FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Christina Vantzou

Mixtape: Fractured Air – July 2019

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fracturedair_july19

We’re honoured to be premiering an exclusive new piece of music from Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Thomas Bartlett. The fiddler and pianist from legendary supergroup The Gloaming, are due to release their debut album as a duo later this year via Real World Records. ‘Kestrel’ is such an incredibly beautiful sonic exploration wherein the inner dialogue between the fiddle and piano inhabits a deep and sacred space, which feels so natural and free. The duo have already announced shows in Cork and London during September 2019.

Also featured this month is the gifted Stockholm-based composer Kali Malone’s new organ recordings: ‘The Sacrificial Code’ is an exceptional new body of work from this special artist. London-based solo artist Sarathy Korwar’s forthcoming sophomore full length ‘More Arriving’ is an exceptional genre-bending and deeply affecting journey, incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz performances. Also featuring: sublime new ambient releases courtesy of Kyle Bobby Dunn, Loscil, Christina Vantzou and Benoit Pioulard (via his Viul guise). Radiohead’s Thom Yorke’s latest studio album and UK folk singer Sophie Crawford are some more of this month’s essential music. Treasured Icelandic group Múm’s debut album gets a richly deserved 20th anniversary re-issue treatment (including reworks from Kronos Quartet and Hauschka).



 

Fractured Air – July 2019

01. Mark Renner‘The Gold and the Mud’ (Self-released)
02. Sophie Crawford ‘A Miner’s Life’ (feat. Oliver Coates) (Self-released)
03. Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh And Thomas Bartlett‘Kestrel’ (Real World Records)
04. Ordnance Survey‘Adaptation’ (Scintilla Recordings)
05. Sage Caswell – ‘Way Out West’ (2MR)
06. Viul‘Decem’ (Disques d’Honoré)
07. Loscil‘Equivalents 7’ (feat. Secret Pyramid) (Kranky)
08. Jane Weaver‘Arrows’ (Loops Variations) (Fire Records)
09. TRjj‘Phob’ (Stroom)
10. Arthur Lyman‘Return To Paradise’ (HiFi Records)
11. Greg Foat ‘Of My Hands’ (Athens Of The North)
12. Kely Et Basth‘Andosy Mora’ (Strut)
13. Dr. John‘Mama Roux’ (ATCO Records)
14. Sarathy Korwar‘Bol’ (Leaf Label)
15. Shabaka and the Ancestors‘Joyous’ (feat. Shabaka Hutchings) (Brownswood Recordings)
16. Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – ‘Watch the Time’ (Sacred Bones)
17. Kyle Bobby Dunn‘Infinite Escalators’ (Past Inside The Present)
18. Doxa Sinistra‘The Other Stranger’ (Enfant Terrible, Trumpett)
19. The System‘Find It In Your Eyes’ (Music From Memory)
20. Yutaka Hirose‘Taiko’ (wrwtfww)
21. Múm‘Smell Memory’ (Kronos Quartet Rework) (Morr Music)
22. Minor Pieces‘Rothko’ (FatCat)
23. Christina Vantzou‘Lava’ (Ken Camden Remix) (Self-released)
24. Thom Yorke‘Runwayaway’ (XL)
25. Coil‘Fire of the Mind’ (Threshold House)
26. Kali Malone‘Sacrificial Code I’ (iDEAL Recordings)

Guest Mixtape: Resina (Poland/130701)

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To coincide with the release of last month’s utterly compelling ‘Traces – Remixes’ EP via the essential 130701 imprint, world-renowned Polish cellist and composer Resina’s follow-up to last year’s ‘Traces’ full-length, we are delighted to present a special guest mix compiled by the revered Warsaw-based cellist. Across the EP’s sprawling sonic terrain, Resina’s cello-based compositions get re-imagined by four of her favourite artists, that in turn, explore further into the heart of human emotion and the spectrum of life itself.

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The shimmering bliss of labelmate Ian William Craig’s breath-taking remix of ‘In’ serves the achingly beautiful centrepiece. Looped cello lines become beautifully interwoven with the Vancouver artist’s glorious vocal melodies – creating a symphony of timeless bliss and unfathomable beauty. Tape artifacts are masterfully implanted deep inside the slipstream, creating an otherworldly sound world  of post-classical rapture.

