Experimental, playful and deeply connected collaboration. For two decades this has been the pilot spark of Collectress: an all-female multi-instrumentalist chamber music collective based in and around London. Different Geographies, their latest album, is released spring 2020 on digital and limited CD formats, with a series of experimental physical engravings planned (not a standard LP), more details incoming soon …
Collectress honour intuition and process – music emerges on the fly or is spun from long periods of playing and sharing; talking and swapping. Their compelling narratives are dark and light by turns, cellos sing over jagged krauty synth harmonies, electronic glitches interrupt melodic violin lines, handmade percussion and found sound weave among layered vocals and well-directed mischief.
Different Geographies is a record named in response to the realities of collaboration. Having scattered from their Brighton origins, the band looked for new opportunities to create across the separations of time, space and the vibrancies of life. Calendar-scattered stolen days took the place of weekly rehearsals. Collectress gatherings became more intense, the quartet drawn together across a widening map of overseas residencies, research projects from the Arctic to the Amazon, international tours with other groups, and motherhood. Yet Collectress maintained their deep connection. Quietly the music took form, and Different Geographies was born.
Although the process of making had changed, the beating heart of Collectress’s music remained four musicians playing together in one room: chamber music for the 21st century. Drawing on both composition and improvisation, the band’s distinctive world of experimentation endures – the singing mists of deep-space planets in Words; voices marking time in “She Must Shut Her Eyes”; wide galloping landscapes (“Landing”) and journeying energy (“Roaming Bones”); dances between classical strings and classic synths across the chromatic geometries of “Mauswerk”. Different Geographies maintains everything that is unique about Collectress, but breaks fresh ground. The homespun and intimate zooms out to a broader topography … inviting the curious to listen.
Different Geographies has evolved alongside numerous multi-arts collaborations. The group’s creative practice is varied and rich, reflecting their many interests. Since the release of their last album (2014’s Mondegreen), they have collaborated with dancers Miguel Altunaga and Hannah Rudd (Rambert); performed as part of the Melting Vinyl 20 Year Special and the London No Voices season; performed at the National Theatre’s Riverstage Festival; and had their music feature in a worldwide Gucci collection launch campaign.
Individually, the members of Collectress have worked with some of the most innovative and critically-acclaimed artists in their respective fields, including Philip Selway (Radiohead), Penguin Café, Ockham’s Razor, Mary Hampton, Bat for Lashes and Evan Parker. In their lives outside Collectressing, they variously collaborate and operate within other sonic and visual worlds, including sculpture, dance, circus, costume design, ecoacoustics, conservation, and instrument making.
Collectress’ creative palate is bursting colour, and this release expresses their unique and enchanting take on the world.
Alice Eldridge – cello, Korg MS10, laptop feedback, piano, Rhodes, vocals, percussion
Rebecca Waterworth – cello, piano, vocals, percussion
Caroline Weeks – flute, guitar, Yamaha VSS200, piano, Rhodes, vocals, percussion
Quinta – violin, piano, Rhodes, Korg MS10, Yamaha VSS200, musical saw, vocals, percussion
Further album credits:
Engineered: Joe Watson (Stereolab)
Mixed: TJ Allen (Bat for Lashes, Portishead)
Mastered: Dylan Beattie
Recommended especially if you like; Rachel’s, Basquiat Strings, Amiina, The Necks, My Brightest Diamond, Coco Rosie, Pauline Oliveros, John Adams, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Missy Mazzoli, Arvo Part, Moondog. Also Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and Simone De Beauvoir to name a few…