FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Leaf Label

Chosen One: Matthew Bourne

leave a comment »

So all these pieces have come about doing things for other people because for me, music is an extension of human relationships; I don’t think I’d make any music otherwise.”

—Matthew Bourne

Words: Mark Carry

matthew-bourne-855

The element of surprise comes with each and every new release from the gifted talents of UK composer and pianist Matthew Bourne. On the back of numerous diverse and ground-breaking musical projects – from last year’s utterly compelling moogmemory album to revisiting Kraftwerk’s seminal ‘Radioactivity’ album in the collaborative voyage of ‘Radioland’ – this month sees Bourne return to the piano instrument with the stunningly beautiful ‘Isotach’ full-length, released on the ever-dependable Leaf Label.

Like the roll of a dice, chance is key to the sonic creations captured on ‘Isotach’. The title-track is a heart-rending, delicate piano piece that forms gentle ripples in the pools of your heart and mind. Later, ethereal cello strings gradually melds with the contemplative piano tapestries; recalling the likes of Sylvain Chauveau or Erik Satie. The following ‘Isothere’ is a deeply immersive experience whose gorgeously sustained piano tones encapsulates one’s inner-most thoughts or faded dreams.

The minimal nature of these quite bare compositions is a joy to savour. A timeless voyage unfolds throughout the skeletal piano motifs and ghostly cello strings, like long-lost artefacts resurfacing from deep beneath the ground. Divine strings ebb and flow amidst delicate piano flourishes on the utterly hypnotic ‘Valentine’ before enchanting piano melodies grace the atmosphere on ‘Duncan’.

Heavenly rapture ascends on ‘Wedding Mala’ with glorious shimmering patterns of cello and piano reflecting the summer light in all its beautiful glory. The piece only lasts barely ninety seconds and yet it’s as if all life’s fleeting moments have been captured. ‘Candela’ is yet another shape-shifting tour-de-force. The depth of human emotion that dispels from Bourne’s minimal framework of piano (with masterful addition of cello) becomes the essence of ‘Isotach’s timeless journey.

‘Candela (for Sascha Heeney)’ is taken from the Isotach album.

LP+CD/CD/download: https://matthewbourne.bandcamp.com/album/isotach

 

‘Isotach’ is out on Friday 18th August via The Leaf Label.

 

 

mat_web

Interview with Matthew Bourne.

Congratulations on yet another exceptional record – on the back of so many diverse and wonderful releases – it’s lovely how ‘Isotach’ sees you return to the piano instrument. Can you recount your memories of making the new album and the moment you realized you’d come back to the piano again and recording these new pieces at home?

Matthew Bourne: I’m not very good at doing two of the same thing [laughs]. I think I do one thing and think ‘Right OK, I think I’ve done that and I don’t want to do the same thing again’. It’s a bit of a running theme, I’ve done a piano record; I did ‘Montauk Variations’ which is the first thing I released with Leaf in 2012: it was very deliberate like a fresh direction if you like. Before that, for my solo piano playing, I used to use a lot of samples (sampled media like clips from television and film, other classical music) and I used to improvise around those. It was a very mixed bag of stuff and I burned out and I thought, right I need to strip back to some sort of essence so I did that record and then I spent a lot of time working in France with a really great saxophonist Laurent Dehors and I just journeyed between that and Radioland, which was the Kraftwerk revisiting that I did with Franck Vigroux and Antoine Schmitt and then the Moog record came in between all those things really.

Working on the Kraftwerk stuff with Franck, it was just synthesizers and I’d already started to do new pieces for the Moog record so really I think I was slowly just doing more synthesizers – and very unconsciously – and it was around last year that I thought I’ve hardly played the piano and so when I was playing the piano, I was very conscious of it and I think I did go through a period where the pieces that are on the record because of other people asking me to do sessions for them – could you record some piano for this track or for this pitch we’re doing and I’d record with just one mic set up and I thought I’d mess around with some stuff and then forget about it [laughs]. And there was one day when I went back into one of the sessions (for Sascha) and I saw all these other pieces at the end and I thought ’wow, what are those?’ and I listened to them and I thought I’ve done this quite a few times over the course of a year or so. And so I went back into all the job sessions that I had done and sure enough I had found a number of pieces which were just sitting there so I gathered them all up and thought there might be something that hangs them all together. The thing that binds them all together is that they were often recorded in windy or rainy conditions up here in the house (which is quite exposed to the elements) so I thought, well that’s a good enough excuse to try and tie them all together [laughs]. I wasn’t conscious of them if you know what I mean; it’s quite a hard one to explain.

It’s funny, for each of the records I’ve done for Leaf they’ve all been very different in terms of their intention I think. With the Montauk Variations record, I consciously wanted to try and do something different and working with Franck; that was a very conscious thing to rework an existing material. With the Moogmemory pieces, I think again I thought well I’ve got to get down to something but I just want to consciously sit and try to make a record so I had to catch it by surprise. And I think with the ‘Isotach’ record I think it’s even more by surprise [laughs] because the moment I try and sit down and consciously say to myself ‘Right, I’m going to make a record’, nothing happens; nothing comes out really, it’s like I have to catch it without me realizing it’s been caught, if that makes sense. Because the more conscious I am, doing something, that something just escapes somewhere and you end up chasing after some kind of weird concept rather than just sitting and playing something. It’s a funny process I found myself engaging with over the years so this is just the latest outcome of that I suppose.

I love the arrangements and particularly how the cello comes in and out at various points, in such a beautiful and minimalistic way.

MB: I mean that came about because I obviously can’t do both at the same time. So I play something on the piano and record it and I immediately listen back and without really thinking about it, I think where can I add some cello? And I just sit and think OK, maybe there and I pick a note and I start to play something. I mean I played the cello before I really played the piano so I started to learn cello before I was good at the piano. I don’t practice the cello as much anymore and it’s an instrument that’s in need of some routine maintenance so there is a non-virtuosic quality going on in this; you know the bow needs to be repaired so a lot of the notes sound quite wispy and ghostly. I also decided a while ago, what was happening to my cello parts weren’t sounding rich or full-bodied like somebody who is a proper cellist so I thought well maybe that’s my angle (which is that I’m not). So, the cello parts that I do, I make sure to try and not be like a proper cellist and accept the instrument as it is and accept the sounds that are being produced. I think I didn’t want a very rich “proper” cello accompaniment either, I think I wanted this strange and in between and fragile and ghostly almost sound.

I think it’s my intention that it just sits behind the piano; it’s there but it’s not there. Again, I try not to plan it out too much, I just react to what I had heard at first and I build up a few layers and then I sit and listen to that and think ‘Yeah OK, that sounds alright’, and then I save it and close the session and that would be it [laughs]. As I say, it wasn’t until I listened back, sometime after, I thought these are OK actually and I think if I thought of it with the frame of mind to try to make a record I may have erased those things and try to make them better or try to do something else with them. I think I just like to let them breathe, much in the same way as I sit and play the piano (when nothing is recorded), I try to do that with the cello parts as much as possible and the fact that I can’t really play the cello to a virtuosity degree meant that the minimal nature of the cello parts were because I can’t really do anything else. When I look at it that way, I’m quite amazed that any music came out of it at all [laughs].

You were on the back of doing the wonderful moogmemory release only a short time before; you must find that taking a break from one instrument and going back to it with a new perspective almost entirely?

MB: It’s like a seesaw because those pieces on the latest album were recorded during the period that I did all the moogmemory stuff – well some of them were – and as I say they were just left and forgotten about. And it was when I had got them all out, I thought, hang on I have hardly played the piano in years if I really thought about it (in terms of the hours spent at the piano keyboard). So, in a way even though that music was made a little while ago, it has the effect of I guess now thinking right, I am going to go back to this instrument. It’s funny isn’t it, work that’s been done in the past like months and months ago has the effect of giving me a bit of a nudge saying ‘Right, it’s time to get back to that now.’ It’s very funny the way recordings for me have functioned. In my house here I am lucky enough to be able to record and not get on anybody’s nerves or not having anybody banging on the wall next door to me. Once things start to happen I guess I don’t get disturbed which is nice really.

Is that a new set-up for you in terms of recording at home because I presume you didn’t record some of those previous albums in a home setting?

MB: Well the Montauk stuff was recorded at Dartington Hall in Devon and well actually all the other stuff was recorded here because electronically I can take a direct audio out from the instrument synthesizers into the digital interface. With the piano on ‘Isotach’ everything was recorded here but yeah it is a very new set-up for me because I’ve never really done, I’ve never had that luxury of being able to keep things set up. And so I moved to where I live now about three years ago and then I think a year or so in I decided right I’m going to buy the piano and owning a few things to record the piano nicely. So, it’s a simple set-up but I guess my issue is that I can’t go and consciously make a record. So a lot of the time I have all this stuff that’s built to capture what I do at any time but I don’t do it at any time [laughs] because otherwise I’d be too conscious of the fact that I’d been recording all of the time so it’s a funny dance that I do with this thing. I have to wait for something to come along really and to catch it by surprise, like something is happening here but that only happens after I’ve done something for a number of times or I’ve amassed a couple of recordings, so actually there is something going on and there is a record; something forming or another project happening but if I consciously go out of my way to do it as I say, it seems false, to me, I mean I wish I didn’t have that. I’ve had this conversation with Nils Frahm about this and he’s the opposite actually, he was saying ‘Well I go into the studio, I turn everything off and I’m not coming out until I’ve got this record’, and to sit and get these pieces together for however much time a week, two weeks and only do that and come out of it and really really craft a record; I wish I had a bit of that but I don’t, I have the opposite; I have to catch it by accident otherwise I feel like I’m cheating or something.

matthew b

It’s cool how the idea of the Piano Day brought about the gorgeous piece of music ‘Isotach’? And other pieces too are dedications to friends and people in your life, it’s lovely how that all worked out.

