Chris Rael CHURCH OF BETTY

 

CHRIS RAEL 365 - Thumb Drive

cr365

2016, Fang Records: This limited-edition thumb drive (36 copies) puts an entire career of music making (the top 365 tracks, anyway) in your hands for just $36.50. This is the product emerging from Chris's epic song-posting project on Facebook & Twitter: a song a day for the entire year of 2015. To see how it works, CLICK HERE. Go to fangrecords.com and ORDER HERE.

Church of Betty "Swirled World" - CD/download

swirled thumb

2015, Fang Records: The return of Church of Betty after a 12-year hiatus; one of Raels' strongest world chamber ensemble song cycles to date. Rael, Brian Geltner (drums), Chris Cochrane (guitar), Claire de Brunner (bassoon), Rima Fand (violin), Pinky Weitzman (viola), Otto Hauser, Marlon Cherry & Vlada Tomova. produced by Kenny Siegal, mixed by Tyler Wood, mastered by Fred Kevorkian ORDER/DOWNLOAD HERE

Church of Betty Globestra "The Lazarus Rose" - CD/download

LRose cover

2013, Fang Records: Ancient Sephardic songs arranged for modern global chamber orchestra, by Chris Rael (voice, sitar, guitarra Portugese, bass), Deep Singh (tabla, dhol, harmonium), Vlada Tomova (voice), Steve Gorn (bansurai flute), Rima Fand (violin, voice), Marlon Cherry (djembe, voice), Claire de Brunner (bassoon), Nacho Arimany (percussion, voice), Emilia Simeonov (violin) & Amali Premwardhana (cello). An Old Soul/Half-Kaste Production, produced by Kenny Siegal; mastered by Fred Kevorkian. A new frontier in world music! ORDER CD HERE DOWNLOAD HERE

Chris Rael "ARABY" - theatre soundtrack

Araby

2011, Fang Records: Rael's song cycle re-telling the short stories of James Joyce's Dubliners, performed by a cast of singers and string chamber ensemble. ARABY won the New York International Fringe Festival's Excellence in Music Composition Award in 2011. This version was recorded by Scott Lehrer live at Dixon Place in 2009. Singers: Dudley Saunders, Nancy Magarill, Carlos Ponton, and Rael, with cameos by Marlon Cherry, Rima Fand, and Pinky Weitzman. DOWNLOAD HERE

Tequila & Raelsy - dance cover singles

tequila

2008-2012: During his sojourn in LA, Rael teamed up with Hollywood punk princess Tequila Mockingbird. They started making Indo-pop dance singles, first covering the Stones' Jumping Jack Flash and Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop. When Chris moved back east they continued the collaboration long distance, taking on the Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant and Bowie's Wild Is the Wind. Next up: T Rex. Tequila wails like a punk Aretha over Chris's throbbing sitar & electronic drum arrangements. Not to be missed! Produced by Rael. DOWNLOAD HERE

Chris Rael "Far Away Home" - film

FAH

2008, Lower East Side Biography Project: In 2004, Rael explored remote New Mexico in search of traces of his long-lost Spanish family. To his amazement, he discovered an extended family of cousins, expanding his family geometrically in his forties. His interest in the family's Sephardic background then drew him to Andalucia, Spain, where he discovered traditional Sephardic music bearing striking resemblances to the composing style he developed in Church of Betty. This heartfelt and fascinating home video screened at the Truth-or-Consequences Film Festival in 2008. SEE FILM FOR FREE 

"Short Cut to Nirvana" - film

nirvana

2005, Mela Films: Rael collaborated with percussionist Bob Muller on the soundtrack for this film by Maurizzio Benazzo and Nick Day, about the Kumbha Mela gathering of sadhus in India. ORDER HERE

Chris Rael "Cranberry Street" - CD/download

Cranberry Street

2005, Fang Records: The title song describes a dreamy, contemplative day up the hill from Dumbo when Rael was living in the deserted industrial neighborhood. This album includes stripped down solo versions of Church of Betty chestnuts, including a fine version of Woodstock, originally recorded for Kashi back in 1993. Highlights include Sympathy, Rael's string quartet ode to Penny Arcade, and Open Your Eyes, an Indo-style dirge for his recently departed father. ORDER/DOWNLOAD HERE

Chris Rael "The Devil You Know" - download

Devil You Know

2004, Fang Records: Rael's post-Betty excursion reunited him with The Hand (Kenny Siegal and Brian Geltner) playing a more vicious-intensity rock n roll, but offering literate and thoughtful songs nonetheless: Rebellion Cabaret, Poor Little Rich Girl, Piss Test, and the title track. Recorded at Old Soul Studio. DOWNLOAD HERE

Nisha Ganatra "Cosmopolitan" - film

cosmopolitan

2003, Gigantic Pictures: Chris composed three feature songs for this lovely charming film by Nisha Ganatra, starring Roshan Seth and Carol Kane. The film premiered at the 2003 Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival at Lincoln Center and began televising nationally in 2004 on the PBS Independent Lens series. ORDER HERE

