ponedjeljak, 25. kolovoza 2014.

Collectress - Mondegreen (2014)

Srednjovjekovni glasovi, zvukovi igračaka i pogrešno prevedeni pucnji za gudače.



Described as a cross between the Elysian Quartet and possessed Brontë sisters teasing an unsuspecting dinner party (Foxy Digitalis), Collectress are a quartet of long-term multi-instrumentalist collaborators from London and Brighton.
Making both composed and improvised music, Collectress utilise voice, toy instruments and found sound samples alongside layers of more traditional, often romantic, strings, keys and woodwind - violin, viola, cello, flute, piano and guitar.
With a collective biography of collaborations which includes the likes of Bat For Lashes, Patrick Wolf, Philip Selway (Radiohead) and Penguin Café Orchestra, the four members of Collectress come together to craft music both daring and unique, but also compellingly familiar and filmic.

Coined by Sylvia Wright in an essay in Harper’s Magazine in Nov 1954, a Mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as result of a near homophony, in a way that gives it new meaning.
Likewise, we find fruit in mishearings and happy accidents recognising that paths through are sometimes oblique or followed without intention; they flow intuitively from improvisations where the outcome can’t be known but is often far more beautiful than could ever have been planned.
Music is a form of recycling where every new player, every new listener, makes new, unique and often very personal meaning from essentially the same set of notes or sounds. This record has been made with four sets of ears making four sets of collaborative hearings and mishearings, and shaping together the paths that flow from them.
"Collectress are a band of musicians who make beautiful music, beautifullyThe album is a sumptuous treat for your ears and minds’ eye” - Rob Batchelor, Roobla

"The most exciting thing to happen to string instruments in years… Submit yourself to this musical spell, you shall not regret it." Was ist das?

"Their music is both … dazzling and enveloping, made using conventional instruments and other unusual sources and found sounds.  We were immediately conquered…" Cast the Dice

"The idiosyncratric Mondegreen is a very self-possessed first release. The free thinking with which Collectress write and improvise is informed by their own sensitive absorption of surroundings … Collectress play chamber music without constraint.” Chris Jones, The Line of Best Fit
"Shadowy and slightly unsettling … It’s a gripper." Ian Anderson, fRoots
”[Mondegreen] boasts the kind of rich sense of space where the cello bowing seems to have pulled dust motes form narrow sunbeams and flute timbres are bathed in long, deep shadow …” Abi Bliss, The Wire
"Listening to them play I realized how music is present in so many objects and natural settings that we very rarely find the time to stop and appreciate it." http://journal.splitgigs.com/
Mondegreen could be the soundtrack to a film … but no cinema was required, Collectress worked their magic, wove their tales, cast their musical spell and we were enchanted.” Elizabeth Hughes, The Argus
"With a mingling of the masterfully fine tuned and improvisation they manage to tread the line between the intricate and organic with apparent ease. They’re the soundtrack to a mystical journey through the chambers of your heart and mind, not failing to highlight any knotty detail with a passing and directive glance." http://www.heymouser.com

"Hamilton is joined towards the end of his set by support Collectress who were simply superb. The quartet of multi-instrumentalists on flute, cello, violin, piano and occasional vocals, painting pictures of ’60s supernatural horror films featuring spooky toy makers, results in something very different to a solo Hamilton, maybe even preferable." Gemma Hampson, Clash Music