MB: Yeah, that was interesting because that was the first Piano Day wasn’t it and Nils said it would be cool if you could do a piece and I said ‘Well OK’ and I forgot about it and it was the day before the day itself and I’d been preparing some tiny little loops for a sample CD – of piano loops of all things – and one of the loops was this little motif that the piece is based on. I was just fiddling around with it and I thought ‘Well that might make an actual piece maybe’ and I just found myself musing on it and it was quite late – it was about twelve o’ clock at night and I thought I can’t be bothered actually, I thought I was supposed to do that piece but I don’t know – so then I thought I’d record it really quickly. I threw up one microphone and it was really windy and it was raining outside and at one point in the track you can hear the rain hitting against the window but it sounded louder in the room than on the recording. So that was just the one mic thrown up and then I just played around with it and then as I said before, I listened back and thought maybe I could add some cello to this and so I moved the mic, picked up the cello, added it, synced the parts, listened to it and thought ‘yeah that’s OK’ and then I added a bit of reverb and I made sure that the file was alright and uploaded it to my soundcloud and I tweeted it to the Piano Day thing. All in that entire track took me about half an hour to do so it was really quick.

And that’s kind of how I do most of my work and one of the other tracks ‘Wedding Mala (for Dave & Nichola)’ again, that was their wedding the next day and I thought well I haven’t got them a gift – and I had forgotten that they didn’t want any gift – so I thought maybe I should give them this small musical gesture. So I sat down and again I had to pick a friend up from the train station at about half an hour before he arrived and I thought Oh I’ve got to go drive and get him from town and so I thought I’d just sit down and do something, so I sat down and played this little thing and I thought yeah that’s fine and then I added some cello bits to this and then I thought I’ve got to go, save and close and go to the train station.  Again that was one of those pieces where I didn’t have any time to over think anything and thought I’ve got to do something. And again, I came back and thought actually that’s OK even though it felt really rushed at the time [laughs].

So all these pieces have come about doing things for other people because for me music is an extension of human relationships; I don’t think I’d make any music otherwise. I mean I’m quite content sitting at home playing through classical music and trying to learn pieces and sitting and practicing and figuring things out for my own amusement; I am very happy doing that. But in terms of things that make it out there into the public, they probably wouldn’t make it if it weren’t for Leaf and so I have a very good relationship with Leaf and with Tony and with the guys at the Leaf Label; they’re very kind and patient and then everyone else I get inspiration from. I used to think that I got inspiration from some weird, internal place within me but actually it’s not, it’s all to do with other people. Because the pieces of music aren’t really about anything, it’s just music so I think who can I give this as a gift to; who could I tribute this to; what’s the character of the music?

So that’s why I end up either dedicating them to people or naming them after people because I think well I don’t need it, I could just sit down and make up a piece on the piano but it’s no good to me, I think the more and more I do my music I feel quite comfortable naming them after people. There are a lot of jazz standards that are named after people so I guess there’s nothing new there but I do like the idea of giving the music as a gift where I think there is something being spoken in the music, like I’m going to give that to them. So that’s how that works, usually the dedications happen after the music actually, I don’t sit and think ‘I’m going to compose this piece for a really good friend of mine’ because again, for me that would be over thinking and putting something in the way.

The act of compiling the pieces I suppose must be a fun process in the sense that you’re seeing what matches each one? Because it is true there is very much a narrative running throughout and as a listener you feel they all belong together.

MB: It is quite fun because I think in the way the work has been done and it’s a different process. I think I was concerned because they are all very slow; they all have a kind of rhythm but the pace is very slow so I thought how am I going to find a path through all of these because they’re quite similar? And then what I ended up doing was usually at the end of a piece you can sometimes lead on to the next note of the beginning of the next piece so the start note of piece 2 often is either the same or a step higher or a semitone higher or lower than the other, so it’s as if the end of one piece help lead onto the other or the start of the other can help pick up from where the previous piece has left off, so there seems to be a handing in the baton in a way from the end of one piece to the next. So that’s often my process, I often think well what’s happening at the end of the piece and how does that link up to the start of the next piece?  So it’s often not like this piece is light in character or that’s dark, sometimes it’s just to do with how the end leads on or suggests something. I get them in a rough order, I start looking at those sorts of details in a way to try and glue the tracks together. It’s tricky, I think it’s a very, very hard thing to do. With ‘Montauk Variations’ it was more varied, it got pieces that were quite abstract; inside the piano it’s really percussive and non-tonal and then it’s got pieces that are quite tonal and melodic next to other pieces that are very still and I think there’s like seventeen tracks on that one so that was a lot. This one has ten tracks so it’s a little bit easier but harder in the sense that they’re longer, then slower but it’s a fun challenge nonetheless.

With the moogmemory release and the way there’s no real added manipulation except for the Moog itself, it must have been quite an experience for you to come to that moment where you could actually do that?

MB: That was something that came about quite early. I have a couple of other synthesizers – I don’t have a mass collection by any means – and very early on I tried adding some stuff over the top of it and I didn’t do very much but the sound was different and the feel was different, so I added another layer of something else. And then the more I just sat with the memorymoog and thought well this is an instrument in its own right – a bit like the piano – I decided that I was going to play everything; that everything was going to be played at the keyboard as if I was at a piano. There are a couple of tracks on the record where I do some overdubs, there’s one where I layer up a few things but I try to keep the layering as close to the original pache if you like. So if there was a bassline that I wanted to enhance I would only use the sound that came from that original pache to do it so I wouldn’t try and go off and explore too much and get a whacky or heavy bass sound and so that’s the sound of this pache so can I enhance the bass with that same sound or add something subtle inside the sound?

I try and do that on ‘Horn and Vellum’ where it’s more obviously layered and composed in a sense and again that just came out of me messing around and thought I’m thinking quite big here so I just started fooling around with stuff. But generally everything is played in and I thought well I didn’t know of anyone who had just sat down with an old polyphonic synthesizer and just played it as an instrument rather than program it, it’s quite easy to program things using Midi and things like that and that’s something I’m not that good at or very familiar with so I thought well I’m a piano player really so I should just play this instrument and just play everything in and not to click, just let the instrument generate everything, let the instrument generate arpeggios and rhythms and go with that. It was like a surrender; surrendering to the instrument and surrendering to what it tells you, I think my cello does the same to me; I think because of the way I am and haven’t played it for very long, you’re faced with a situation where you’ve only got what you’ve got to work with so you have to try and be creative with those limitations. If anything I see myself trying to limit myself even more rather than trying to expand what I’m doing.

I think it’s all about finding the right chords or just one chord note and just being happy with that. There is a piece on the record called ‘Valentine’ and that was done on Valentine’s Day. I was doing some work for a friend of mine Dan Berridge who scored an amazing BBC program about Iceland and I was doing the cello parts for that and I was having a break and I started playing this note and I layered up some of these notes and I think the first version of that was just three chords played and that was it and it only lasted for about fifteen seconds [laughs]. And I kept looping it again and again and I thought well actually this works like this but it’s only one chord and I like the idea of being happy with only one chord – even only one note if that ever happens – I’d be very happy to find the right note, in the right way, once or twice.

I know you don’t over think things when it comes to making music but would you have ideas or plans for some future musical projects of yours, especially now when looking back on the string of releases you have under your belt?

MB: I might do something where I combine a bit more; maybe the synthesizers with the piano and a cello. It’s something brewing in my mind that I could combine all of these elements next. Maybe that’s the next thing; it’s not about one instrument or one instrument with a bit of something else, maybe it’s everything in that I have in the house and maybe that’s the next thing that I try and do but I’m not sure.

‘Isotach’ is out on Friday 18th August via The Leaf Label.

https://www.facebook.com/mortbutane/
https://www.facebook.com/theleaflabel/

Written by admin

August 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Chosen One: Jherek Bischoff

leave a comment »

Interview with Jherek Bischoff.

When I was inside of making this music, I was just living it and when I stepped back and listened, I realized quickly why this record made so much sense for me to create.”

—Jherek Bischoff

Words: Mark Carry

jbischoff

 

The modern-classical opus ‘Cistern’ is the latest masterpiece from gifted Los Angeles-based composer Jherek Bischoff, which was released earlier this year on the ever-dependable Leaf Label imprint. The suite of nine stunningly beautiful modern orchestral recordings awaken a myriad of feelings: euphoria, joy and hope are inter-woven with moments of fear, anguish and despair as a voyage of epic proportions gradually unfolds with each momentous note and the intense reverb contained therein.

The album-title reflects the origins of Bischoff’s joyous string-laden voyage. An empty two-million-gallon underground water tank was the space in which ‘Cistern’ was conceived that led the prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalist to improvise music inside this vast space and (as described by Bischoff) “fascinating days of music-making” would soon ensue. Distance and time are integral components to the immersive sound world of ‘Cistern’ where the space between the notes become just as important as the notes themselves. In many ways, I feel a striking parallel exists between the slowed-down strings of these exceptional compositions – for example, the heart-wrenching closing lament ‘The Sea’s Son’ or eternal rejoice of ‘Attuna’ – and the pioneering ambient works of revered duo Stars of the Lid (particularly the more orchestral-based works of the band’s last two records). Bischoff’s ability to stretch out space is one of the great hallmarks of ‘Cistern’, a timeless quality that indeed prevails throughout the record’s sprawling canvas.