Church of Betty "Revenge of the Hippies" - download

Revenge of the Hippies

2003, Fang Records: Rael wrote this set to be performed live, which is how the album was recorded. The band, consisting of Rael (sitar, guitarra Portugese), Deep Singh (tabla), Jon Feinberg (drums), Joe Quigley (bass), Marlon Cherry (guitar), and Rima Fand (violin), performed live in the studio, then added minimal overdubs. The Betty 'Golden Age' swan song, including She's Really Alive, Mushroomy, and the title song. DOWNLOAD HERE

Church of Betty "Tripping With Wanda" - CD/download

Tripping With Wanda

2002, Fang Records: This album reflects the band's work at the height of its popularity and includes many fan favorites: Flowers Pushing Up, Electric Chair, Crystal Ball, Dirty Waters, the titular Tripping With Wanda (about legendary theatre director John Vaccaro), I Smoke You Jack  (about father of performance art Jack Smith), and perhaps Betty's 'greatest hit', Rael's swooning Cross of Gold. A classic album recalling a special time. ORDER/DOWNLOAD HERE 

Marty Matz "A Sky of Fractured Feathers" - download

Marty Matz

2001, Fang Records: Poet Marty Matz was a contemporary of the Beats, an ecstatic psychedelic poet with exceptional feeling for reading to music. He may very well have been a household name if he hadn't ended up in a Mexican jail for a number of years for criminal drug activity. Marty traveled the world and lived as an expatriate. He returned to his native New York near the end of his life, where he befriended Rael and Deep Singh. The trio shared strikingly resonant musical chemistry. Rael composed music specifically for each poem recited; this album is not jamming while someone reads. Rael and Singh played virtually every instrument in their arsenal, the instrumentation shifting in every song. Recorded at home on simple equipment. DOWNLOAD HERE   

Chris Rael & Deep Singh "Tunnel Ragas" - CD/download

Tunnel Ragas

2000, Fang Records: Church of Betty's Rael and Singh used to make money the old fashioned way, busking on sitar and tabla in the subways of New York. In addition to the cash, they did it to build audience for Church of Betty. Tunnel Ragas was made on very simple recording equipment to sell in the subway, and includes some live tracks recorded in the subway. Distinct from any Church of Betty album, it has emerged as one of the group's all-time favorite recordings. Find out why. ORDER/DOWNLOAD HERE

Church of Betty "Fruit on the Vine" - download

Fruit on the Vine

1999, The Telegraph Company: This album followed Rael's last trip to India and last visit to his guruji, who passed away the following year. It reflects a high point in his Indo-Western fusion efforts, introducing orchestral string arrangements into his Indo-pop composition. A beautiful and ethereal record, including The Magic in You, I Swim in You, and Night Logic. DOWNLOAD HERE 

Penny Arcade "Bad Reputation" - theatre soundtrack

Bad Reputation

1999, Fang Records: Rael's marriage to Penny Arcade spawned a tremendous outpouring of art and a vibrant community of artists in the Lower East Side from the late '90s through the mid-2000s. This album brought together Penny's theatre world with Chris's music world as a soundtrack for her unforgettable theatre show Bad Reputation. A riveting document of a vibrant period. DOWNLOAD HERE 

Bengal Tigers "Songs About Birds and Trains" - download

Bengal Tigers

1999, Fang Records: Through his forays into the Indian music world, Rael met and collaborated with tabla maestro Samir Chatterjee and his singing wife, Sangamitra. Bringing them into his basement recording studio in Dumbo, Rael blended his progressive Betty-style sound palette with the Chatterjees' beautiful Bengali folk songs. Samir played all percussion, Sangamitra sang and played harmonium, Rael played bass, guitars, keyboards and other Western odds & ends. The trio was joined by very special guests from both the Downtown and Indian music worlds: Ned Rothenberg (woodwinds), Steve Gorn (flute), Krishna Batt (sitar) and Ramesh Mishra (sarangi). This gorgeous album was never publicly distributed until now - enjoy this little heard wonder! DOWNLOAD HERE

Church of Betty "Comedy of Animals" - download

Comedy of Animals

1998, Fang Records: This album is the first of four comprising Church of Betty's 'Golden Age'. The core group was Rael, Jon Feinberg on drums, Joe Quigley on bass, and Deep Singh on tabla. The Rael-Singh collaboration changed the lives and art of both, with Singh finding a deeper niche for his grooves in progressive rock and Rael enjoying a deeper rhythmic authenticity in his compositions. The album includes Betty favorites such as Blood and Roses, Onion, and Fallen Arrow (by Karla Schickele). The cover of the Beatles' You've Got to Hide your Love Away stands as a classic transformational cover tune. DOWNLOAD HERE 

Johnny Society "It Don't Matter" - CD

johnny society

1997, Messenger Records: The Hand re-aimed solely at Kenny Siegal's music as Johnny Society. Chris played keyboards on It Don't Matter, the now long-standing group's debut album, recorded at Todd Rundgren's legendary Bearsville recording studio in Woodstock. The group included Siegal, Rael, drummer Brian Geltner, and the late great Jan Kotik on bass. ORDER HERE

