yes, most artists do have one style and stick with it, but Curiosity's gets to you sooner than most. If you stay onboard till track seven or so, for some reason, the effect decreases (hell, maybe the album just peaks there; I loved "Exist" and it's hard not to be intrigued by the offer in "Are You Free Tonight?") but I still figure this is one for the mix CD's rather than lengthy solo play. - Pop Culture Chaos


Discography

The Forced Magician - LP released in 1999

Photos

Bio

Curiosity is a Chicago-based female-fronted solo project which began in 1995, performing Gothic Lolita Industrial Jazz music. The act seamlessly combines gothic Victorian themes, frilly dresses and Japanese influences with a dark electronic cabaret style to create a beautifully designed nightmare, characterized by electronic beats and powerful vocals. Curiosity herself is a multi-instrumentalist, writing and playing all the music on her songs. A demo of the track "Vitamin Sugar" was featured on a CDNow Unheard? contest compilation in 1997. Her first album, "The Forced Magician," was released in 2004 and is available on CDBaby and iTunes. Curiosity dresses in the poofy, lace-covered Japanese Gothic Lolita style of fashion. She speaks fluent Japanese, with some of her songs containing Japanese lyrics intertwined with English. The live shows are a flurry of synthesized beats, explosive vocals, and Mini Super Dollfies. Author Warren Ellis described Curi thusly: "She has a big, smoky, whisky-sharp voice: like Tom Waits if he were an angry 24-year-old woman preoccupied with Doom and Hate. Her best songs, like 'Exist' and 'Play With Us,' are just apocalyptic, all crunch and yell and bad love and wrong romance."