Though compared to such diverse artists as Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, the Roches, Yoko Ono, Karen Carpenter, and even (God forbid) Madonna, Amy claims to owe much of her interest in pop music to XTC.

While studying voice, with a concentration on classical and avant garde, she virtually ignored rock music. Then a friend turned her on to XTC, and she rediscovered the artistry and adventurousness that often appear in the pop world.

Far from turning her back on her classical training, she's managed to incorporate a remarkable variety of genres into her own music. Some of her influences, like Stravinsky and Brian Eno, may not be immediately apparent, but just beneath the accessible sound of her compositions, you can hear an intricacy and balance not often heard in most rock music.

Her broad interest in different musical styles is matched by her involvement in varied performance work. She co-owns IS Productions, an experimental theatre company and recording studio, where she combines her interests in theatre, music, and multimedia art. She also divides her performing time between playing her own music with her band, performing the works of other composers (notably Robert Ashley's opera Improvement, which has toured Europe and was recorded on Nonesuch), composing for modern dance, and collaborating with MAP, a computer-interactive performance ensemble.

Amy is most interested in music that crosses stylistic boundaries, and in using her voice in atypical ways. For all her emphasis on sound, though, she also finds unusual things to say lyrically, and uncommon ways of saying them. Although she's commented that most of the songs on her first album are about "lousy relationships," on other levels they deal with addictive behaviors, obsession, confusion, and safety. There's even one song about nothing.

Amy X Neuburg is a kind of alchemist, synthesizing disparate elements, observing the results. It's fascinating work, and it never ends.

Excerpted from The Racer Record, the Racer Records newsletter.