CD/DVD: On March 16th, 2009, Serj Tankian, one of rock's most unconventional frontmen, took the stage at the majestic Auckland Town Hall in New Zealand with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to perform a very special orchestral interpretation of his critically acclaimed debut solo album 'Elect the Dead'. This unique one-off performance was recorded and filmed in HD by six cameras, and the result is presented in 'Elect the Dead Symphony', a CD+DVD set that will be released by Serjical Strike/Reprise Records on March 8th.
With the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at his side, Tankian's epic songs and operatic vocals take on a whole new sense of grandeur when performed by a full 70-piece orchestra, while the DVD's sweeping edits showcase the drama of the concert. This unique meshing of two very different musical worlds was a vision Tankian has long wanted to make a reality. What sets 'Elect The Dead Symphony' apart from other successful pairings between rock artists and orchestras is that Tankian specifically rearranged his songs to be performed with only orchestral instruments.
"I was elated to have the opportunity to arrange my songs from Elect the Dead for a full orchestra with the APO" says Tankian. "The arrangements are quite different than those on the record, including bonus tracks never played live."
The package include two previously unreleased bonus tracks in the shape of 'Gate 21' and 'The Charade', while the DVD also features rare and intimate backstage footage, as well as one-on-one interviews with Tankian and various members of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
John Ure, the APO's Director of Operations, is equally as excited about the partnership, saying: "I was introduced to the music of System of a Down several years ago and became a fan after hearing the first song. Next thing I knew I was speaking with Boh Runga about a dream of mine of the APO performing Serj's music on stage and as it turned out, she knew him and was able to pass on this idea. It seems that dreams do come true! The excitement and anticipation is almost unbearable!"
The album contains elements of psychedelia, classical, and the trademark surrealist images and skewed time signatures that Tankian has made his own, all of which were scored by Tankian himself and arranged for full orchestra by respected New Zealand composer John Psathas. The album has been mixed by Junkie XL, known for his remixes for such artists as Britney Spears, Beastie Boys and Coldplay.