Collected Materials

Using found sound, samples and vocals, long time collaborators Quinta, Caroline Weeks, Rebecca Waterworth and Alice Eldredge might defy the popular definition of a chamber group, but if you prefer Goethe's description of chamber music as a musical conversation, then Collectress will no doubt inspire and delight. Themselves informed and inspired by living performance, Collectress fight the modern instinct to flock towards the safety of the studio. The Brighton-based four prefer to live their music through live performance, only recently committing their passion to a recording with their debut album Mondegreen on Peeler Records. The experimental chamber quartet, have worked across many mediums including film, dance and installations with the National Portrait Gallery, Penguin Cafe, Philip Selway, Partick Wolf and Secret Cinema and continue to explore and expand their repertoire to include all the facets of creative expression.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
We’ve all played and made music since childhood in various forms but we met in 2000, at quite a heady time in Brighton’s music scene, and immediately began to make music in the intuitive, improvisatory way we do today. This approach came very naturally and without any particular planning. I think it’s fair to say that our environment and a shared passion for making and exploring was more of an inspiration than any particular artist or idea. Keeping the music vital was very important to us; each show we played saw us adapting our music, improvising, creating new for both ourselves and our audiences.  We rarely played the same set twice.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
Well, our first serendipitous meeting, but since then there are a few miles stones of note. In 2009, galvanised by a few exciting commissions, we formed what is now Collectress. In 2013, we were delighted to receive a PRSF Women Make Music award, a moment of recognition which not only helped financially but gave us a great sense of forward momentum and confidence. The following year, we decided that it was time to bring together a collection of material and produce an album; Mondegreen was made.
What are currently your main compositional- and production-challenges?
These are probably divided into the practical and the artistic. For a band like ours, finding adequate space and time can sometimes present significant challenges. We’ll certainly be neither the first nor the only musicians to crave a dedicated studio space filled with our own instruments, red-light-ready, with enough time to make the most of it. Though each of us has busy lives outside the group which can be a bit of a challenging juggling act, we like to think it’s this very thing, this flexibility, this space to wander and come back, that enriches what we make when we do meet.
We’d like to expand the visual side of our performances, which can be tough without a proper budget. But according to the old necessity and invention chestnut, we usually find a way and enjoy that it makes us become more resourceful and creative!
Compositionally, we are at a very interesting point, having just released Mondegreen. Launching music formally into public space like this can turn a mirror onto your process; make you interrogate what you’re trying to say in different ways; make you see yourself from the outside. An album starts a conversation, and with that, somehow, comes responsibility. We always try and stretch ourselves musically, and releasing records feels like a good way of doing that; it makes you move from the half-finished to the complete and makes you say ‘this is me’.
What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
Practically, a cup of tea! More seriously, we work quite collaboratively and it is this process of collective development which is perhaps our defining principle. Some pieces come from playing freely or with an idea as a group. Others are spawned by each of us individually - in a moment of procrastination, a way of thinking through something else in life, or a very conscious, musical reaction to balance existing material – and then brought along in various stages of development – from a full printed score to a line drawing and everything in between. But no matter what the origin, we start and continue to develop things by playing together!
How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
There is generally no premeditated division, more a response to the material itself. Sometimes you can will a finished, structured, composed form, which just doesn’t sit right and grows much more effectively with a freer improvisatory approach; at other times an idea which emerges in improvisation becomes reified in a structured composition later. Maybe it is useful to think of it as a continuum: some composition takes place days, weeks, months or years in advance of a performance or recording, and some take place instantly.
How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?
Intimate. Although ideas for pieces and even whole compositions might originate in the abstract, the real work happens in the particular space and time of performance. Paraphrasing Evan Parker, there are things you can control (your choice of strings, technical practice, plans to play particular notes etc.), but this is the starting point. Once you actually sit down and play, it’s about listening and responding to the sounds emanating from your own instrument and others as they bounce around the room. In a small group like ours, the effect of any particular space is amplified to the point where major changes can occur. This might just mean playing something badly, at worst, or inspiring 20 minutes of previously unimagined music, at best.
Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?
While we’re prepared at the least to be suggestive about our music-making process, we have in general let the music largely speak for itself during performances. How an audience member perceives what they hear is unique and depends on so many things, most of which are beyond our control. If it means something to a listener to understand compositional processes or musical structures, they’ll likely find a way or have the skills to access those things. For another listener, it could be the narrative or pictorial quality which engages them, and they’ll find themselves on a different tack. Just as context affects each of our performances, a listener will bring a set of feelings, experiences, observations, specific to that moment. We like it that way. You can’t make people find meaning in something unless they’re moved to be invested in it somehow, and we hope we make music that permits that, that lets audiences in. Probably there is a quality to acoustic instruments and to music made through collective improvisation that is open, live, generous, even exposing, and there is certainly a sense of transparency in this on its own, with no need for us to shout about it.
In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?
Each of us will necessarily hear music according to our own experiences and judge it according to our own tastes. Musical perception is unique, and dependent upon how we’ve individually processed what surrounds us culturally. Inasmuch as these judgements are contingent on our own specific pasts, our creative decisions are also shaped by them. Certainly, the Venn diagram of our musical tastes, influences, and knowledge, finds lots of overlap! We have different points of view artistically, but lots of common ground and we trust each other’s instincts. - 15questions.net/interview/fifteen-questions-interview-collectress/page-1/

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