Oracle Hysterical’s Hecuba will be released on the National Sawdust Tracks label on May 11, 2018. Hecuba is the latest in a series of projects in which the group illuminates fragments of great literary works through song. Described as part band, part book club, Oracle’s text sources have ranged from Grimms’ Fairy Tales to falsely-attributed Shakespeare. With Hecuba, the band draws from Greek tragedy to distill centuries-old writing through a unique contemporary lens.
HECUBA LAUNCH EVENTS
May 6 @5PM
Taplin Auditorium, Princeton University; Princeton, NJ
May 13 @8PM
National Sawdust; Brooklyn, NY [info]
Oracle Hysterical is twin brothers Doug Balliett (double bass, viola da gamba) and Brad Balliett (bassoons), Majel Connery (vocals, keyboards), Elliot Cole (vocals, guitars, keyboards), and Dylan Greene (percussion). All members of the group perform and compose, with each project developed collectively. Hecuba features guest Jason Treuting (Sō Percussion) on drum kit.
Hecuba is a lush and experimental rock-leaning album based on Euripides’ tragedy of the same name. Written around 424 BCE in Athens, Hecuba is a savage story of revenge in which the disgraced queen of Troy, Hecuba, with her city razed and her children murdered, descends from nobility to primal violence.
After Oracle workshopped Hecuba at Chicago’s The Hideout, the Chicago Reader said:
“The work features gripping slice-and-dice postproduction, with Connery’s crystalline voice chopped into percussive phonemes amid chattering acoustic guitar zigzags and stuttering drums…. But most of the time they simply blend ideas from across time and land into elegant tunes where serpentine melodies are cradled and cajoled by exquisite arrangements.”
In 2017, Oracle Hysterical released its first album, Passionate Pilgrim, on the Vision into Art label. The record was called “music that is unstuck in time” by the Wall Street Journal, and what it would sound like if “Belle and Sebastian were to cut a record of Baroque-inspired folk songs,” by the New Yorker.