The hypnotic ‘In In’ is further transformed by Icelandic composer Ben Frost with added drumming elements, further heightening the cinematic atmosphere and charged intensity of Resina’s original composition. Swells of vocals and synths are distilled in the track’s shape-shifting and continually morphing elements that reveal endless moments of complete transcendence.

Berlin-based Lotic takes ‘In In’ to a completely new world of playfully rhythmic electronic wizardry. Serbian ambient artist Abul Mogard’s epic remix of ‘Trigger’ expands space and time, as beguiling ambient waves fade beautifully into the headspace, before a crescendo of scintillating noise fills the void. These fascinating remixes give new perspectives on Resina’s deeply moving and inspiring sonic landscapes.

‘Traces – Remixes’ EP is out now on 130701.

 

Resina – Fractured Air Mix – July 2019

01. Christina Vantzou – ‘Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space’ (Kranky)
02. Ben Frost – ‘Touch the Heart’ (SATV Music)
03. BNNT – ‘The Last Illiterate’ (Instant Classic)
04. Zamilska – ‘Front’ (Untuned Records)
05. Lotic – ‘Distribution of Care’ (Tri Angle)
06. Emilie Levienaise-Farrouche  – ‘Persephone’ (130701)
07. M8N – ‘Through the Waterfall’ (SADKI REC)
08. Abul Mogard – ‘The Sky Had Vanished’ (Ecstatic Recordings)
09. Resina – ‘In In’ (Ben Frost Remix) (130701)
10. Ian William Craig – ‘Some Absolute Means’ (130701)

‘Traces – Remixes’ EP is out now on 130701.

https://resina.bandcamp.com/

http://130701.com/

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July 3, 2019 at 10:20 am

Guest Mixtape: Julia Kent (Canada/The Leaf Label)

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To coincide with the release of “Temporal”, the world-renowned Canadian cellist and composer Julia Kent’s majestic fifth studio album, we are excited to present a very special guest mix compiled by one of independent music’s true treasures. The New York-based composer – originally best known as cellist for Antony and the Johnsons and member of the cello-driven group Rasputina – has quietly amassed a monumental body of solo work since “Delay”, her 2007 debut full-length. Each subsequent recording never ceases to amaze in it’s immense artistic vision and graceful execution, all the while revealing Kent as one of the most consistently fascinating artists making music today. 

Spanning a breathtaking spectrum of some of the world’s most innovative contemporary composers, Julia Kent’s guest mix beautifully blends modern classical, electronic, ambient and experimental spheres to wondrous effect. “Temporal” is available now on The Leaf Label.

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Tracklist:

01. Jessica Moss“Fractals (Truth 4)” (Constellation)
02. Sarah Davachi“Third Hour” (Ba Da Bing!)
03. Resina“Procession” (130701)
04. Kelly Moran“Halogen” (Warp)
05. Galya Bisengalieva“Tulpar” (NOMAD Music Productions)
06. Helena Hauff“Entropy Created You And Me” (Ninja Tune)
07. Barbara Morgenstern “Brainfuck” (Staatsakt)
08. Fatima Al Qadiri“Breach” (Hyperdub)
09. Jlin “The Abyss of Doubt” (Planet Mu)
10. Zora Jones“Too Many Tears” (Fractal Fantasy)
11. Holly Herndon & Jlin“Godmother” (feat. Spawn) (4AD)
12. Gudrun Gut“Boys Keep Swinging” (Monika Enterprise)
13. Kali Malone“Arched in Hysteria” (Hallow Ground)
14. Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma“Indefatigable Purple” (Shelter Press)
15. Christina Vantzou“Sound House” (Kranky)

‘Temporal’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

https://www.juliakent.com/
http://www.theleaflabel.com/

Mixtape: Fractured Air – January 2019

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Our January mix features a host of sumptuous sonic gems that surfaced – for the most part – throughout last year. Vital reissues from Amercian dream pop artist Happy Rhodes (Numero Group); Robert Rental’s sublime post-punk explorations culled from 1980 demo tapes (Optimo Music) and Dublin artist Stano’s seminal 1983 solo debut released on Dublin’s Allchival re-issue imprint.