The effect of the cistern as a recording space was in fact two-fold for the LA-based composer, which saw Bischoff drawing on his childhood growing up on a sailing boat: “The experience of being in that space brought back so many memories of my time spent traveling by sailboat on the open ocean. Compared to city life, the pace of moving on the ocean and the speed at which you travel is slow”. ‘Cistern’ immerses the listener deep into an ocean of enchanting sounds that invites inner-reflection of the rarest kind. The intricate arrangements and rich sonic palette – supplied by renowned New York-based Contemporaneous Ensemble and Bischoff’s (multiple) instrumentation of contrabass, flute, electric bass, ukulele, casio and bells – creates an utterly timeless tour-de-force that navigates the depths of the human heart.

 

‘Cistern’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

http://www.jherekbischoff.com/
http://www.theleaflabel.com/

 

jherek-b

Interview with Jherek Bischoff.

Congratulations Jherek on the stunningly beautiful and epic tour de force, ‘Cistern’. First of all, please take me back to the inception of this enchanting record and the special journey it took you on? Discuss the sound world and acoustics captured within the cistern itself and the emotional trigger in which brought your musical ideas to glittering life?

Jherek Bischoff: Thank you so much for the kind words! The journey began when I was awarded a residency by Centrum/Artist Trust in Seattle. The residency was to take place in Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend Washington. The plan was to finish mixing my last record Composed, but for years I had been told about the Cistern that was there. Many of my friends had made music down there and many people have made great music in there so I wanted to hear it for myself. To get into the cistern, a park ranger takes you up the hill to a giant stone. The stone is lifted to reveal a manhole cover, the only entrance to the cistern. I brought my recording gear and set up for 3 days, planning on just messing around and experimenting. However, upon playing the first few notes down there, I realized immediately that this sound would be my new record – in fact, the first thing I improvised in the cistern was the title track from the record! The cistern itself has a 45-second reverb decay, and you could hear distance and time if that makes sense. It was unlike anything I had experienced before. Emotionally speaking, it was interesting because it is such a dark space, literally and tonally, and in the first day, I tried to fight it by experimenting with beats and trying different things but it quickly distilled into soft, deliberate and beautiful music.

The record as a whole feels akin to an epic voyage across deep blue seas amidst vast seas of engulfing moods, colours, textures. One of the hallmarks of ‘Cistern’ is the immaculate detail and rich tapestry of instrumentation that is so masterfully realized (and subsequently arranged). Can you recount for me your memories of making music inside the cistern? In terms of improvisation, please shed some light on any structural framework or ‘gateways’ you search for when it comes to composing music through the art of improvisation? 

JB: I would say that maybe 5 of the tunes began in the cistern as seeds during improvisations. The rest was inspired by how it felt to play music in the cistern. Having that intense reverb was like having a collaborator, and slowing everything down that much in order for things to resonate gave me such a deeper appreciation for the space between notes. Slowing things down like that gives you time to think about the next step or even the next 3 steps. Arranging is maybe my favourite part of a musical process for that very reason. I get the chance to think about every single note that will be played. I get to sit there and ponder for a while if a note should even be there. So, arranging music that was so based on ideas that are already slowed down and in general kind of simple was wonderful because it was like a double dose of getting to think about every single note and also magnifying it. Sometimes looping something a dozen times and then just changing the note in one instrument and enjoying how much that changed the feeling made for the most successful musical moments on the record. It was a wonderful process.

What are your earliest memories of traveling by sailboat, Jherek? It’s fascinating how serendipitous Cistern’s story proved where an empty two-million-gallon underground tank led you to re-awaken ceaseless memories of your childhood at sea. What aspects of the sea – and particularly the axis of space and time – have made an impact on you?

JB: Well, I was sailing since the year I was born and my earliest memories of sailing were probably in San Francisco on my parents’ first boat. I loved the moment when the sails filled and you could feel the wind pull you along; you could turn the motor off and you would hear just the water against the hull. I travelled many great distances on the boat including crossing the Pacific. I learned to appreciate the things that I had at hand. People used to ask me if it was boring to travel around so slowly and it absolutely was not. The colour of the ocean in the middle of the Pacific is the most incredible blue and you can see the rays of the sun shoot down toward what seems like infinity. I could and did just stare at that for hours on end and it never got old. So yes, the cistern and sailing were very similar in a lot of ways that only became apparent to me later upon listening to the music as an outsider. When I was inside of making this music, I was just living it and when I stepped back and listened, I realized quickly why this record made so much sense for me to create.

‘Headless’ is one of the record’s defining moments: a golden dawn fills the vast skies above and seas below. The mesmerising guitar-based melody is particularly poignant, as is the delicate piano notes and gradual pulses of soul-stirring strings. Please talk me through the construction of this piece of music and indeed the moment in the journey ‘Headless’ signifies for you?

JB: This tune I added at the last moment. Another song that I had recorded with Contemporaneous I decided to not use and it left me short a song. I had just written this tune and was headed up to Seattle to do some other work and very quickly pulled together a recording session with some friends. I had to piece this one together more like my typical process. I recorded the strings and then put my bass melody on there and then I ended up playing the rest of the instruments myself just because of lack of time and budget. I did my best to mix it to feel like it was in the same space as the rest of the record and I think it does pretty well. With pretty much all of the tunes on Cistern the biggest challenge was trying to decide how many times I could loop something before it would lose its focus too much. I wanted the listener to be able enjoy it as ambient music and be able to get lost in it, but I also wanted it to be something that an active listener could enjoy. I kept shortening and lengthening this one over and over until the end to get it right. As far as what the tune means for me emotionally, I can only really say that it was music that I made to satisfy something deep within myself.

Looking back on the making of ‘Cistern’, were there certain moments or parts in the process that proved pivotal in achieving the record’s desired sound and feel? For instance, collaborating closely with the wonderful ensemble Contemporaneous and recording in Hudson’s Future-Past Studio must have many of these sonic creations afoot to new pathways or directions as a result?

JB: As I was working on writing the pieces to go on Cistern, I was playing a lot of shows in New York and started working with Contemporaneous pretty regularly. We were playing some of these tunes and I was refining them as we went along. It was apparent to me right away that they were the perfect ensemble to play this music. They are the right size, have more than enough skill and have so much great energy. We could all be very serious and get deep into the work, but we could also have a laugh and shake it off. We were working on this recording for three days and getting very, very specific to get the most out of every note. We were developing and honing in on specific vibrato for instance that created a feeling of the sea, and if everyone was not totally focused, we would lose the feeling. That kind of focus causes a lot of tension in your mind and body, so being able to have a good laugh is critical!

I wanted to record outside of the city so we could remain more focused. We decided to go upstate and Future-Past was recommended by a few very smart musical minds in the area. We were all able to stay out at Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman’s place in Woodstock. It was so wonderful to be able to work all day together and then party together in the evenings.

In mixing, it took a long time for me to find the right combination of reverbs to feel like the cistern. It was at times a combination of 4 or 5 reverbs to create the desired effect.

I must ask you about the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, which took place very recently. This must have been a very special moment for you and also I must congratulate you on the gorgeous and deeply heartfelt ‘Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute’ EP. Can you describe the importance of David Bowie’s music in your life and indeed this beautiful chapter that saw you work closely with Amanda Palmer, among other wonderful voices?

JB: Oh man, Proms was THE BEST! It was such an honour to be part of that. It was certainly one of the highlights of my musical life so far!

Making the Bowie EP was wild. We did it so quickly! I had a day to arrange each tune, including “Blackstar”, which is basically three songs in itself.

I was actually not much of a Bowie fan growing up for whatever reason. I certainly had tunes that I liked a lot and appreciated him as an artist, but in the last few years my enjoyment of his work has grown so much. About 6 months before his passing, I did an arrangement of “Life On Mars” for tuba octet! His passing was so intense for me and everyone around me. Like I said, I didn’t grow up with him, but losing him was such a huge blow. I felt losing him so much heavier than I think I had ever felt losing someone I didn’t actually know personally. This is one reason why I felt that working on the EP was okay to do. I felt that I was in mourning and I should deal with it anyway I could.

What are your earliest musical memories? I wonder how did your musical upbringing develop and with whom do you feel you have learned a lot from when it comes to making music and forming your own unique musical path? 

JB: My dad is a musician as are/were his friends. When my folks would invite friends over, the night would usually end with them all on the couch, a little whiskey in hand and eyes closed, just sitting there listening to music together. I remember distinctly Kate Bush being played a lot. I used to think it was really strange and now I do the same! Still with Kate Bush!

As far as musical upbringing, my great friend Sam Mickens from our band The Dead Science would certainly be that dude. We had that band for about a decade and see eye to eye on almost every single piece of music. It’s crazy. We always pushed each other too. If we didn’t see eye to eye, eventually we would. I remember him playing me OK Computer and thinking it wasn’t for me…even Bowie, too! He was always pushing me and I like to think I did the same for him.

Lastly, what artists, musicians, records or live shows do you feel made a profound impact on you?

JB: Live that I have seen: Jimmy Scott, Tom Waits, James Brown, Prince, Boredoms, Deerhoof.

Records:

Arvo Part – Tabula Rasa (particularly Gil Shaham playing Fratres)

Tom Waits – Bone Machine (for the sounds)

Busta Rhymes – E.L.E

John Jacob Niles – Tradition Years: I Wonder As I Wander

Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come

Prince – Purple Rain

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

 

‘Cistern’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

http://www.jherekbischoff.com/
http://www.theleaflabel.com/

 

Written by admin

September 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Chosen One: Wildbirds & Peacedrums

leave a comment »

Interview with Wildbirds & Peacedrums.

