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Killer Instincts (mode321)

by Sarah Maria Sun & The Gurks

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Sarah Maria Sun’s “Killer Instincts” is a gloriously creative and colorful collection of songs about bad people doing bad things. It is also a concept album — a pleasurable journey in bad people’s shoes.

To find just the right lyrics, Sarah brought together songs from a wide range of genres — from classical art song, opera, Broadway, movie soundtracks, to classic rock and pop. How can this mix work? In these songs, Sarah inhabits a wide range of characters, at the same displaying her amazing abilities in disparate styles.

The arrangements, by Max Renne and Sarah, are as clever as the repertoire. Bernstein’s virtuoso “Glitter and Be Gay” is reimagined for an ensemble of banjos and guitar, and his “There’s a Law About Men” is sung to an electronic background of the orchestral accompaniment chopped and minced with filters.

Joe Walsh’s rock classic “Life’s Been Good” is accompanied by just bass guitar. Tom Waits’ “Just the Right Bullets” becomes a wild west meets surf music arrangement. Others are sung basically straight: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell on You,” the Schubert melodrama “Abschied von der Erde” and the first recording of Stefan Wolpe’s harrowing “Hitler.”

Keep an open mind and enjoy the ride!

Packaged in deluxe Digipak with 32-page book including all of the song texts in English and German.

Soprano Sarah Maria Sun is known as one of the foremost performers in the contemporary music scene. In addition to numerous songs, operas and oratorios, her repertoire currently includes more than 900 compositions from the 20th and 21st centuries, including more than 320 world premieres. Her tremendous adaptability is demonstrated on the music-theater stage and leading opera houses in Europe and shows her skill for haunting theatrical and musical interpretation time and again in the depiction of complex female figures. She was nominated by Opernwelt in 2017 as singer of the year for her role as Elsa in Sciarrino’s monodrama “Lohengrin.” From 2007-2014, she was the first soprano of the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, an ensemble of 7 singers that has been one of the world’s leading pioneers of contemporary vocal music for 30 years.


released June 15, 2020

1. Lucky Day Overture (Tom Waits, from: Black Rider) 2:41
2. Justice (Alan Price, from: O Lucky Man!) 2:26
3. When You’re Good To Mama (John Kander, Fred Ebb, from: Chicago) 2:59
4. Lied des Lotterieagenten (Kurt Weill, Georg Kaiser, from: Der Silbersee) 4:42
5. Political Science (Let’s Drop The Big One) 2:20 (Randy Newman)
6. Hitler (Stefan Wolpe) 3:08
7. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins) 4:43
8. I Don’t Understand The Poor (Steven Lutvak, Robert L. Freedman, from: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) 4:09
9. Just The Right Bullets (Tom Waits, from: Black Rider) 3:20
10. There’s A Law About Men (Leonard Bernstein, from: Trouble in Tahiti) 4:33
11. Life’s Been Good (Joe Walsh) 2:23
12. Glitter And Be Gay (Leonard Bernstein, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, from: Candide) 6:34
13. A Little Brains, A Little Talent (Richard Adler, Jerry Ross, from: Damn Yankees) 3:38
14. The Ladies Who Lunch (Stephen Sondheim, from: Company) 4:15
15. Abschied Von Der Erde, D. 829 (Franz Schubert, Adolf von Pratobevera) 3:04

Sarah Maria Sun, voices
with The Gurks:
Jan Philip Schulze, piano, organ
Hubert Steiner, electric, acoustic & Hawaiian guitars, banjo, bass guitar
Bernd Oezsevim, drums & percussion
Axel Nitz, baritone saxophone
Max Renne, piano
Chorus Voices on “I Don’t Understand the Poor”: Jan Philip Schulze, Brian Brandt, Regina Stärke, Sarah Maria Sun

Arrangements: Max Renne, Sarah Maria Sun


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