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Thick Pigeon \ Biography

One of the more mysterious artists to record for the stylish Crépuscule/Factory axis, Thick Pigeon was essentially a vehicle for songwriter Stanton Miranda and arranger Carter Burwell. Based in New York, the pop-art duo recorded a brace of oblique, minimalist singles for Les Disques du Crépuscule before moving sideways to Factory Records for their first album.

Debut single Subway arrived on Crépuscule (TWI 038) in December 1981. Miranda was already an active participant in the kaleidoscopic New York/East Coast artrock scene, having worked with members of NYC bands Arsenal, Sonic Youth, CKM, Hit By a Truck and Sleeping Dogs, as well as dancing in the Marthe Graham ballet company. Animator and Harvard graduate Carter Burwell also performed in several other New York groups, including The Same and Radiente.

A second single, Tracy + Pansy, was issued by Crépuscule in November 1982 (TWI 108), like its predecessor sleeved by design director B Hennebert. As well as looking after Crépuscule's interests in America, Miranda's partner Michael Shamberg also ran the New York office for Factory Records, and placed the first Thick Pigeon album with the iconic British label. Recorded in Manchester in late 1983, the sessions for Too Crazy Cowboys saw Miranda and Carter joined in the studio by Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert of New Order. Sleeved by noted American artist Lawrence Weiner, the album appeared on both Factory (Fact 85) and Factory US (Factus 16) in September 1984.

"The long awaited Thick Pigeon album," the press release explained, "is a subtle, sculptured series of vignettes. Though recording took a matter of a few weeks, the project has been taking shape over the last three years. Thick Pigeon consists of the nucleus of Miranda (bass, vocals, tambourine and writing) and Carter Burwell (vocals, effects, percussion). For the album they were joined by Steve Morris (drums), Gillian Gilbert (keyboards, guitar), Kim Gilbert and Karen Brown (backing vocals). Thick Pigeon hold the distinction of being the first Factory US record to be mastered digitally. A unique event for an equally unique record, it has already been called 'a walk through the civilisation of your soul' - not what one would expect from a band named Thick Pigeon."

However, Too Crazy Cowboys would be the last Thick Pigeon record released under that moniker, since Carter Burwell then decided to concentrate on a career scoring movies, starting with Blood Simple for the Coen Brothers. After club-friendly single Wheels Over Indian Trails in 1986, released as Stanton Miranda, it would be seven years before Carter and Miranda reconvened for the album Miranda Dali (TWI 938), ten tracks of David Lynchian artpop released by Crépuscule in 1991, dressed by Jean-Paul Goude. Subsequently the album was reissued by LTM as a Thick Pigeon release.

In addition to writing music, Stanton Miranda has acted in feature films by Jonathan Demme (Married to the Mob and Something Wild), worked off-Broadway with John Leguezamo, and given art performances at The Kitchen (NYC). Her CV also includes voiceover work for Dan Graham's video catalogue for DIA Center for the Arts, and Robert Frank's short film Flamingo. In 1998 she played the lead role in partner Michael Shamberg's debut feature film Souvenir, co-starring Kristin Scott Thomas. Miranda was also the featured singer on two tracks (Red Shoes and When the World) on The Guitar and Other Machines by Durutti Column. Working as Blythe Dahl she has released instrumental tracks online.

Carter Burwell has scored approximately 60 major motion pictures, including Gods and Monsters, Adaptation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Being John Malkovich, as well as almost every feature made by Joel and Ethan Coen. On his soundtrack for Psycho III Miranda was a featured singer.

James Nice


Thick Pigeon / Subway
Thick Pigeon / Tracy