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Once Again, Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret Is Now Available! Also: SO?!?

07 Dec
Once Again, Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret Is Now Available! Also: SO?!?

Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret is out now!

This album is a pulp opera: that is, a musical story taking place in a specific pop culture genre, in this case, the weird west. Think the old west meets werewolves, lovecraftian monsters, sinister carnivals, and of course, flying, face eating zombie babies. A small group of performers appear onstage every Saturday night at the town saloon to perform an ongoing cabaret led by Miss Helen. This particular week focuses on the tragedies of their existence with sweeping songs.

Miss Helen's Weird West Cabaret

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, for all those you already listening to it: SO????!!!!??? WHADAYA THINK? I’m dying to know. I just…. sit here in my far off foreign land, making my little… cabaret for… who knows who. I wonder if the thing that i really hoped would work on someone’s heart and psyche actually works. Is anyone even out there i wonder sometimes? Am i alone in here? If anyone’s out there to trust….

On another note: My exTREME thanks to all of you for buying this album. I cannot thank you all enough. I am grateful for each and every single purchase and it is through your overwhelming kindness that i am able to continue making albums. Seriously, i read each name of each person who pops on my notifications from Bandcamp and sometimes i even whisper to your name that you are awesome which i assure you looks very, very creepy on this end especially if you were to just walk in on me talking to my email.

As far as i can tell, reaction seems to be quite favorable. Everyone already knows Lauren is awesome, but Psyche Chimere as Han-Mi seems to be killing it. Lot of love for Han-Mi. If you have a second, i’m DYING to know what people think. I’ve been down here in this basement working on this thing for months and months and months like some mad old coot. Drop a comment if you’re in the mood.

 

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19 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

19 responses to “Once Again, Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret Is Now Available! Also: SO?!?

  1. Batou K

    December 7, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    What can I say ? I love Henri the alchemist, I loved all this little stories, you’re always a genius when it comes to narrate stories. The hint of atompunk was so great to hear. I think I’m going to listen to the album the whole month ! Thank you for your creativity and imagination. I love when you bring some piece of social justice or when you innovate to make your own world and story with your own type : which I love. Again a perfect appropriation of a new genre !

     
  2. Scarlett M.

    December 7, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    I woke up the 6th of December with “Miss Helen’s…” On my lips. I was READY. I also knew too much hype could kill a story. But screw that, I gotta hear this! I felt like my hype didn’t match up at all. Basically, it was amazing. It became something I didn’t even expect. The ‘making-fun-of-old-tropes’ bit can be really disastrous and a bit conflict of interest when not done right. M. SHAPERA YOU DID RIGHT. The dialogue was great, there were a few bits where I just burst out laughing. Helen and Han played soooo well off each other. Not to go into excruciating details about my absolute favourite moments, BUT as soon as the sci fi notes in the last 30 seconds of finale played I nearly had a heart attack. And when the last lines were spoken… Well, I flipped a table. What’s amazing is that this could be a great stand alone short opera but an AMAZING follow up/exansion of a world so many people are already so invested in and love. Plus, I just LOVE hearing Lauren Osborne. Her voice is amazing. Psyche Chimera blew me away, I’d never heard it before! Rhys Owen just KILLED it (his fake out entry was pretty good, too) and Studly McMuffinpants has an amazing voice, as usual. Honestly, the last pieces of this we’re giving me anxiety and possibly an ulcer. Thanks, PAUL.
    Best of luck to you and the actors! I’m definitely going to be listening to this repeatedly. Not as a theorist (still working out-never mind), as a fan in love with the music, the story, the voices. -ahem- Keep it up, Paul, keep it up!

     
  3. Dudley

    December 7, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I actually first listened to the entire Album on the 5th (I assumed time zones would allow this and I was right). I sat down and just closed my eyes and listened. So much story in just 13 songs, The entire cast excelled as expected and loved every moment of it. My favourite song is by far “The Sheriff” followed closely by “Final”. That very last moment at the end when I first heard it made me sit upright and jaw drop, can’t wait until act 2.

     
  4. Charlie Dyson

    December 7, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    *POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT*

    I have this insane theory right now and I really hope I’m right. First off though, I am in love with this musical and it might already been my favourite of yours. The characters are beautifully crafted and the plot exceeded every expectation I had for it. As a MASSIVE fan of the New Albion albums (I’m obsessed with the world), it’s a huge feat to create something that I “prefer” (wrong term, but there you go).