More sensational African funk emanates from the formidable Berlin Habibi Funk imprint (the label’s latest two releases are featured). With thanks to the XLR8R top tracks of 2018 piece, we’ve been introduced to the remarkable ambient opus ‘Nothing To Loose’ by DJ Healer, released last year to widespread acclaim. Peter Broderick (with a little help from his friends) has released his eagerly awaited “Sings Arthur Russell” album. His gorgeous rendition of “The Ballad Of The Lights” closes out our January mixtape.

Thanks as always for listening.


Fractured Air – January 2019

01. Christina Vantzou“Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space” (Kranky)
02. DJ Healer“Great Escape” (All Possible Worlds)
03. Cucina Povera“Demetra” (Night School)
04. Eno Moebius Roedelius“Old Land” (Skyclad)
05. Beverly Glenn-Copeland“Color Of Anyhow” (Super-Sonic Jazz Records)
06. Sarah Davachi“Gloaming” (Ba Da Bing!)
07. Thom Yorke“Open Again” (XL Recordings)
08. James Heather“Ruqia” (Echo Collective Rework) (Ahead Of Our Time)
09. Djrum“Sparrows” (R&S Records)
10. GOSSIWOR“Fields of Helyon” (5 Gate Temple)
11. Severed Heads“Gashing the Old Mae West” (excerpt) (Ink, Virgin)
12. Lucrecia Dalt“Tar” (Jan Jelinek Remix) (RVNG Intl)
13. Happy Rhodes “When The Rain Came Down” (Numero Group)
14. Jinjé“Solace” (Kicks & Drums Records)
15. Robert Rental“Moving My Blue” (Optimo Music)
16. Kamal Keila“Al Ashafir” (Habibi Funk)
17. The Scorpions & Saif Abu Bakr“Shaikan Music” (Habibi Funk)
18. Noname“Blaxploitation” (Self-released)
19. El Perro del Mar“Walk On By” (Saint Etienne Remix) (Self-released)
20. Leon Vynehall“Envelopes (Chapter VI)” (Ninja Tune)
21. Yves Tumor“Licking An Orchid” (Warp)
22. Stano“Out of the Dark, Into the Dawn” (Scoff / Allchival)
23. Stuart A. Staples“Step into the Grey” (City Slang/Lucky Dog)
24. David Shire“Theme From The Conversation” (The Conversation OST) (Intrada)
25. Barnes & Trost“Holidays in the Old City” (LM Dupli-cation)
26. The Beach Boys“All I Wanna Do” (Reprise)
27. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith“Tides III” (Bandcamp)
28. DJ Healer“End of the World” (All Possible Worlds)
29. Peter Broderick & Friends“Ballad Of The Lights” (Pretty Purgatory)

Guest Mixtape: Echo Collective

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Founded by Margaret Hermant and Neil Leiter in Brussels only little more than five years ago, Echo Collective are one of the true shining lights of the contemporary modern classical scene. Echo Collective consist of classically trained and professionally active musicians based in the Belgian capital (Margaret Hermant, Neil Leiter, Yann Lecollaire, Hélène Elst, Charlotte Danhier, Gary De Cart and Antoine Dandoy). The group have collaborated closely with many of today’s most singularly unique artists including: A Winged Victory for the Sullen; Stars of the Lid; the late Jóhann Jóhannsson; Laniakea and Christina Vantzou. Earlier this year, Echo Collective released “Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac” via the 7K! label, a breathtaking reinterpretation of the 2001 Radiohead classic, which stemmed from a residency at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels during the 2016-2017 season, culminating in a live performance at the inaugural BRDCST festival in April 2017. Recently, Echo Collective performed their seminal live show at Primavera Sound, Barcelona to widespread acclaim. Compiled by Margaret Hermant (violinist and harpist for Echo Collective), she is also a member of the groups Bow and Quatuor Mp4.

 

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“Tribute”
compiled by Margaret Hermant, Echo Collective (Belgium)

Tribute to close friends and musicians whom I have had the chance to meet, to work with, or see on stage along my musical journey.

Echo Collective is a group that I founded with Neil Leiter in Brussels Belgium. Though we have our own musical projects, most of our work is collaborative. We have had the privilege to collaborate with artists like A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Adam Wiltze, Dustin O’Halloran, Christina Vantzou, Erasure, MAPS, Daniel O’Sullivan, Laniakea, to name a few. Through these collaborations, we are able to bring our background as classical musicians to bear in this new landscape of Neoclassical music. And often times, through the collaborations, we meet fantastic other musicians on the road. It really is an amazing gift to be surrounded by and working with such beautiful music and musicians.