“The love of something also brings the fear of losing it, so there is always a duality present.”

— Mariam Wallentin/Andreas Werliin

Words: Mark Carry

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Late last year saw the eagerly awaited fourth full-length release from Stockholm husband and wife duo, Wildbirds & Peacedrums. ‘Rhythm’ –released on the prestigious UK imprint The Leaf Label – showcases Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin’s deep musical telepathy and the band’s incendiary live performance. Describing ‘Rhythm’ as ‘going back to our roots’ album, the album’s highly intensifying nine sonic creations incorporated drums (Werliin) and voice (Wallentin) with exception of a bass line added at certain sections. A relentless creativity seeps from the gifted duo whose previous records – ‘Heartland’(2008), ‘The Snake’ (2009), ‘Rivers’ (2010) – have incorporated multitudes of sounds (tropicalia, punk, R&B, spiritual pop and primitive blues) and soaring emotion.

Andreas Werliin’s wide array of collaborative projects include: Andrew Bird, Lonely Dear and Neneh Cherry. In addition, the acclaimed trio of Fire! (with gifted saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Tape’s Johan Berthling) and Tonbruket (with Dan Berglund). Mariam Wallentin has her own richly compelling solo output (recorded under the moniker of Mariam The Believer) and collaborative work with Susanna & The Magical Orchestra, Labfield, Lykke Li amongst others.

‘Rhythm’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

https://www.facebook.com/wildbirdsandpeacedrums
https://www.facebook.com/theleaflabel

Interview with Wildbirds & Peacedrums.

Firstly, it’s striking that the songs of ‘Rhythm’ contains such raw emotion, intensity and energy that reveals the strength and power of your latest masterpiece. I imagine it was quite a liberating album to make in the sense that you both find yourselves coming full-circle in many ways, and returning to your roots?

Mariam Wallentin/Andreas Werliin: Thanks a lot for those kind words. We are very happy with the album and extremely happy that you like it. When we decided to take a break with W&P to do other projects and bands it was a bit of a slow process to start doing the album. First of all we needed to find the right meaning with it, since this somehow got lost during the last years of extensively touring. But on the other hand we were both filled with passion and love for the duo. We started to record some parts slowly and tried out and experimented a lot but it never felt right until we decided to go back to where we started; the drums and vocals.

Discuss the challenges you faced to effectively translate the intensities of your live shows into a studio album? It’s a question posed by many musicians and bands, and I wonder did you utilize any new techniques for the making of this album as opposed to the previous three records?

MW/AW: Our earlier albums have all been a fast process – squeeze in between tours kind of. But this time we bicycled to our own studio, working on finding the right tempos for the songs, testing different microphones, tuning the drums in right keys and so on before doing a take. We decided to stand close to each other, nothing between us to let the sounds blend in to the microphones and when we felt that everything was in place for the song we hit record and tried to do it as a live take. After that we did some overdubs if needed and then the mixing, so all was made with only the two of us in a room, quite a private and intimate process but with the urge to let the music out and in to other ears and bodies.

It’s amazing to think most of these songs were recorded in one take, again illustrating the monumental achievement of ‘Rhythm’. I would love for you to describe your Stockholm studio and the set-up you have there? The album was written, recorded and produced by the pair of you; which process of the music-making process have you discovered the most intensive that poses difficulties?

MW/AW: It’s basically just a rehearsal space, filled up with a lot of drums and percussion. Since drums are vibrating live instruments just as the voice is, we filled up the room with different reflective materials that would make this small room sound bigger than it actually is. Since we had no time pressure we could let each song find it’s very own sound by experimenting with different set ups and effects so it all was in place when we were done. Instead of trying to find the sound when mixing it was all done in the pre-production.

In terms of the writing process, there is a psychological element very much present throughout ‘Rhythm’ and subsequent emotions of fear, tension, struggle, dreams, longing and hope permeate the headspace. I would love for you to discuss the central themes to the record and what ‘Rhythm’ means to you both?

MW/AW: It is a special focus of tension present on this album yes -fear vs safety, doubt vs hope and so on- and over and over Mariam do comes back to that when writing lyrics, and to our inner emotional lives we have in our bodies and our minds, like the lives inside our lives. It’s a lot about falling, about crossing the line and never be able to go back again, the small steps that can be so small but still devastating. So yes, it is a lot about our psychology as humans, how we think and react, both instincts and more thoughtful. The love of something also brings the fear of losing it, so there is always a duality present.

One of the album’s defining moments arrives on the utterly captivating ‘Soft Wind, Soft Death’, a sublime tour-de-force. I love how the voice and drums effortlessly coalesce together, creating a truly transcendent sonic creation. Please recount your memories of writing and recording this particular song? Was this also a first take? The lyrics linger in your mind, long after the music is gone that results in a deeply enriching experience.

MW/AW: We had the idea of a repetitive haunting drum groove that would contrast to a more floating, thoughtful vocal part. When we recorded it we needed to do it separately so Andreas started to record the groove – we think it didn’t end until 18 minutes, all while Mariam was standing in front, dancing and forcing him to keep up the energy. We took out a 7 minute part and built the vocals from there.

You have shown relentless creativity these past few years, having collaborated with a host of wonderful artists and musicians. I can imagine these various projects you always have ongoing must feed healthily into a Wildbirds & Peacedrums record? What other projects do you have planned?

MW/AW: Even though W&P always have and will be our ”first born” it’s for the both of us very important and rewarding to do other projects and collaborations. Both feeds each other somehow. We have just finished a Roland Schimmelpfennig performance piece in Stockholm – a collaboration between Andreas trio Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling) with Mariam and Refused drummer Davis Sandström. Mariam has her solo project Mariam The Believer that will go on tour with Damian Rice and Ane Brun this summer and fall, and she is also part of the improv trio Nuiversum. Also there’s the mayhem project Fire! Orchestra that we are both part of and that will play shows this year all over Europe. So yes, we like to keep us involved in many different projects.

— 

Please go back to your earliest musical memories. How soon in your lives did you realize the importance music would have on you?

MW/AW: We started both very young to discover music – Andreas in my mother’s kitchen banging on cans, and Mariam has been singing since she was a child, both in choirs but also dubbing animated movies and stuff. No matter what else happened around us we have always had the music as a shelter and as a comfort.

When Andreas was about 8 he got a blue cassette from a student of his father with some classic rock on… He especially remember the Max Wienberg drumming on Born in the USA. Mariam remembers her mother’s Aretha Franklin and Beatles vinyls.

Discuss the records you’ve been listening to most during the last year or so? Are there particular sources of inspiration you find yourselves coming back to, again and again?

MW/AW: There’s a very diverse pile of inspirational albums in our living room. We guess what could be the red line between them are bravery. Both in songwriting and production. Records that stand out and takes unpredictable turns.

 


 

rhythm

‘Rhythm’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

https://www.facebook.com/wildbirdsandpeacedrums
https://www.facebook.com/theleaflabel

Written by markcarry

June 22, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Chosen One: Colleen

with one comment

Interview with Cécile Schott, Colleen.

“…for this album there would be a general theme of trying to speak about the human brain, the mind and basically things that connect us all; these inner struggles, inner demons – if you want to call them that – and just, in general, the inner human life is so rich and complex and also it’s just impossible to really understand it and that’s what is really fascinating.”

—Cécile Schott

Words: Mark Carry, Artwork: Craig Carry

Print

The Paris-born musician Cécile Schott has been making music as Colleen for over a decade now: beginning with a string of much-loved records for The Leaf Label (debut 2003 album ‘Everyone Alive Wants Answers’, 2005’s ‘The Golden Morning Breaks’ and 2007’s ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’, as well as 2006’s ‘Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique’, (an E.P. originally created for Atelier de Création Radiophonique as a commission from France Culture). After a four-year break, Colleen made her long-awaited return to music in 2013 with the release of her album ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ via London-based label Second Language, its eleven songs featuring, for the first time, Schott’s own voice as well as a new-found love for Jamaican music and rhythm. Colleen’s hugely anticipated fifth studio album ‘Captain Of None’ has just been released by Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey Records, representing the crowning jewel of Schott’s treasured works of art thus far.

The first glimpses of the San Sebastian-based artist’s new material came during 2013’s ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ tour, in the form of the shape-shifting creations: ‘Captain Of None’, ‘I’m Kin’ and ‘Lighthouse’. The scintillating dub-infused rhythms interwoven with Schott’s mesmerising voice is a pure joy to behold as vast seas of tender beauty ascend into the human space. I was fortunate to witness Colleen’s live performance on two separate occasions during 2013 – Dublin’s Unitarian Church during the early summer and Cork’s Triskel Christchurch in early November – that were dotted with an endless array of utterly transcendent moments created in Schott’s own little corner of the world.

The hypnotic notes of Schott’s trusted treble viola da gamba (a baroque instrument with gut strings) formed the foundation to ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’s sonic trajectory – in accordance with Schott’s use of vocals for the very first time – that would be further explored on ‘Captain Of None’ to wondrous effect. Unlike ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ – which incorporated a wide palette of instrumentation (for instance, the use of organ on ‘Humming Fields’ or clarinet on ‘Moonlit Sky’) ‘Captain Of None’ limits the instrumentation to Schott’s voice and treble viola da gamba (with the exception on the melodica-led, Augustus Pabo-inspired ‘Salina Stars’). The album’s eight sublime creations further evolve, transform and ceaselessly mutate due to the compelling production ideas and wholly unique artistic vision of Schott, who creates, in turn, a sonic marvel of a record. Inspired by Jamaican music, the dub-inspired techniques (basslines provided by a Moogerfooger delay pedal) utilized throughout ‘Captain Of None’ transports the listener to the further reaches of one’s mind: a lost labyrinth of time.