    But now that’s out of the way here’s the theory. So this is quite similar in ways to The New Albion Radio Hour, in which characters are becoming self-aware, and there’s a person overseeing and controlling things. In Radio Hour, it was Lloyd Allen, but in this the controlling presence is unknown. But I believe he’s made known at the very end in which the AI voice denies their request for dialogue in their cries of “speak to us!”.

    Which means that firstly it’s set in the same universe as the New Albion and Fae stories, which is a bonus. But that also means that Lloyd Allen could also be an AI?!? It would change everything I know of the New Albion anthology but would definitely explain unanswered questions…

     
    • JayKerschner

      December 8, 2016 at 1:13 am

      I’ve actually seen the theory that Lloyd Allen is an AI (or perhaps a rogue doll) touted before. In fact, if I remember correctly, Paul at one point indicated that if The New Albion Radio Hour were to be adapted for the stage (which I really hope it is someday… I feel like it is the best suited to it of all Paul’s albums), that he’d want to see Lloyd as a puppet controlled by the same person who plays the role of Thomas. That would necessitate some changes be made to “Going”, but otherwise the characters never really overlap in a scene.

       
  5. Tony Turner

    December 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    As always, I’m obsessed with this new musical. I love the fun meta-humor when it comes to your observation of tropes, especially with Han-Mi’s character. Your lyrics range from zany & fun to downright ethereal & poetic. I especially love the lyrics from The Sheriff, “I never saw a mountain, I never saw a sky…”. As for the ending…

    *spoiler alert*

    I’m kind of at a loss of words. As a fan of New Albion and that entire world, it’s amazing! Up to the very last 30 seconds I was going through every possibility: a new character reveal, a cliffhanger, etc. But then hearing the AI took me aback. How great it is that this is back in the world of New Albion, but it is also slightly disheartening to see that this new world of Lost Hallow seems to be some sort of digital simulation. I had the impression that you would create a new world of stories and characters that could stand beside New Albion. But I am still excited to see what you have next for Lost Hallow and how it does fit into the world of New Albion.

    Consider me smitten.

     
  6. paulms

    December 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Oh God, thank you all so much for telling me this.I knew the ending the moment i came up with the basic idea and long before i ever got to composing the finale (not that long ago since it’s the last song and i work in order) i would speak out the last lines and then giggle like some maniacal old tinkerer. But then you wonder how it will actually play out to real people out there. And for MONTHS i’ve been dying to know.

    SPOILER TALK. DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU’VE HEARD THE WHOLE THING.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Clearly, Lost Hollow being a computer simulation of some sort is the obvious conclusion. I mean, duh, right? Clearly i know this to be the obvious conclusion. Now, how much do you think going with the obvious conclusion is something i like to do?

     
    • JayKerschner

      December 8, 2016 at 1:09 am

      I recall you had a post some time back about subverting expectations and the places for doing so in storytelling. I must say, ever since I’ve been a bit more paranoid about making assumptions related to your work!

       
  7. Absolution Jailor

    December 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Rhys has a beautiful voice, as does Psyche. They’re a welcome addition to your talented cast.

    On the technical side, I’m no sound engineer or anything, but there’s a distinctly different sound to this album. The vocals are framed by the music in a way I’m not sure I’ve heard recently. It really is a treat, as neither feels dominant, both feel vital.

    The character interactions are brilliant as always. I love that Helen is rooting for Han-Mi, but doesn’t want to feed her ego, and I especially love Han-Mi trying to get the guys to sex it up. Thank you for always having a shout out to us sodomites (making everything alright ever since Steve taught Adam and Eve to make vodka in the Garden of Eden).

    The instruments chosen are once again iconic and original, fitting both the setting and individual character. The motifs and themes to each of their songs are impressive. The beginning of Henry the Alchemist really stands out as something that Danny Elfman would have composed in his prime (like the Edward Scisssorhands soundtrack), you know, before everything got a little meta, self-referential, and forced.

    The Finale is EVERYTHING. You’ve always been able to put together a badass medley/marathon, but the idea of four actors who can’t quite make out their audience past the blinding stage lights, begging to be spoken to, and being denied… just beautiful.