This is the first time that I have been asked to make a published playlist. I chose to take the opportunity to share music by people we collaborate with, have met along the journey, or had the chance to see perform. And because I am a violin player, I really wanted to share music that was string based, and showed all the wonderful atmospheres that strings combined in different settings can make.

“This playlist is perfect for a good whiskey, a warm bath, or even a long drive. A companion to the beautifully simple moments in life.”
*Thanks to Neil Leiter, Steven De Vliegher

—Margaret Hermant, summer 2018


Echo  Collective – “Tribute” (Fractured Air Guest Mix)

01. Aphex Twin – “Aussois” (from Drukqs, Warp 2001)
02. Christina Vantzou – “At Dawn” (from No 4, Kranky 2018)
03. Jóhann Jóhannsson – “Odi Et Amo” (from Englabörn, Touch 2002)
04. Otto Lindholm – “Cain” (from In Death’s Dream Kingdom, Houndstooth 2018)
05. Echo Collective – “Hunting Bears / Like Spinning Plates” (from Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac, 7k 2018)
06. James Heather – “Ruqia” (from Stories From Far Away On Piano, Ahead Of Our Time 2018)
07. Jens Maurits Bouttery – “The Day The Dogs Disappeared” OST
08. Mau Loseto – “Hologram Intro”
09. Peter Baert – “Verdriet / Titels” (from Facades OST)
10. Adam Wiltzie – “Bring This Place To Life” (from Salero OST, Erased Tapes 2016)
11. Simon Lenski – “I Like This” (from Oh City, self-released 2016)
12. Mica Levi – “Love” (from Under The Skin, Rough Trade, Milan 2014 )
13. Hildur Guðnadóttir & Jóhann Jóhannsson – “Leaving Home” (from Mary Magdalene, OST)
14. Mica Levi & Oliver Coates – “Barok Main” (from Remain Calm, Slip 2016)
15. Prairie – “Elephants Will Rise Again” (from After The Flash Flood, Denovali 2018)
16. Piloot – “B1” (Radio Edit) (from Piloot, Piloot 2017)
17. Laurent Plumhans – “After” (from In Memoriam, Cypres 2018)
18. BOW – “Bryanbaum”
19. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “I Am Consumed” (from The Kid, Western Vinyl 2017)

“Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac” is available now on 7K! Records.

https://echo-collective.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/collectiveecho/

Mixtape: Fractured Air – April 2018 Mix

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fracturedair_APRIL18

Our April mix contains brand new tracks from Rotterdam-based electronic artist Nadia Struiwigh (taken from her sublime Denovali full-length ‘WHRRu’; Grouper’s achingly beautiful and powerful studio album ‘Grid Of Points’; more new Kranky releases from the peerless Brussels-based ambient composer Christina Vantzou and California-based Dedekind Cut; the shape-shifting self-titled studio album from Bolivian American electronic composer Elysia Crampton; Inga Copeland’s latest musical venture under the alias of Lolina and Strut artist Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

Also featured is the renowned Brooklyn music institution RVNG Intl: London-based cellist and composer Oliver Coates’ brand new techno-fuelled single – and first for RVNG Intl – ‘Charlev’ with a full-length due out later this year. Another new RVNG release is renowned Colombian-born composer Lucrecia Dalt’s bewitching new record ‘Anticlines’, containing immaculate contemporary electronic compositions interwoven with cinematic spoken word passages (released this Friday, May 4th).

Irish artists include: Cork-based trio Crevice who creates hypnotic darkwave infused ambient song cycles and renowned Dublin-based composer Seán Mac Erlaine’s essential third solo full-length ‘Music for Empty Ears’ (recently released on the Ergodos label).

