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Automatic Records Album Boasts Songs From Julianna Raye Featuring Ross Godfrey, Freeland, Hypnogaja, Phontaine, Kuba, Adham Shaikh, Eccodek, Silence and 3xInfinity

LOS ANGELES, Aug. X, 2006 — What would it sound like if the true story of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” were finally told? The answer lies with the artists Frank Beddor convened to create The Looking Glass Wars Soundtrack, the aural accompaniment to his like-titled novel (the first of a trilogy), which will be published in the U.S. Sept. 26, 2006, by Dial Books, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Scholastic Audiobooks.

“The Looking Glass Wars” became a sensation in the U.K. when it debuted there in 2004. At long last, it revealed how Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland,” had willfully misrepresented the story of seven-year-old Alyss Heart, betraying the exiled princess of Wonderland by turning her painful history into a fairytale, when, in fact, it is a dark and dangerous depiction of familial treachery, thwarted love, and the despotic domination of imagination.

Issued by Automatic Records, the album incarnation of “The Looking Glass Wars” reflects both Carroll’s 1865 fiction – as heard in “Burn the Clock (Burning in Wonderland Version),” from Freeland, fronted by Adam Freeland, who earned a 2006 Grammy nomination for Best Remix; “Looking Glass,” by Hollywood rock outfit Hypnogaja; and the insinuating “Wonderland (Vocal Mix),” from 3xInfinity – as well as Beddor’s acclaimed, bestselling “correction” of the facts.

Songs inspired by the latter include “To Another World,” produced by the Audio Ninja and performed by Velvet frontman Kuba, who earned gold honors at the 2005 Canadian Music Week national songwriters competition; “Through the Looking Glass,” from composer/producer/2006 Juno Award nominee (World Music Album of the Year) Adham Shaikh and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/fire dancer Gemma Luna; “Puddles,” by Phontaine featuring Gemma Luna; “Courier Heart,” from Eccodek (brainchild of producer/songwriter/remixer Andrew McPherson) featuring the seductive vocals of Ambre McLean; “Mirror,” courtesy of the smoldering Julianna Raye featuring Morcheeba’s Ross Godfrey; Silence’s grooving, glockenspiel-spiced “Deadly”; the lush guitar crunch of Hypnogaja’s “Lullaby”; “Sea of Redd,” rendered by Phontaine featuring the rare-groove croon of Nadia; and Silence’s “Shattered,” distinguished by a tense cello sample and the sneaking suspicion that we’re hearing voices. Intrepid listeners may also discover an otherworldly “score” excerpt composed by Nick Young, leader of forward-looking Los Angeles rock combo A.i.

“Before I started writing ‘The Looking Glass Wars,’ I did a lot of research on the cultural impact of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ explains Beddor, perhaps best known prior to “LGW” as a film producer whose credits include the blockbuster “Something About Mary.” “I was struck by the depth and richness of the music I found. Artists from Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan to Tom Petty to Gwen Stefani have used imagery based on ‘Alice’ in their songs and videos. I wanted my Alyss to have her own music, and I wanted to expand the intellectual dimension of reading the book into a heightened sensory experience for the reader.”

Beddor reached out to Canadian music supervisor Androo Mitchell, with whom he’d previously worked on a film, to help select and collaborate with the artists involved in the soundtrack project. “I was the ‘live’ conduit between two very creative forces, the writer of the novel and the people behind the music,” Mitchell elaborates, “and did I ever get electrocuted!”

Of his primary directive to the artists, Beddor notes, “I said, ‘This is what this character or this chapter means to me, but what I really want is for you to make it personal for you.” The standout “Puddles,” for instance – “This is no ordinary water/ Do not be fooled” – took shape after the author said to English electronic soundscaper Grant Baldwin (aka Phontaine) and Gemma Luna: “Imagine if everyone around you were jumping into puddles, desperately searching for the one that would take them somewhere meaningful,” a reference to the Pool of Tears Alice must find if she is ever to return to Wonderland and claim her rightful place on the throne.

Comments Julianna Raye – whose music Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker described as “languidly gorgeous,” remarking, “[She] has the bruise of heartbreak in her blue voice”: “My contribution to the soundtrack is called ‘Mirror.’ I was moved by Alyss’ romance with [the guardsman] Dodge and began thinking about the things that separate us. We can cut ourselves off from our past and essentially become separate within ourselves. Loving someone can help you reconnect with your true, whole nature. Of course, what we believe is our ‘true’ self is forever changing. I thought ‘The Looking Glass Wars’ did a wonderful job of exploring those themes.”

These songs present a kaleidoscopic view of those themes set against a sonic backdrop of trip-hop, modern rock and psychedelic sound collage. Yet, Beddor notes, “despite how diverse the songs are, the album is consistently a beautiful, haunting representation of Alyss’ world and the narrative of the book.”

Ultimately, though, Beddor was most concerned that each song evoke an emotional response, rather than adhere to any particular storyline. Likewise, listeners need not be familiar with “The Looking Glass Wars” to lose themselves in The Looking Glass Wars Soundtrack. Attests Beddor, “First and foremost, I told Androo that it had to work as an album, a work of art independent of the book.” This is not surprising when one considers that the Beddor-penned comic series “Hatter M.” – depicting the years-long search for Alyss by her indefatigable bodyguard Hatter Madigan – is popular among fans of graphic novels who have not read “The Looking Glass Wars.” Beddor will concede, however, that “once people get into any part of ‘The Looking Glass Wars,’ they want to figure out how all the pieces fit together.”