    Then of course there’s the tie-in. That opens the door for the next acts to nod to reprisals of the past (begging the angel of mercy for one spare second a la The Rescue Plan, or for someone perhaps outside of the show being begged to be their angel). I’m not sure if the tie in means digital purgatory, as the Angels seem to operate without regard to time or space, or if the eldritch is tied to the circus and they’re all prisoners already, or if it’s something even more mysterious.

    Overall, this was amazing, and will definitely sate me until Act 2 is ready. What a fantastic early Christmas present.

     
    • JayKerschner

      December 8, 2016 at 1:16 am

      > or if the eldritch is tied to the circus

      Well, that much at least seems likely. The Raven (from Paul’s album The Fallen) seems like a rather mysterious and eldritch fellow himself.

       
  8. JayKerschner

    December 8, 2016 at 1:08 am

    Dialogue initiated.

    So these are just initial thoughts. I’ve only had time to give the album one and a half listens, and I really like it! The handful of things that I think of as weak points now may grow on me in time (as they did with The Room Beneath New Albion… I mean, the first time I heard that album I wasn’t too fond of “The Coal That Sings Hosannah” because of how it affected the flow of the story, but now it’s probably my favorite song from the New Albion albums).

    So, on the whole, I love it. It didn’t grab me as immediately as A Slenderman Musical did, but its got all the right elements and once I know the words I know I’ll be belting them out in the car and playing air-piano (that’s a thing, right?) to them the same as I do with your other albums.

    Some things I particularly liked:

    * The musical tie-in to The Fallen. I mean, The Fallen is my favorite album of yours, and is tied with two other albums (Doomsday Afternoon by Phideaux and A Forest of Fey by Gandalf’s Fist) as my favorites across all artists. Hearing any sign of it is always welcome.

    * The whole “self-aware characters” thing is great. You’ve touched on it a few times before (“Carnival”, “Storyville Station”, “The Show No One Saw”) and it always seemed like a theme that could do with further exploration. This is the perfect vehicle for that, and it seems to be coming together very nicely.

    * You got the balance between sung and spoken parts on-point. I recall you being unsure of where the balance should be, and I think that it’s perfect here. Obviously, the amounts will vary based on the album’s style, but at least in this case the mix is flawless.

    * Psyche and Rhys are great additions to your cast of singers.

    * Discussion of “The Writer” as a character gets into some interesting 4th-wall territory which I love when it is done well (as I’m sure it will be once more is explored in the later acts). I’m super curious about whether this is an internal fourth wall (like in The New Albion Radio Hour, where the wall is between the characters and an in-universe narrator) or an external fourth wall (between the characters and… well, you, Studly McMuffinpants). Or both. Knowing you it could very well be both.

    * I love when multiple characters are singing different parts at the same time, and the Finale does it fantastically here (as you also did back in “Reunion” from The New Albion Radio Hour).

    Things I’m not as certain of:

    * The album seems like it’s trying to tell two stories (the self-aware thing and the zombie baby thing). The self-aware story will clearly get picked up in the remaining acts, which I’m really looking forward to, but I’d be somewhat suprised/disappointed if the zombie baby plot carried over as well. It seemed like something that would make a good story to keep self-contained to this album, but it doesn’t ever have a conclusion of any sort. I think it makes the album feel like it lacks an ending. Sure, it is just the beginning of a trilogy, but it doesn’t feel like anything is really resolved within the album itself.

    * Rhys and yourself both have great voices which fit the album perfectly, but I can’t help but feel that maybe the parts should have been switched. At least initially, I prefer your demo vocals for Henry the Alchemist to the finished version, and I’ve heard each of them only once. I also think that Rhys’s voice would be great for the sheriff; he’s got an air of authority to his voice which would make more sense in that role, I think, than as the alchemist.

    * Some of the lyrics feel a little forced, structurally, moreso than on your other albums. I’m noticing places where it feels like a phrase had an extra syllable which doesn’t quite fit the rest of the rhythm. This is the sort of thing that, once used to it, is perfectly fine, but can be a bit unintuitive at first.

    * Henry not knowing the meaning of his song is amusing, but just seems incredibly unrealistic given the lyrics and spoken word bits in it.