 

Fractured Air – April 2018 Mix

01. The Books“Group Autogenics 1” (Tomlab)
02. Japan Blues “The Sun Goddess Steps Out In Old Asasuka” (Japan Blues)
03. Nadia Struiwigh“Bldrnner” (Denovali)
04. Flame 1“Fog” (Pressure)
05. Solid Space“A Darkness In My Soul” (Dark Entries)
06. Dedekind Cut“De-Civilization” (Kranky)
07. Cindy Lee“Power And Possession” (W. 25TH)
08. Martyn Heyne“Patina” (7K!)
09. Broadcast“Come On Let’s Go” (Warp)
10. Yo La Tengo“You Are Here” (Matador)
11. The Ace Of Cups“Music” (Ace Records)
12. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids“Tinogue” (Strut)
13. Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari“Sam’s Intro” (Soul Jazz)
14. Gloria Ann Taylor“What’s Your World” (Luv N’ Haight)
15. Ms. Jade“She’s A Gangsta” (Beat Club Records)
16. Elysia Crampton“Nativity” (Break World Records)
17. Walter Verdin“A Million Miles” (Stroom)
18. Oliver Coates“Charlev” (RVNG Intl)
19. Matt Karmil“Sloshy” (Smalltown Supersound)
20. Lolina“Betrayal” (Bandcamp)
21. Christina Vantzou“Garden of Forking Paths” (Kranky)
22. Lucrecia Dalt“Tar” (RVNG Intl)
23. Harry Belafonte “Dark As A Dungeon” (RCA Victor)
24. Rauelsson & Erik K Skodvin“The Return” (Sonic Pieces)
25. Seán Mac Erlaine“The Melting Song” (Ergodos)
26. F Ingers“All Rolled Up” (Blackest Ever Black)
27. Crevice“Endless Bliss” (Fort Evil Fruit)
28. Sarah Davachi“At Hand” (Recital Program)
29. Grouper“Breathing” (Kranky)
30. Coil“Going Up” (Important Records)

 

Chosen One: Echo Collective

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Interview with Neil Leiter (Echo Collective co-founder).

I love playing this music and feeling my heart slow down in the pulseless moments, and then the opposite, getting carried away by the wall of sound and transported to the next realm.”

Neil Leiter

Words: Mark Carry

Photograph: Jesse Overman

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Echo Collective is a collective of classically trained and professionally active musicians based in Brussels Belgium. Past and ongoing collaborations include A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Laniakea, Adam Wiltzie, Dustin O’Halloran, and Christina Vantzou.

The live experience is one of those rare occurrences where a multitude of emotions can engulf your every thought, like a whirlpool of forgotten dreams that suddenly resurface to the pools of your mind. Of course, an experience such as this is impossible to quantify but the feelings and profound impact caused by these sonic transmissions is absolute and true.

When I think of some of these live experiences, the Echo Collective string quartet lies at the heart of several otherworldly live shows: Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson; A Winged Victory For The Sullen’s ‘Atomos’ tour (several years later) and Stars Of The Lid’s 2016 European tour. Undoubtedly, the gifted quartet have developed a common musical language with these awe-inspiring modern composers and the wall of intense sound unleashed by these live strings – blended with electronics, drone noise, ripples of piano notes or otherwise – navigates the depths of the human heart and (unknowingly) transported to another realm.

As part of the Echo Collective’s concert residency at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels during the 2016-2017 season, the Echo Collective will re-adapt and reinterpret Radiohead’s Amnesiac album. In a similar way to André de Ridder’s exceptional Stargaze modern classical ensemble – their reinvention of Boards Of Canada’s ‘HI Scores’ EP or the divine ‘Deerhoof Chamber Variations’ record are just two examples – Echo Collective are continually searching to redefine the boundaries of music (and in turn, these boundaries become beautifully blurred).

www.echocollective.be

https://www.facebook.com/collectiveecho/?ref=bookmarks

As part of the Echo Collective’s concert residency at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels during the 2016-2017 season, the Echo Collective will re-adapt and reinterpret Radiohead’s Amnesiac album. For details of the first edition of the BRDCST Festival and Echo Collective’s show (as a double-bill with Germany’s Hauschka), please visit HERE.

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Echo Collective performing with A Winged Victory For The Sullen at the BBC Proms, 5 Aug 2015, Royal Albert Hall, London.

 

Interview with Neil Leiter (Echo Collective co-founder).

It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions about your awe-inspiring musical project of Echo Collective. Firstly, can you please take me back to the founding of Echo Collective and the particular space and time in which this collective began on their music path? I’d love to gain an insight into your musical background and classical training. Also, please introduce to me the current personnel who comprise of Echo Collective.