The Hand "Mule Me" - CD

Mule Me

1997, Messenger Records: This album represents the highpoint of a great band's creative energy. Sometimes compared to The White Album, the layered complexity of Mule Me is tempered by its kick-ass high-octane power. Rael, Kenny Siegal and Brian Geltner made the record at The Kennel, their basement studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The Hand claims a direct contribution to the birth of Dumbo's burgeoning art scene. Cover by Jessica Kane. ORDER HERE 

The Hand - download compilation

The Hand

1995-1997, Fang & Messenger Records: This compilation is drawn from four great albums by The Hand - Kenny Siegal, Brian Geltner, and Rael, with cameos by Ed Pastorini and Jan Kotik. ("The Hand" was Kenny and Brian's nickname for Chris, based on an ancient song of his called Hands.) This group rarely played live; they were studio rats, a trail blazing force in the recording studio. Recorded at The Kennel and the Magic Shop. DOWNLOAD HERE

Najma "Forbidden Kiss" - CD

Forbidden Kiss

1996, Shanachie Records: Rael met Najma Akhtar at the Contemporary Indian Music Festival in Vienna in 1993. A longtime fan, he proposed that the two collaborate on a contemporary reinterpretation of classic Hindi film songs by the great S.D. Burman. Eventually, several songs by Burman's son, R.D. Burman, were added. Composer Brian Woodbury and Church of Betty percussionist Jonathan Feinberg collaborated on the arrangements. The project drew the interest and support of David Byrne (who mixed a song) and bansurai flutist Steve Gorn, who records with Chris to this day. Recorded in London, New York and Maryland, this album soars, marking a highpoint in both artists' work. ORDER HERE

Church of Betty "In Search of Spiritual Junkfood" - download

Spiritual Junkfood

1994, Ponk Records: Upon returning from extended travels in India, Rael formed a new band with old mates Ed Pastorini of 101 Crustaceans and Jan Kotik of the Mommyheads, and the rhythm section of The Round Band: Jonathan Feinberg and Joe Quigley. Jon and Joe would play with Betty for the better part of a decade. Rael's compositions are patterned directly on South Asian songs; the group took them so far into the stratosphere that the source influences are virtually unrecognizable. This ferociously progressive album earned the group passage to Europe, where they played in Weiner Festwochen's Contemporary Indian Music Festival with many of the world's greatest Indian music stars. DOWNLOAD HERE

Church of Betty "Kashi" - download

Kashi

1992, Fang Records: In 1991 Rael departed to Varanasi, India for almost a year, studying music and traveling all over South Asia. This album reflects what he brought back, including song stylings based on the classical music techniques he learned, folk stylings he heard all over India and Nepal, Indian popular music of the time, and field recordings from all over the country. All these influences are baked into his own conceptually confrontational rock n roll and progressive song structures. Primarily a Rael solo album, with rich contributions from the great Jan Kotik and a cast of cameo guests. DOWNLOAD HERE

Life in a Blender "It Likes Me" - CD

blender

1992, Fang Records: This album documents a couple great years of music making for Chris with Don Ralph and Life in a Blender, a rollicking, hilarious, brilliant outfit that still cranks it out to this day. Don and Chris shared an apartment on Tompkins Square in the late '80s/early '90s, which is where this iteration of Blender unfolded. The group at this time included Dave Moody on bass, Ken Meyer on drums, the Waitresses' Chris Butler on guitar, and the incomparable Mel Melon. Recorded by Al Houghton and Chris Biondo. ORDER HERE

"Thirsty Ears: Fang Records Bands Live at the Knitting Factory" - CD

Thirsty Ears

1991, Fang Records: Chris organized a series of concerts at the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street, recorded the results and assembled this compilation album of devastating Downtown talents: 101 Crustaceans, Oren Bloedow (very early in his solo performing career), the Mommyheads (post-Jan Kotik), legendary Brown University post-prog rockers Dolores, Church of Betty (with Michael Holt and Claire de Brunner), the original Very Pleasant Neighbor, brilliant off-beat composer Brian Woodbury, and Goulash, a trio consisting of Rael with Rude Buddha's Jenny Wade and Dan Fisherman. Off the market for many years, this is a very rare collector's item. Only a handful remain in existence (contact rael@fangrecords.com to inquire). Cover by Gideon Kendall.

Church of Betty "West of the East" - download

West of the East

1989, Fang Records: Church of Betty's first CD, made following Chris's maiden voyage to South Asia in 1988. Aggressively progressive songs with avant concepts, dissonance, sound collages of field recordings Rael made in India and Nepal, and Rael's earliest experiments with sitar and Nepalese horns. Rael plays almost everything himself, with cameo appearances by Adam Cohen and Jan Kotik of the Mommyheads, experimental composer Elliott Sharp, and singer Kevin Miller. This is where it all began! DOWNLOAD HERE