Tustin-based keyboardist Peter Siebert records an impressive CD at home using the moniker Mr. Famous X.
By ROBERT KINSLER
Special to the Register
Fans of local music shouldn't be surprised if they haven't caught any appearances by Mr. Famous X. But they should make every effort to pick up a copy of "Hollow," the superb full-length debut from the Tustin-based artist.
Mr. Famous X is a moniker for an ambitious recording project undertaken by composer-keyboardist Peter Siebert. "Hollow" includes nine original songs fusing electronica, classical, pop and world music styles.
"This is my little piece of artwork," Siebert said in an interview this week. "I like a lot of kinds of music; everything is OK in every song. And technology offers me to do it all in my bedroom."
Indeed, the lush and orchestrated tracks, ranging from the emotive "Blind To Me" to the upbeat "Hollow" and melodic ballad "Deeper Oceans," showcase the skill of Siebert as well as a range of talented guest artists.
With the possible exception of learning piano - which he began studying when he was 11 - Siebert said mastering the art of mixing is the most difficult thing he has ever done.
"That craft is unbelievably hard," he said of completing the "perfect" studio mix. "I kind of think of 'Hollow' as a studio-only creation. If I was going to play live, I prefer jazz."
Siebert's credits range from performing with Poul Pederson (Missiles of October) and Richard Stekol (Honk) in the R&B band Breeze Brothers to playing keyboards on Dave Mason's 1987 solo effort, "Two Hearts." That project also featured Phoebe Snow and Steve Winwood.
Listening to "Hollow," it is easy to draw comparisons with recent efforts from Moby and Zero 7. The Mr. Famous X release boasts guest vocals from four amazing female singers, who add depth and variety. The authenticity and beauty of their voices are two of the ingredients that bring such an organic sheen to the recording.
"There are a lot of people using technology and (at the same time) not using it," said Siebert, noting that studio magic only thrives when used with strong song craft and heartfelt performances. "Both Nathalie Gauvin and Roxanne Potvin sing for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. I asked them if they would sing - they recorded their vocals in Las Vegas. They knocked it out of the park."
Another Cirque du Soleil performer, Qiang Lei, who plays the erhu (a Chinese violin) for "O" at the Bellagio, is featured on the title track.
"You make something, put it out there and hope people like it," Siebert said of the four years spent writing, recording, mixing and mastering the album, which was released last month.
"Now that I was given free rein, I decided to take advantage," he said of being his own producer and record label. He is hoping that "Hollow" not only wins much-deserved airplay on stations such as KCRW/89.9 FM, but that tracks are licensed for use in films and television series.
"My goal is to afford to do another CD," Siebert said. "It's the most fulfilling thing I've ever done."
For more information on Mr. Famous X, visit www.mrfamous.com.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Blind To Me
3. Deeper Oceans
5. Bug On Its Back
6. I'm Feeling So Sad
7. The Ideal World
9. Don't Forget Me