Neil Leiter: First Mark, thank you for your interest in Echo Collective. It is a true honour to be part of your inspiring blog.

Echo Collective began five years ago. I was introduced to Adam Wiltzie by a childhood friend Caroline Shaw. She plays violin as part of ACME in New York and is a fantastic and renowned composer. As part of ACME, she had played with Adam as part of A Winged Victory for the Sullen and Stars of the Lid. Adam was looking for European based musicians to play with, and she put us in touch. I will be forever grateful for that introduction.

Margaret Hermant and I put a team together to collaborate with AWVFTS and Echo Collective grew out of that initial relationship. All of our musicians come from a classical background. For example I studied viola performance at Indiana University Bloomington, and had been an active professional in Brussels for ten years before Echo. Margaret our violinist and harpist, studied in Brussels and has also been an active professional for many years before Echo. The list goes on, but the background is the same. Classically trained musicians, searching to redefine the boundaries of music and what it means to be a classical musician.

Echo was and still is primarily a collaborative group. Though we have started to branch into our own projects, our roots remain collaborating with modern composers on their new projects, recordings, and tours. Though we tour mostly as a string group, normally between three and five musicians, our team in residence at the AB in Brussels this year, is seven strong: Margaret on violin and harp, myself on viola, Harm Garreyn on cello, Gary De Cart on piano, Hélène Elst on bassoon/contrabassoon,Yan Lecollaire on clarinet/bass clarinet/baritone sax, and Antoine Dandoy on orchestral percussion. The upcoming albums that we plan to release also are in this formation.

You have formed an integral part with many of the finest modern composers of today, including Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Christina Vantzou and more. Please discuss how the process of collaboration has developed between Echo Collective and these array of composers? It is clear that there is a dedication, trust and openness between you and these collaborating musicians. Each of these projects must take you on some deeply rewarding and fulfilling experiences. How have you developed as a string quartet in light of these wonderful projects and collaborations?

NL: You are completely right that collaborating with the aforementioned composers is deeply rewarding and fulfilling. Part of what makes it so special is that there is a real dialogue between us and the composers. Because we come from such different backgrounds, part of working with each of them is developing our own common language for musical communication. And as we develop this language together, there is a deep bond that develops. All of these people are like family now.  I think that these strong relationships come from learning how to communicate in our own special way, in an individualised way. In a way that only relates to their music.

I know that these composers appreciate that dedication. And all the people that take part in Echo have that innate ability to live the music live. In fact my wife jokes that I am probably the biggest Winged Victory fan. And I might be, I listen to their music and the music of all these amazing people all the time. And I truly do love it. All the people of Echo do. And that love is felt by our collaborators and hopefully the audience.

It is hard to say how we have developed over these years. I think that probably, we are faster in understanding what the composers want. Often times anticipating ideas before they are brought up. After playing so many concerts together, mostly it just takes a few words or a certain look between us to know where we are going and how we are going to get there.

The live experience of playing cities around the world with these incredible artists must be another truly inspiring avenue and path to be on. I was fortunate to witness Echo Collective onstage with Stars of the Lid last year and Jóhann Jóhannsson a few years previously. Can you shed some light on the preparation and rehearsals that are involved with these tours? I wonder what particular stage in the live context would be your favourite? The energy and depths of emotion that fill the atmosphere during these shows of yours create such a deeply profound impact on the listener. Can you somehow reflect on the live performance of music and the effect of strings (and the live string quartet) has on the live setting?

NL: For me personally, music is at its best live. I think that is where the greatest range of emotion is communicated by the performer and felt by the audience. And this is where the live strings really add the most. Because we are naturally acoustic, we can give the soft moments the transparency of un-amplified sound. And because we are amplified, as the music reaches those mind bending peaks in volume, we can help give it that extra oomph. In those forte moments, often times I feel that even in three we sound like one hundred.

We have worked over the years with Tom Lezaire (our long time sound engineer with AWVFTS and SOTL) as well as other sound engineers to keep the natural sound of the string instruments.  Even in the loud moments, the audience should feel the direction of the sound from the strings, the bow moving across the strings, the hiss of the contact point. Though the audience only sees the musicians on stage, the relationship that we have with Tom and the other sound engineers is imperative to a strong live performance.