He says he was amazed during the germination of the soundtrack how the artists showed even him how some of the pieces fit together. “Music has the power to distill emotions and ideas and I saw that over and over during this process,” he says. “The artists were constantly coming to me with their works-in-progress, and I’d hear a lyric or a fragment of melody that would make me feel something about one of the characters I hadn’t felt before. I came to know these characters on a much deeper level, which frequently left me speechless.”

Moreover, the author can’t quite get over how fully the artists were able to take his creation and make it their own. “The connections they made with the book blew me away,” he confirms. “There was extraordinary collaborative synchronicity. And the idea that they had taken a product of my imagination and articulated it into these magical songs is incredible.” Mitchell ventures: “It’s easy to be inspired by a story like this. After all, one of the book’s most important ideas is about broadening the horizons of our imaginations.”

Still, Beddor says he’s been humbled by his good fortune in enlisting these creative souls to further cultivate his “Looking Glass Wars” vision. He quips: “I must have taken the right magic mushrooms.”

THE LOOKING GLASS WARS is a novel set in two dimensions -- our world and Wonderland. Since so much of the story unfolds in Wonderland it came to me that for the reader to more fully experience these characters and their world I should somehow extend the mental dimension of the page to the aural dimension to make it more sensory and emotional.

Acting on an Imaginative impulse I decided to create an ‘aural novel’ by producing a soundtrack much the same as a director would for a film. It was an abstract concept but one that I felt held a secret, locked promise if faithfully and artistically pursued. The musical landscape offered an incredible choice of talent and within a short time a number of artists were at work on their songs. And this is where it all became strange...

For as the music came together and the tracks were compiled I came to know these characters, my characters, on a much deeper level. Ultimately, I found it both shocking and exhilerating to so intimately experience the anguish and passion of the heroic, monstrous, vengeful and loving denizens of Wonderland.

The following is a narrative to accompany The Looking Glass Wars soundtrack.

Welcome to Wonderland. Welcome to my world...

A mass is being sung as thunder echoes and ominous church bells ring taking us to another world and a very, very different vision of Wonderland. For here we have Wonderland after Redd’s apocalyptic coup has destroyed everything and sent Alyss into exile. Dodge sings of this lost world, backed by the voices of the loyal Alyssians who have pledged to defy the rule of Redd and wait for the return of Alyss. But the shock and the horror have stunned them all. Like walking dead, they must carry on, for if not them, who?

While Wonderland writhes under Redd’s rule, Alyss the child dreams of returning to her Queendom in a matter-of-fact, serenely self-assured description of exactly how she will return to Wonderland.

A wail....cuts across a lost landscape of shattered glass as the sound of whips cracking cut through with an urgent rhythm. A woman’s voice alternately lures and informs as it explains how to get where you want to go. Is it Genevieve directing her daughter in the intricacies of mirror logic? Or is it her deceptive aunt, Redd, luring her home thru the looking glass?

Royal Tutor Bibwit Harte, Wonderland’s six foot tall alabaster skinned albino, issues a call to arms in the endless war for Imagination. The authoritative voice of the tutor responsible for the education of Wonderland’s Queens is not to be ignored. Find Alyss and bring her home or...burn in Wonderland

What she needs is a different sky. The Lost Princess explores London in the hope of finding the puddle that will take her home. Recalling only a few words of instruction she allows herself to be led in a hopeful trance to no ordinary search of puddles where no puddles should be.

When Alyss Heart does finally travel home to Wonderland via a puddle the effect of portal travel is so luminous, floating and free to her courier heart that she trances into a state of portal decompression and must be revived upon her emergence through the Pool of Tears.

Lost from each other for 13 years, Alyss and Dodge engage in a slow, cool chase as they mirror each other’s love. Alyss pursues while Dodge waits...far too polite for this Queen’s taste.

Are the voices in Alyss’s head real? As the mechanical card soldiers spread across Wonderland..advancing like evil, deadly toys on a bloody rampage Alyss must shut out the nonsense and lead the Alyssians to victory.

Far away in London in his bachelor bed, Lewis Carroll dreams of the truth. For sleep can no longer shield him from the truth of Alyss Heart’s terrible, horrible story. But he argues in his dreams, he fights the truth, he cries out “there’s a place where the garden can take you through the looking glass....”

For all that Alyss Heart suffered in her exile, there was a brutality to what young Dodge witnessed that may have scarred him far deeper than the gouges left by the Cat. Split between belief and disbelief, love and hate, forgiveness and revenge, Dodge cannot shut out the sounds of the pychotic lullaby that threatens to tear him in half.

Alyss battles Redd to the edge of Wonderland only to find herself plunged into a dream. Is it real? Or is it all in her head? Alyss must realize that constructs and illusion can alter the truth if she is to survive the sea of Redd. the truth...we all have voices in our head telling us what is real and what to believe. And much like Alyss Heart, we all must engage in our own epic battles for Imagination or our worlds may also be....shattered.

Related Articles:

Hatter M: Looking Glass Wars Comics

Looking Glass Wars Comic 2.5 San Diego Comic Con Give Away

The Looking Glass Wars Novel

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