In Lloyd Bradley’s comprehensive history of Jamaican music, ‘Bass Culture’, one particular chapter describes Lee Perry’s Black Ark Studio (Schott’s own San Sebastian-based studio has been lovingly dubbed the White Ark). Leroy Sibbles describes Perry as “an explorer going into the future of the music” and I feel those very words epitomises both the ambitious scope of ‘Captain of None’ and the breath-taking inventiveness of its author.

“The naked eye can’t see these things” sings Schott on ‘Captain Of None’s penultimate tour-de-force, ‘Eclipse’, it perhaps best describes the lyrical viewpoint of Schott since she commenced adding voice to her compositions on 2013’s ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, where both realms of the real and the imagined are simultaneously traversed and explored (in a similar vein to Liz Harris’s Grouper guise or Sibylle Baier’s beloved ‘Colour Green’, for instance).

Like a beacon of the night, ‘Captain Of None’ reveals a sense of the vulnerable and the fragile (as well as a sense of the deeply personal) which quietly lie side-by-side with the brave and the permanent. All the while to the pulse of a beautiful, beating heart.

colleen-captain-of-none-artwork-by-iker-spozio-300x300

‘Captain Of None’ is available now on Thrill Jockey Records.

http://colleenplays.org/
https://www.facebook.com/colleenplays
http://www.thrilljockey.com/

colleen_collage_craigcarry_web

Interview with Cécile Schott, Colleen.

Congratulations, Cécile, on the incredible new album ‘Captain of None’, it is very special.

Cécile Schott: Thank you.

First of all, it’s great to see the songs you performed on ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ tour – the likes of ‘Captain Of None’, ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘I’m Kin’ – present on the new album and to hear how they have evolved over the past year or so.

CS: Yes, it’s true. It’s actually one of the first albums I’ve done where most of the songs – well, half of the songs on the album – were born as live songs as I was basically preparing the live show for ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’. What happens usually when I rehearse is of course I am rehearsing specific songs but there is always a point when, for instance, your hand strikes another chord or maybe you just sing something to yourself and all of a sudden you realize that you have the seed for a new song. And basically the first song that was born that way was ‘Lighthouse’. When I was rehearsing for ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ live shows in 2013 and then the following summer, ‘Captain Of None’ and ‘I’m Kin’ evolved really rapidly as I was rehearsing in my studio, playing around with ideas. So it’s true it’s the first time I’ve been able to play a couple of songs from a forthcoming album before the album is released, basically. It was actually really nice at the moment of recording, I had the body of these three songs and then I was able to give them further clothes by adding little production ideas and having a more complex sound. It’s obviously easier to have a more complex and interesting sound when you are recording because you have more tools at your disposal.

That’s exactly one of the aspects that makes ‘Captain Of None’ such a compelling journey: it is the instrumentation itself and all the different layers. I think too it’s the studio set-up that you have – which you have dubbed ‘The White Ark’ in reference to Lee Perry’s ‘Black Ark’ – I would love for you to discuss the various techniques because it’s obviously an album with so many ideas where there is so many elements happening in the music.

CS: Thank you. Well basically the album is both very cohesive in the sense that there is only one stringed instrument – that’s the treble viola da gamba – and then there’s the voice and these are the two main instruments. On ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ there was treble viola da gamba, bass viola da gamba, acoustic guitar, clarinet, piano, organ, toy gamelan (basically a miniature version of a gamelan), frame drum, floor tom and other bits of percussion, and of course my voice, so it was very varied.

With this album I knew I was going to do something different because I really fell in love with the sound of the treble viola da gamba. Basically, what happened was, when I was making ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, there was a moment when I took the treble viola – and I hadn’t recorded with it yet – and then I changed its tuning and that’s how I first made the song ‘Geometría del Universo’ and then I made a couple of other songs like ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ and ‘Raven’ with it. And at that moment I knew I was really onto something because I think it’s a very, very specific sound and it led me to a way of playing that was different. So I knew from that moment that the subsequent album would be mainly focusing on this and on the voice.

Also, at the time of recording ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, I was listening with Iker [Spozio] to a lot of Jamaican music and I felt so inspired by it that I also thought that ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ was a very prepared album – in a way it’s a very controlled album in the sense that it was my comeback album, I was trying the voice which was obviously a big, big challenge for me and I was quite worried whether or not I could pull it off – and so I had to control many parameters on ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ and I think after that I needed to make an album where I could feel free – free to play, free to experiment – so from then on, I knew the album would have a kind of restricted palette of instruments but that it would be counter-balanced with my approach to producing it. And you know that’s where the Jamaican influence comes in big time even though it’s true it doesn’t sound like Jamaican music as such because obviously the instruments are different – my voice is nothing like a Jamaican singer’s voice – the point is not to even imitate the Jamaican music that I am so fond of but rather to take my inspiration from production ideas and the idea of experimenting, of playing with sound and seeing how far that can take you in terms of constructing songs, basically.

The quality of the overall sound as well where there is a very warm and organic sound from the instrumentation you use but I love too how like you mention with ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, on one level the songs are quite longer in the sense that there are extensive closing sections to many of the songs. 

CS: I can talk a bit more about certain things in my set-up that have really led to the sonic identity of the album. For instance, and that’s one of the things I love about trying to develop as a musician, is that sometimes you feel that you want to do something but maybe you haven’t got the right piece of gear to do it – you know, for instance I’m not at all someone who buys lots of gear, it’s something I don’t do. At one point I had a tendency to collect instruments but now I really stopped doing that. But sometimes it’s true that acquiring a new piece of equipment can really make a big difference. I think for this album, two things happened: First, I wanted to have some basslines in my music so I researched what is called Octaver pedals on the internet and I ended up buying one. An Octaver pedal adds another octave below the original sound you are playing, so it gives you a bass sound but with the original sound still present. When I got it and started playing with it, it was like: “Oh I just can’t believe how good this is!” It was giving me a bass sound that was way better than anything I could have hoped for especially because the treble viola in itself doesn’t really have any bass. So the first big change was that I started to think in terms of basslines.

And the second big gear acquisition [laughs] was the Moogerfooger pedal. I basically got this pedal after seeing the Moogerfooger pedals in a video by American musician King Britt and I thought: “wow, these pedals look really cool” so I started to look at demo videos on the internet and I thought: “wow, this looks like something really different”. I already had lots of delay pedals but they weren’t analog pedals, just digital pedals doing emulations of analog delay. So I got one of them and you know again it was a case of not being able to believe the things that it was doing to the sound; it was completely different to everything I had in my array of pedals. So that was the second thing that started to enable different sounds to come into play on the album. And the thing about the Moogerfooger is it’s a pedal that you really have to use as if you were playing live. Basically, I was recording something and I was turning the dials on the pedals or maybe I recorded something beforehand and afterwards I would run the sound that I had recorded through the pedal and I would touch the various parameters that you have on the pedal.

For instance, a song like ‘Holding Horses’, the song is really – apart from the bassline – completely connected with the use of the Moogerfooger; all the different sounds – changes in the sounds you hear – it’s all through the Moogerfooger. Also, a song like ‘Salina Stars’, the melodica goes through the Moogerfooger and it’s what really gives those sounds and likewise for ‘Eclipse’, the voice goes through the Moogerfooger and so that was a really good moment of buying something and seeing that it’s taking you into whole new places in terms of sound, which in turn takes you to a different way of making music.

One of the first things that comes to mind is that the album feels like a live performance in the way that it takes you to the live show itself. In terms of the lyrics, I love how, for example ‘I’m Kin’, I love the beautiful imagery that is drawn from the song itself.

CS: I am a very curious person and I have an interest in so many things and one of those interests is trying to see how humans are connected across the ages, across geographical spaces and how we are connected to animals and just, in general, to the natural world that’s around us. So, I think with ‘I’m Kin’ I was trying to express this feeling of connection to other past ancient cultures including cultures that have completely vanished. I can tell you specifically for instance that the “golden ram from Iraq” is a reference to a statue that’s in the British museum; it’s a statue of a ram, it’s usually called the ‘Ram in a Thicket’ – it’s what it’s officially called, if I remember well – and I remember the first time I saw it, I was thinking wow, this is from the same place that now we only hear about because of the war in Iraq and you know this is like a birthplace and cradle of civilisation which was incredibly important to the development of the arts and so I thought that was quite interesting.

And then, afterwards, basically the song takes you from, first, it’s the connection to past civilisations and then it’s the connection to the animals; so in ‘The Odyssey’, Argos is the dog of Odysseus and when Odysseus comes back from his long journey, no one recognises him because he’s changed so much and there’s only his dog that recognises him. I remember when I read ‘The Odyssey’ I thought that was such a moving passage, I thought that there is no better example of that connection between a dog and his master. And also the next sentence of “the greyhounds hanging from the trees” – I don’t know if you’re going to understand this reference [laughs] – it’s basically a reference to the Spanish greyhounds that are used by hunters and unfortunately the hunters, once their dogs are not useful anymore for hunting or if they’re considered bad hunting dogs, they’re basically left to die in horrible conditions; they’re even tortured. It just meant a lot to say that I felt connected to the fate of the poor animal like that and then it moves onto the elements like “the rocks and the water” and when you tread on something there is this whole hidden world – insects and life underneath – like the song goes from something that is concrete and human to the world of elements and of the tiny, basically.