    All in all, definitely looking forward to what you’ve got in store for us next, and very much hoping that it doesn’t take a whole 12 months to find out! Though as an artist myself (I write, and should be releasing my first “finished” stories quite soon), I realize that these things must take however long they need to. And hey, whenever Act 2, or the Balkan Rock Opera, or some other album is ready… well I’ll be here ready for it too. 🙂

    Though I am super curious… Is the series called “The Ballad of Lost Hollow”, with “Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret” as the title of this particular act, or is it the other way around? Or am I completely off point in thinking of them as two separate parts of the title?

     
  9. trainerkris

    December 8, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I loved the album. Henry the Alchemist is my favourite song on the album, my only problem with it is I keep wanting to sing the chorus but have to actively stop myself when I’m at work because I’d probably get into trouble.

    It’s a pretty good introduction and I can’t wait to see how the story continues. In fact this is really the first time I’ve actually had to wait for the follow up for a story, except for the last two parts of the Atompunk Opera, but that was only a couple of weeks.

    I quite like that while we learn a lot about Henry, The Sheriff and Miss Helen we don’t really know that much about Han-Mi. All her songs are about how she feels in the present or what she wants in the future and she’s the one who sees the existential problems behind the Cabaret. My jaw dropped in the last thirty seconds of Finale you said it took place in the same world as New Albion but I wasn’t expecting that kind of reference. I really enjoyed that part of Opening where Miss Helen was chiding Han-Mi to stick to the script. After all the trouble Constance gave Lloyd it made me smile.

    My only real problem with any of the songs is in The Sheriff. It’s mentioned that his sisters also were gone when he came back to his home but we don’t hear anything about them for the rest of the song. What happened to them?

     
    • paulms

      December 8, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Alas, the song was already very, very long, so there was not room for anything else, and it had to end with Hank shooting Barnsdale, so we never find out that the sisters were given a bunch of cash and sent into town to have some fun spending it so that Barnsdale could have some private time with their mom. It takes awhile to walk so they’d get there sometime in the morning.

       
  10. Lyrien

    December 8, 2016 at 10:30 am

    So I listened to it when I got to work , and I almost FLIPPED MY TABLE AT THE END. Then I went on lunch break to process it all, and bought it when I got back. Again, you outdid yourself, it is perfect in every way, can’t wait for the next installment.

    Also, I was kinda expecting Lloyd to appear with Helen saying “Folks” all the time. This story is SO LLOYD.

     
  11. Vile

    December 8, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    [¡Spoilers!]

    Hello. So I finally got the chance to listen to this in its entirety, and it was quite good!

    A lot of people seem to want to talk about that teaser at the end. I am not certain that we are back in the world of New Albion, and I am certainly not sure how I would feel about that. Personally, I am more interested in the Carnival. Not only is its theme well done (good job on the music in general, it has gotten consistently more impressive and complex), but the idea of a strange carnival that whisks people who question the assigned program is quite cool. Originally in “Miss Helen” I took it as a metaphor for suicide, but at this point I think it is something real and probably quite dangerous to our actors. It reminds me of Elysium. Originally I took that as a straight metaphor for death, but that interpretation kinda fell through when the Googlepunks actually went there and started killing things.

    I was initially worried that we might get lost in meta-humor, but you handled that pretty well and the story about stories did end up going somewhere, which was good. The characters were fun, the songs were crisp, and whatnot. Also, I have noticed the lewdness of your stuff slowly rising. I am not sure if I really mind, but it is funny that we have moved from implied sex to rubbing off monsters to gay orgies in under two years. 😀

     
    • JayKerschner

      December 8, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Have you listened to Paul’s album “The Fallen”? That features the same carnival which seems to be mentioned here (in addition to being my favorite of Paul’s albums). It seems like not many fans of his other albums have heard it though.

       
  12. Chance

    December 9, 2016 at 12:02 am

    It was awesome!!!! Loved Henry the Alchemist and Miss Helen! And that ending…wow! Can’t wait for the second act. Is this somehow related to Atompunk Opera?

     
    • paulms

      December 9, 2016 at 12:05 am

      Yes. It is even more so an extension of The Room Beneath New Albion.

       
  13. Kaatja Rose Pond

    December 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I’ll need to listen to it another 10 times to pick up on everything, which I love. I hear a new thing I didn’t hear the last time and it’s like the play is brand new again! When I saw the notification about this play being released it pretty much made my entire year! I think I actually cried the first time I heard “Dream a Dream”. I can’t say enough how much your work means to me. Looking forward to the next part!

     

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