As we play these great compositions, we try to feel the emotion that we want to convey. As a result, if we are doing our job correctly, the depth of emotion that we feel, should be the feeling that the audience gets swept away by. I love playing this music and feeling my heart slow down in the pulseless moments, and then the opposite, getting carried away by the wall of sound and transported to the next realm. That is by far my favorite part of the live context, being transported by the music.

As Margaret always says, and she is so right, having a stable team that is able to communicate and feel in these common ways is essential to being swept away and sharing that feeling with the audience. It is not by accident that we convey these feelings, it comes from years of playing together.

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Echo Collective plays ‘Amnesiac’ is an ongoing residency at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, which culminates in April 7ths Brdcst Festival performance. Firstly, please discuss your reasons for choosing Radiohead’s Amnesiac album and indeed your love and fascination with this band? This of course was a special time, when ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’ were unleashed into the world at the turn of the millennium. What are your memories of first hearing ‘Amnesiac’ and the impressions it left on you?

NL: This might surprise you, but I had never listened to the Amnesiac album before Kurt from the AB proposed it as the focal point of our residency. I grew up singularly focused to a fault on classical music. In fact it is a kind of running inside joke how little popular culture I actually have.  That being said, other members of Echo are huge Radiohead fans.

Kurt Overbergh, the artistic director of the AB in Brussels, initially proposed a choice between Kid A and Amnesiac as the focal point of our residency. At that point, I asked for a week, and immersed myself in these great records. We decided to work on Amnesiac because it is more complex, more built on layers, in my opinion more based of classical construction and colours, and in many ways more of a challenge.

The live recordings of ‘Amnesiac’ from AB Brussels, are quite extraordinary and the intricate arrangements are a joy to savour. Can you talk me through the process of notating, arranging and fleshing out these songs, so to speak? What I love is how you add many colours, textures and new perspectives to the sound world of ‘Amnesiac’. What have been the most challenging aspects of this project?

NL: Gary, our pianist, and I have been working this year to arrange these songs. Of course the process involves notating all the parts from the original songs (Gary is a real pro at this) and then imagining how to apply it to our ensemble. In a lot of ways, reworking the songs without voice has been freeing. Where a traditional rock song has to leave lots of room for the vocal line, we have allowed the secondary lines to be more equal with the vocal melody. This results in more interaction between the lines, and as a result hopefully lots of colours and variation in sound and form.

The hardest part has been finding our voice within, while still remaining ‘true’ to the original.  We want the audience to feel like they are meeting an old friend for the first time. To feel comfort in hearing a song that they love, but to be challenged to listen and interact with it like it is the first time. That is a real fine line to balance.

After our initial arrangements, all the fleshing out and balancing happens collectively in rehearsal.  We try things, see if they work, play a concert, reimagine, and repeat. We are constantly searching to take the sound to the limit, to appropriate each line as our own. In this way, the pieces are not just interpretations but reinventions. Our residency at the AB has really allowed us the time to work through all these processes, and to assimilate the music for ourselves. It has been a fantastic opportunity that we are very thankful for, and I think that we are finding that illusive balance.

The opening ‘Pyramid Song’ is magnificently re-arranged. The woodwind instrumentation replaces Thom Yorke’s voice but retains that sombre, brooding, dense feeling and atmosphere. Can you talk me through the instrumental make-up of ‘Pyramid Song’ and what new layers were composed for some of these parts?

NL: Like almost all of the songs, there is very little composition added to these amazing pieces, the lines from the original are kept, but readapted in our colours and techniques. In Pyramid Song the intro and outro are wind like color effects that we added to help set the mood. We achieved this through extended techniques in the strings and winds. And the baritone sax replaces Thom Yorke’s voice, later doubled by the contrabassoon. We chose those instruments to try and capture the amazing timbre he is able to achieve. It was one of the first arrangements we did, and still one of our favorites.

‘Hunting Bears/Like Spinning Plates’ epitomises the dynamic range of your ‘Amnesiac’ performances and just how aesthetically rich these compositions are. One of the defining moments arrives with the gradual awakening of ‘Like Spinning Plates’, coming after the sparse ‘Hunting Bears’. So much colour is added to the latter, it’s a piece I’m sure you particularly enjoyed arranging and performing? The strings on top of the piano and percussion – arriving on the rise of the song – is one of the defining moments of this live set.