Again, I think the lyrics are so poignant; they feel almost like parables as you listen to the different songs. 

CS: I think there are various ways of writing lyrics. For instance, I really admire people who can write lyrics that have a narrative content so, for instance, I think a real master of that kind of lyric writing is Townes Van Zandt. When you listen to a Townes Van Zandt song it’s almost like hearing a short story and it works so well and if you had to sum up the contents of his songs they would sound really, maybe cliché but his gift for narrative writing which obviously is infused with a lot of poetry is really, really strong. Or someone like Stina Nordenstam who I think has some songs that really have this sense of mysterious narrative and, unfortunately, I don’t think I am one of those kind of lyric writers. Also, I think I’m very much at the beginning of writing lyrics, you know in total I’ve written very few lyrics but I knew that for this album there would be a general theme of trying to speak about the human brain, the mind and basically things that connect us all; these inner struggles, inner demons if you want to call them that and just in general the inner human life is so rich and complex and also it’s just impossible to really understand it and that’s what is really fascinating. For instance, a song like ‘Captain Of None’ is really about that but the thing is the way I was writing the lyrics I was really trying to stay away from clichés and so when you say a parable, it’s not necessarily that I want the lyrics to be hard to understand and I don’t think that they are but it’s trying to write them in a way that hopefully will resonate with every listener and maybe every listener, when listening to the lyrics, will take something from it and maybe interpret it in his or her own way.

Staying with the song ‘Captain Of None’, I love how both the title-track of this album and ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, I think it works so beautifully that each song closes the album as well.

CS: Yeah, yeah I like the idea of maybe keeping the most important thing for the end in a way.

If one lyric comes to mind that sums up nearly the feel of the album would be the lyric “I got lost inside a dream”, it encapsulates the journey as a whole. 

CS: The song is about losing touch with reality and not recognizing or understanding yourself – trying to find rest yet being unable to do so – hence the feeling of getting lost in a kind of parallel reality (a “dream”) which leaves you feeling “Captain of none and nothing”.

colleen_concertposter_craigcarry

When you listen to the new record too you feel there is a trajectory going back to even your first album and the music boxes; there are textures and nuances present that makes you feel shades of your previous material is somehow embedded in there as well.

CS: Yeah, it’s funny I’m actually quite happy about that because, on the one hand, I’ve never made an album like this one but on the other hand it’s true that some aspects of it go back to the first album and in a way that’s quite nice. I think maybe at one point – I’ve never rejected what I’ve done in the past – but I remember when I was making ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’ I really wanted to be able to play without looping because I was thinking “Oh ok, everyone uses loopers, it’s boring; to be a real musician I need to be able to play without any background looping” so I had these kind of ideas in my head and you know I think as an artist, you do go through various phases and it’s interesting how if you let a few years pass you can change your mind completely. Well, I’ve gone back to my initial love of sampling and looping and I think that’s completely fine and also I think one of the effects of Jamaican music is that in a way Jamaican music and especially the dub productions, they really pre-date so much of the music from the end of the electronica and all subsequent electronic music. And one of the things about Jamaican music is that it’s often very basic in terms of the melodic unit: it can be the same chord for five minutes and when I realized that I was never disturbed by that, I thought well it just goes to show that it’s not about whether something is looped or sampled, if it’s a great melodic unit then yeah, it can last for ten minutes for all I know, so I was really glad to be able to just work without any preconceptions of what I should do. And I still really like that first album [‘Everyone Alive Wants Answers’] so I’m glad I was somehow able to make the circle form itself.

And what is also wonderful are the sublime instrumental cuts. I know you’ve already mentioned ‘Salina Stars’ and I love how it brings you to the likes of Augustus Pablo and the like.

CS: Absolutely. Augustus Pablo was my reference point to the song, it was almost like a little homage. It’s funny because first I thought I wasn’t going to use the melodica because I thought well that is going to sound sub-par compared to Augustus Pablo’s melodic genius but then I took it out of its case and I hadn’t touched it in years and years and then all of a sudden the song was born. And yeah I’m really glad because I think it adds variety to the album’s sound as well. Before, I said the album is only treble viola but it’s not completely true, there is also the melodica.

Actually another thing, Cécile, I didn’t realize it until recently but if you’d like to talk about first noticing the viola da gamba itself, I think it was in a French film?

CS: I think I was about fifteen when on French TV they showed ‘Tous les Matins du Monde’ by Alain Corneau. I remember watching it and just falling in love with the sound of the viola da gamba. At the time, I think maybe I had just started to play the guitar possibly, but anyway it seemed like something that you would think about but it’s never going to be for you because I don’t have a classical education. At the time I couldn’t read notes on the score and also the viola da gamba is a very expensive instrument; it’s very rare. I mean, you can find a cello quite easily but to obtain a viola da gamba is like a whole different process. So that basically stayed at the back of my mind and later on, when I took up the cello, that kind of went into the foreground a little bit until, in 2005, when I made the decision to order a viola and then so afterwards I had to wait for nine months for the viola maker to make it and then I got it in early 2006. But the treble viola da gamba, I only got it in 2009 and the interesting thing is I just wasn’t using it. I got it precisely at the moment when I went through my blank period of not feeling like making music. But afterwards, when I went back to making music, it wasn’t the easiest instrument to go to because I hadn’t really played it. So, I thought: oh, I’ve ordered the viola and it’s cost me money and it’s just lying there and I haven’t even used it until I had this revelation when I was making ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ and I changed the tuning and so that’s the short story about the viola [laughs].

Another thing is how fantastic it is that you have your proper studio set-up – which is really like for the first time – and no longer having difficulties of only recording at night, for example with ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’? So this time for once you had your proper space.

CS: Well I have to say this album has been such a joy to make. All of my previous albums, there’s always been a challenge of some sort. If I think of the second album [‘Golden Morning Breaks’] it was the first time I was recording with real instruments and I had the so-called second album pressure on and the third album ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’ that was a really hard one to pull off because I was going for a more minimal sound with the big viola da gamba and for that you need really good microphones, you need quite a good recording technique, so in the end I got the help of my mastering engineer at the time, Emiliano Flores: he’s also a sound engineer so thankfully he helped me to record it. But it was recorded in two weeks in an attic at his parents’ place and then I did some of the additional recording at home but it was far from ideal and kind of rushed. For ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, I had the studio but the studio had these terrible doors and windows; you could hear the sound of cars and from people coming by so I had to record the album partly in our flat here and partly in the studio at night. It was just insane and I would be so tired; it is just not good for you to work that way and it’s also quite stressful. One of my aims with this album was: “Ok, this time I’m really going to take my time and just do things well” and I was able to do it thanks to the renovation of the doors and windows of the studio that happened in late 2013. Honestly, it was amazing to go there at a normal time like 3 in the afternoon and just spend the whole afternoon until 8 in the evening recording and there is no noise and there’s light coming through the doors, it was just great you know [laughs]. My first pain-free recording, basically.

At the start of your last tour you had some new songs, I wonder do you have sketches of new songs in your head at the moment or is it too soon?

CS: I have very, very small things but to be honest I’m just concentrating on learning how to perform all the songs from the album – well seven from the eight songs on the album – I’m learning to perform them live because the thing is some of them are really easy because they already existed before the album was recorded; ‘Captain Of None’, ‘I’m Kin’ and ‘Lighthouse’ – these were pretty easy – but the other ones were made in the studio and the thing about using delays is that delay works differently in a studio setting and in a live setting: in the studio it was going into the computer and you’re basically using headphones but then it’s a different bag of tricks when you’re playing through a PA system because then the delay doesn’t react the same way. So I’m having to learn how to change the settings of the delays from how I’ve had them for the recording. And also I have to learn how to perform the songs in one go because obviously on the album, with the luxury of recording, you can always touch up on mistakes and do twenty takes if you need to. So right now I’m mostly concentrating on just that and I have a faint idea of what the next album might be like but I also think I shouldn’t rush.

I love ‘Lighthouse’ which is one of the older songs off the new album. I suppose it shows the inspiration you draw from your surroundings in San Sebastian?

CS: Absolutely. I think in a way ‘Lighthouse’ is a bit different from the rest of the album because I think it’s the only one that doesn’t really fit the thematic unit of the rest of the album because it was made much earlier. The thing is ever since I moved here I’ve always had the idea of having at least one song that would pay homage to the beauty of the landscape here, the soothing quality of it and the magical quality of living by the sea because, in a way, I’m used to it now but I think it’s when I see something like a lighthouse, I don’t know maybe it’s the human element within the landscape of the sea, the flashing lights; there’s something about lighthouses that are very poetic. For instance, I always have this fantasy of one day being able to record an entire album in a lighthouse and at some point it would be something I’d love to do. Also in a way I think the lighthouse flashes, they also have enormous musical qualities – I don’t know if that really makes sense – there is something like a pulse that really speaks to me and you’ve seen this lighthouse anyway, it’s always the same emotion of seeing that landscape and definitely as far as living here is concerned, I actually find it very beneficial to be living in a place where there isn’t very much happening because in a way it forces you to look deeper within you and also gives you more time to work on your own stuff. And that’s the way I feel and I’m glad I lived in Paris for many years – and I probably think it was the right place for me at the time – but actually right now I couldn’t go back to a big city. I think it’s really good to be here and have this balance and also this ability sometimes to completely disconnect from city life, and go to a park or go by the river or sea or go to some hills and completely disconnect and I think that is quite important and quite healthy.