NL: Hunting Bears is originally a big guitar solo, but for us was very reminiscent of a recitative from opera. Very free and in a way spoken. Margaret plays both the harp part and then the violin part which replace the guitar, and we follow her seemingly free form improvisation like an orchestra would accompany a singer in a recitative. We chose to use it more as an introduction to Spinning Plates than as a standalone piece.

And our version of Spinning Plates is based on Radiohead’s live version of this song. Their live version spoke to us directly, almost like something that we would have composed ourselves. It is probably my favorite, and also the most classical of all the songs. Like in many of the arrangements the vibraphone and glockenspiel are integral in creating the resonate atmosphere.  Everything just fits together like a clock. The contrabassoon line, which is not really the melody in the original, is a great solo line in our version. Put all together it gives the sensation of flying.

‘I Might Be Wrong’ and ‘You and Who’s Army’ remain as vital and affecting on these live recordings. I feel listening to these arrangements of yours, it not only reminds us how incredible Radiohead’s works are but how you are able to channel new energy and perspectives into these songs. ‘You And Who’s Army’ was always one of my favourite songs from the original and to see how this instrumental version slowly bloom and continually build is certainly the record’s crescendo.

NL: Part of the work that went into these arrangements was imagining the dynamics in a classical way.  That means creating long crescendos, or dynamic contrasts that might not be evident in the original.  ‘You and Who’s Army‘ was in fact reimagined as one long crescendo. The soft color of the bassoon solo accompanied by harp and soft viola and cello, that transitions into a raucous jazz inspired baritone sax and violin solo. This version really shows our full dynamic range both in terms of volume and color. As the layers pile up, so does the emotion. This is an extremely classical construction, and is part of what helps us reclaim the song as our own.

What are the kinds of conversations you’ll be discussing about honing in on your sound as you’re working together for the next number of weeks before the Brdcst festival? It must also be quite liberating to be undergoing a project such as this where there is vast possibilities as to how to bring ‘Amnesiac’ to life with your artistic vision?

NL: At this point we are fine tuning. Everything is basically set, and we are working towards esoteric things like flow, how to connect the pieces, in which order, communication, balance etc.  This is the part of the work where it really becomes chamber music.

How ‘Dollars and Cents’ is transformed into a sweeping orchestral jazz work out is another important part of Echo Collective’s ‘Amnesiac’ and how it serves a wonderful prelude to ‘Knives Out’. What have you learned about this body of work by Radiohead and what new insights and feelings/impressions you may have now after being immersed deeply in this project for the past few months?

NL: As we have worked through this large undertaking, we have been confronted with many things that we are not often confronted with as classical musicians. For example, non-classical musicians often talk about the groove, whereas classical musicians talk about pulse. This immersive process has really helped us to find that alternative perspective and abandon many of our preprogrammed classical clichés. By working through these arrangements we have in many ways transformed into a band. And that is exciting. But I am continuously struck by how classical and jazz oriented Radiohead is. It is ironic, but as we move away from what we know best, we continuously come full circle and are confronted with our origins. I feel that these songs are as much classical as they are not. And that paradox also gives the energy to reimagine what is already a great piece of art.

What other plans for Echo Collective lie on the horizon? I hope there will be (physical) releases made available in the near future.

NL: Thankfully there are many things on the horizon for Echo Collective.

We plan on releasing three albums in the near future, though where is still a great mystery. Of course we want to release the Amnesiac rework which we will record in August. We also want to release a reworking of Burzum’s ‘Daodi Baldrs‘ that was commissioned by the AB two years ago, which is already recorded, and we continue to play live. And we would like to release an album of our own original material that we have been working on in parallel to the Radiohead as part of our residency.

And then of course we will continue to work with AWVFTS as well as other artists in collaboration.  For example, we are in the beginning of collaboration with Daniel O’Sullivan. And of course we are always looking for new collaborations with artists.

We are doing more and more film work these days. As well as teaching graphic scores in collaboration with Christina Vantzou. All in all we are very excited as our activities continue to diversify.

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As part of the Echo Collective’s concert residency at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels during the 2016-2017 season, the Echo Collective will re-adapt and reinterpret Radiohead’s Amnesiac album. For details of the first edition of the BRDCST Festival and Echo Collective’s show (as a double-bill with Germany’s Hauschka), please visit HERE.