I love your story about when you used to visit the local libraries in Paris, which in turn formed your musical education in many ways? It must have been a whole new world of sounds that opened before you?

CS: I think I’m so lucky that I was able to arrive in Paris at the moment I felt like making music again. Basically what happened from the age of nineteen to twenty-three, I gave up for a moment. From about twenty/twenty-one to twenty-three/twenty-four, I wasn’t sure what kind of music I wanted to make and I didn’t have the tools anyway to do something original and I knew that I wanted to do something by myself. I knew that I didn’t want it to be guitar driven – and I was only playing the guitar at the time – and I think arriving in Paris at that time and having free access to all this music at the time when the internet was barely starting, you know that’s like pre-historic times you know for young people reading this now. I think you have to remember that in 1999 there was no way to listen to things that easily and I think it really formed my whole project of making music in a different way through having access to all this different music.

Finally, Cécile, in terms of Jamaican music, what artists would you recommend?

CS: I’d like to suggest the work of the following people; in terms of producers: Lee Perry, King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Scientist, and the recordings that appear on the Wackies label. For interpreters: the early Tappa Zukie and early Burning Spear are favorites, as well as Noel Ellis, Ras Michael, Stranger Cole, Horace Andy… but it’s just the tip of this huge iceberg of excellent music that is the Jamaican music production from the late 60s to early 80s (the period I love the best, with my year of birth – 1976 – being a particular favourite, but that’s just a coincidence!)

 


 

colleen-captain-of-none-artwork-by-iker-spozio-300x300

‘Captain Of None’ is available now on Thrill Jockey Records.

http://colleenplays.org/
https://www.facebook.com/colleenplays
http://www.thrilljockey.com/

We’re proud to be presenting Colleen (with special guest Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh) live at Cork Opera House on Sunday 3 May 2015. Tickets are €17.50, available at Cork Opera House Box Office (Emmet Place, Cork City); telephone (+353 21 427 0022) or online HERE.

 

Mixtape: Illusions and Dreams

leave a comment »

illusionsanddreams_sleeve

Illusions and Dreams [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/illusions-and-dreams-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. K. Leimer ‘Allegory’ [Palace Of Lights]
02. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith ‘Careen’ [Western Vinyl]
03. Circuit Des Yeux ‘Lithonia’ [Ba Da Bing!, L&L]
04. Hildur Guðnadóttir ‘Birting’ [Touch]
05. The Gloaming ‘The Girl Who Broke My Heart’ [Real World]
06. Planxty ‘Time Will Cure Me’ [Polydor/Shanachie]
07. Arthur ‘Sunshine Soldier’ [Light In The Attic]
08. Cem Karaca ‘Bir Of Çeksem’ [Pharaway Sounds]
09. Calexico ‘Woven Birds’ (Cinematic Orchestra Remixico) [City Slang]
10. The Notwist ‘Scoop’ [City Slang]
11. Aphex Twin ‘xmas_EVET10 [120] [thanaton3 mix]’ (excerpt) [Warp]
12. Theo Parrish ‘Tympanic Warfare’ (excerpt) [Sound Signature]
13. Wildbirds & Peacedrums ‘Soft Wind, Soft Death’ [Leaf Label]
14. Disappears ‘OUD’ [Kranky]
15. Mount Eerie ‘This’ [P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.]
16. Dirty Three ‘I Really Should’ve Gone Out Last Night’ [Bella Union/Anchor & Hope]
17. Jonny Greenwood ‘Spooks’ [‘Inherent Vice’ OST/Nonesuch]
18. Richmond Fontaine ‘Valediction’ [El Cortez]

The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.
http://fracturedair.com

 

 

Chosen One: Roll The Dice

with one comment

Interview with Roll The Dice.

“One of the ideas from the start was to not have many beats, not to have it beat-based and the piano was really good as well. So the percussive, one note on a piano can sound really, really good. So it can be so much more than just a note, trying to use the most out of a few elements you know, that was the idea.”

Peder Mannerfelt

Words: Mark Carry

0002777968_10

Armed with a trilogy of utterly transcendent full-length releases to their name, Sweden’s Roll The Dice represents one of the leading lights of modern electronic music. The Stockholm duo of Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt return with their highly anticipated ‘Until Silence’ record – released as ever on the trusted independent Leaf Label – which sees a broadened sonic canvas as the shape-shifting sonic creations are unleashed to new extremes (and possibilities).

A unique blend of organic and synthetic elements are effortlessly fused by the Swedish pair, where a cosmos of haunting piano notes and captivating strings swirl majestically amidst an ocean floor of synthesizers and tape-worn analogue machinery. An emotional depth of colossal magnitude lies at the heart of Roll The Dice’s ground-breaking blend of electronic, ambient and drone soundscapes.

The musical narrative of Roll The Dice is steeped in wonder and significance, having begun with 2011’s formidable self-titled debut which effectively conveys the duo’s early explorations through uncharted territory. A largely organic and warm feel permeated the headspace of the intimate debut, whereas follow-up ‘In Dust’ delved more into dark and contemplative territory with a darkened metropolis and its suffering inhabitants serving the album’s gripping foundations. Continuing naturally on from ‘In Dust’, a broadened sonic palette is forged on the latest opus that is more intense and hard-hitting than any of the duo’s previous output to date. ‘Until Silence’ is dotted with moments of tension, fear, frustration, anguish, pain but equally glimmers of hope, intense beauty and heartfelt radiance ceaselessly seeps into your consciousness.

Pardon and Mannerfelt enlisted Erik Arvinder to work on string arrangements for several tracks, which were subsequently recorded with a 26-piece string section ensemble. This sonic shift heightens every aspect of Roll The Dice’s immaculate oeuvre of life-affirming sound, as explained by the duo: “We wanted to push the music to extremes”. The album’s longest cut, ‘Assembly’ is a prime example where across ten minutes, a spectrum of raw emotion engulfs each and every aching pore of ‘Until Silence’s musical trajectory. An eerie tone is immediately cast as hypnotic single-notes of piano are repeated beneath hidden textures of analogue synthesizers. A string section gradually ascends into the mix that in turn, forms a sublime neo-classical infused, drone-like mood piece. The ripple flow of piano notes serves a returning motif throughout, evoking a fragile beauty and profound sadness. As the string patterns gradually build, a crescendo is reached as the layers of soaring strings attain new summits and tap into newfound dimensions.

In much the same way as previous material, ‘Until Silence’ could be a music score to any array of silent films from the golden era of the 20’s and 30’s, such is the album’s enthralling narrative and intense emotion captured therein. For example, I feel the spirit of Swedish director Victor Sjodstorm buried somewhere deep within the pulsing heart of ‘Until Silence’s sprawling sonic canvas. The cycles of tension that encapsulates tracks such as ‘Time And Mercy’ and ‘Wherever I Go, Darkness Follows’ dispel a brooding darkness as a vivid sense of turmoil and devastation prevails. It is these extremes of the human condition that Sjodstorm’s ‘The Phantom Carriage’ and ‘A Man There Was’ examines as a harrowing, painful and devastating world engulfs the film’s central protagonists. The throbbing beats, hypnotic piano and film-score strings of ‘Wherever I Go, Darkness Follows’ evokes a similarly chaotic and brutal atmosphere.

As the boundaries are disregarded and the duo masterfully push the sonic envelope to new pinnacles, the music journeys into the heart of darkness that results in a deeply affecting and breath-taking experience. The greater dynamic range is clear to witness. What follows the chaotic beats and bleak soundscapes are moments of sheer beauty and illumination (particularly mesmerising piano-led melodies of ‘Perpetual Motion’ and string-laden opus ‘Coup de Grace’). One of the album’s (many) defining moments is the tour de force of ‘Perpetual Motion’. The track builds on foreboding beats and analogue synthesizers that conjures up the sound of loss and resignation. Moments later, a stunningly beautiful piano-led melody drifts beneath the age-old machinery as a torch-lit lament is fully formed. A string section is added later, which melts into the stunning mix of synths and interstellar beats, creating in turn, ‘Until Silence’s enriching climax.

The final two pieces, ‘Haunted Piano’ and ‘In Deference’ forms the aftermath of what came before. The slowly drifting piano notes of ‘Haunted Piano’ is steeped in grief-stricken sadness, further heightened by the gorgeously arranged string section. The album closer, ‘In Deference’ deals with the long-term effects of war and destruction as the organic and synthetic elements of piano, strings, synthesizers and analogue devices gathers momentum that forms a gateway into a new world, as lives are lost and irrevocably left behind. The harsh tones of pulsating piano evokes the painful memories of hurt and tragedy that were inflicted upon whilst the achingly beautiful synthesizer-led melody conjures up the sound of hope and solace that will forever remain. ‘Until Silence’ is a monumental body of work that not only represents a career-high for the Stockholm duo but a timeless masterpiece in contemporary music.

————

‘Until Silence’ is available now on Leaf.

http://rollthedicesthlm.com
http://www.theleaflabel.com

————

bakgrund

Interview with Malcolm Pardon & Peder Mannerfelt.

Congratulations on the new album, it’s really incredible. I love how there is a new direction; it’s similar in ways to the previous two records but the narrative has changed, in terms of the ground you cover.

Malcolm Pardon: Well I’m glad you like it.

I’d love for you to discuss the aims from the outset, for example I love how there is an added use of strings on ‘Until Silence’, mixed with the usual piano and synthesizers.

MP: Yeah, well we had an idea about kind of moving from these two characters on the second album, ‘In Dust’, they were placed in a kind of industrial scenario and so, on this one we tried to sort of, move them forward a bit in history and ended up somewhere around the First World War. And then at the same time, strings felt like an appropriate instrumentation for that period and that kind of drama.

Peder Mannerfelt: Also to try to broaden the emotional palette you know, make it bigger.

MP: And also, we didn’t want to add more synthesizers or more piano, we wanted to bring something else into it and so that was a good arena.

————

Another wonderful hallmark of the album is the huge range of emotions. Similar to your previous albums too, I love how there is even more of a range between the soft, tender or more gentle moments to the more intense and chaotic moments.

PM: Yeah that was the idea to try and broaden the horizon and get it to peak at both ends; more destructive and emotional as you say.

MP: We felt on this one we wanted to be a bit more emotional, be a bit more dramatic at the same time you know. A bit of a bigger difference.

PM: Pushing everything to the extreme.

MP: The strings are always a good tool for the kind of emotions, you know.

————

As a duo who create their own unique blend of music, I would love to gain an insight into the creative process involved? Is it usually a case of beginning with an idea or a piano line. It amazes me how you end up creating the music you have in the end.

PM: Well to be honest we don’t really know either [laughs].

MP: It’s a bit of a gamble you know, for every good idea there’s a bad idea as well, you know. So we don’t really know anything until we start working on a song and that’s always the same. Try keep it, you know to have no pre-conceived ideas. Rather than just sit down and work on something, it might be like, if Peder comes up with a sequencer of some sort, I try to play along with that and so, we try to keep it sort of improvised. Obviously when we put it together it needs to be organized, you know.

PM: The first sketches is getting something in, you know. Then if it sticks and it’s something that we can feed off each other and it kind of evolves, and this album was a long process and a lot of editing, layering, stripping back and arranging. We don’t really know what we started with or the original idea.

————

I love the album-title itself. It’s similar in a way to the previous album-title but it’s a perfect title for the music.

MP: Yeah, we usually don’t have the title until we have the sound, you know, really way up towards the end and this also came then. It just fits the sound in a way, you know. It has something that’s almost dramatic to it which we really felt especially.

PM: Yeah, it continues until the end.

MP: We really like looking around for ideas and there was like a book that someone wrote around the First World War — it wasn’t called ‘Until Silence’ but it was something really similar — which we had. We were toying around with phrases that came especially from that era and this is a mix of our own ideas and things that just came out from looking around the internet and stuff.

————

I was very interested to read – I think it was in relation to ‘In Dust’ – how you work on the album like it’s one giant piece?

MP: Yeah definitely and I think we both feel that every song needs to have a relation to the one before and you know, they work as a whole, like a narrative almost.

————

Yeah and actually listening to your albums I feel it’s like those silent films from the 20’s or 30’s and that it could be a soundtrack to those kind of films.

MP: Yeah yeah, that’s what we feel as well. That’s what we’ve been discussing, you know, it’s like we write a soundtrack to a non-existent film.

————

It’s very interesting too as a duo, I suppose for you Malcolm, you have a background in the film-score elements and Peder is with the more dance or techno oriented sound. Well I’m sure there’s a cross-over between you both naturally but it must be cool having your own projects outside of Roll The Dice and feed it into the band then?

MP: Yeah, totally.

PM: Everything feeds back and forth in what we do like everyday work or DJing or whatever, it kind of feeds back and forth. Yeah it’s nice to have that outlet together because we don’t usually work together on a day-to-day basis but we share the studio, if stuff pops up then we put it into the project.

————

And do you know in terms of the instrumentation, I wonder did you begin your musical explorations with the synthesizer or was it the piano, or was it a bit of both?

MP: Good question. To be honest, I can’t remember. I think probably we had a discussion about — this is probably like six years ago or something — we should try and do something together but then we both felt that if we were going to do something that none of us have done together with anyone else before, you know.

And I’m not really a piano player and so that was one kind of first, to bring that into the world of the synthesizers and see if these two worlds can fit together. And we didn’t really think too much about it we just felt that the piano was an instrument that didn’t need too much assistance to make something work, you know. It’s not like a band with a guitarist and a bass player, we really wanted to keep it simple and the piano kind of melted in really nicely in that world.

PM: One of the ideas from the start was to not have many beats, not to have it beat-based and the piano was really good as well. So the percussive, one note on a piano can sound really, really good. So it can be so much more than just a note, trying to use the most out of a few elements you know, that was the idea.

————

That’s definitely what you get from the different albums. Like you were saying previously, on the new album it ends up being difficult to section different pieces because it does feel like one giant cohesive whole. I love how hypnotic the repetition of the piano notes, you know and this returns a few times.

PM: Yeah, well that’s always been the idea to keep it really simple. Although this album doesn’t come across maybe sounding minimal but the ideas are quite minimal really if you narrow it down and listen to each track, there’s not a lot of different components going in, it’s like the piano and a melody line and a sequencer and that’s it. The only thing is that it sounds big with the strings and everything, it is kind of orchestrated in a way but it’s still very simple.

————

I’d be curious to know more about your live show, is it just the two of you live as well?

PM: Yeah, exactly; it’s the two of us with a bunch of things playing, and we’re working right now with a visual artist as well, a guy from Argentina — he’s going to do a live visual and that’s going to be really, really nice — to broaden to whole scope with that.

MP: I mean we’re not bringing a string section with us obviously and we can’t bring a piano either so we use a Fender Rhodes with a distortion pedal so it’s more electric than the albums I would say and a bit more, kind of raw, which is great. You know it’s still the same tracks we’re playing and everything you know, it’s just a little bit of a different texture.

PM: If no one stops us, we can stretch out the tracks pretty long. It’s really hypnotic for us when we’re playing as well; you get into it and twenty minutes go by without noticing it.

MP: I mean the first gigs we did we wanted to play one track for the whole concert which we did, a track called ‘Undertow’ which we played for about fifty minutes for one concert and we really stretched it you know, forever [laughs]. But we can’t really do that now; we can but it’s more fun to play a bit more songs, you know. We play about five songs each gig and that’s about an hour fifty minutes, so they’re quite long tracks.

————

I guess you must have a big gravitation towards gradual music and you get that from the recordings too how there is this space for the music to go in motion.

PM: We always kind of do one track with an extremely slow build-up kind of, crescendo all the way until the end, and it keeps on building.

————

What records have been big for you for the last while?

PM: There’s one record I’m listening to by a girl called Klara Lewis released on Editions Mego a few months ago and Malcolm is really into that as well.

MP: I like the new Swans album.

————

Where do you see the next album going, in terms of the narrative, or is it too soon to say?

MP: Well usually that starts materializing in about six months where we’ll probably know where we’re at. It’s a little bit too early yet to know. Who knows? Big band, Glenn Miller [laughs]. Yeah, our next album is going to be called ‘Big Bang’ [laughs].

————

‘Until Silence’ is available now on Leaf.

http://rollthedicesthlm.com
http://www.theleaflabel.com

————

 

 

Written by admin

June 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Julia Kent w/ Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh / March 2014 / Photo Essay by Izabela Szczutkowska

leave a comment »

We were delighted to present (alongside Plugd Records) a special double-bill concert with the world-renowned composers: Brooklyn-based cellist Julia Kent and Irish fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, in Cork’s Triskel Arts Centre on Saturday 1st March. The show was Julia Kent’s debut Irish solo show and the highly awaited return of Ó Raghallaigh, who performed with The Gloaming at Triskel Christchurch a year previously. 

All photographs: Izabela Szczutkowska

iza001

Since then, Kent has continued to tour Europe (in support of her latest Leaf Label album ‘Character’), having opened for Valgeir Sigurðsson and Liam Byrne. Kent has also embarked on a new project with Melora Creager, Dawn McCarthy and others, and premiered all-new material for a special electronic performance in Torino, Italy on April 11th. Ó Raghallaigh has traversed Europe, playing several Italian shows and Amsterdam, before a special residency with Cleek Schrey at the Irish Arts Centre in New York. This May marks the Irish tour of This Is How We Fly, a contemporary folk ensemble featuring the immense talents of Ó Raghallaigh, Seán Mac Erlaine, Nic Gareiss, and Petter Berndalen.

————

iza_cor_0

iza_cor_1

“Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea
Hung their heads and then lay by.”

—(‘Orpheus with his lute made trees’, L. A. J. Burgersdijk)

——

iza_cor_2

 

iza_cor_3

“Sometimes, being from the world of traditional music, I wonder how to give people a window into that world, to share what I love about it. The same with other things in life I love, like being in the mountains. I want to start from scratch and make a really compelling, rich, wonderful thing of it, and a very Irish thing, but somehow hopeful and exciting and beautiful.”

—Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

——

iza_jk_01

“For me, music is really about communicating, and the kind of instrumental music I make is a way of expressing emotion without words. I feel really fortunate to be able to travel and play, as I do; I’ve had some wonderful encounters all over the world. Of course it’s a bit of a cliché to say that music is a universal language, but it truly is. Through music you can communicate with anyone.”

—Julia Kent

——

iza_jk2

iza_cello

“When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the instrument because it seemed like a voice – my voice.”

—Mstislav Rostropovich

——

iza_jk

iza_jkcor

————

All photographs by Izabela Szczutkowska. (http://www.izyandthesunshines.blogspot.ie)

——

http://www.juliakent.com
http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com

————