Track Of The Day: A. A. Williams – ‘Melt’

A cinematic, slow-burning exploration of self-autonomy; A. A. Williams has shared her latest single ‘Melt’. Lifted from her debut album Forever Blue, which is set for release on 3rd July via Bella Union, the track is an epic six minutes of beguiling vocals, brooding bass lines and dark orchestral sounds.

“Let go of these promises” muses Williams in the opening lyric to the song, permitting herself to start anew and explore what it means to be alone again. She blends quieter moments that centre around her vocals with the fleshed out sound of a full band throughout the track; reflecting the uneven path to autonomy.

Of the track, Williams explains: “’Melt’ addresses an individual’s search for, acknowledgement of and acceptance of independence. After only believing in their own fragility they come to realise that they themselves were never dependant on others, others depended on them. Within this newfound strength they find comfort.”

William’s sublime treatment of ambiguous subjects is what makes her music so captivating. A classically trained pianist and multi-talented musician, her blending of post-rock and post-classical elements makes for exquisitely raw listening. Watch the video for ‘Melt’ (directed by Steve Turvey) below and follow A. A. Williams on Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Thomas Williams

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Mamiffer – ‘The Brilliant Tabernacle’

An ode to life and light; Mamiffer‘s latest album The Brilliant Tabernacle is a quiet affair, but it speaks volumes about the patience and tenacity of the human heart. Based in Seattle, Mamiffer (formed of Faith Coloccia, her partner and collaborator Aaron Turner, and a string of auxiliary musicians) have crafted seven tracks that exude genuine warmth and gentility over a series of diverse, electronic-acoustic soundscapes.

Opening track ‘All That is Beautiful’ brims with tentative piano, steady drums and Coloccia’s soft vocals. It sounds equal parts vast and sparse, particularly when Turner’s distorted guitar sounds break through towards the end. The hymn-like ‘River of Light’ flows like its namesake, with more of Coloccia’s gentle vocals lilting above a captivating soundscape of flute, drones, pulses, and melodic fragments.

An exquisite instrumental floods the first three minutes of ‘So That The Heart May Be Known’. It’s a wonderful blend of strings and folk-tinged sounds, and is easily one of the highlights of the record. Coloccia’s voice comes back in to focus again on ‘Two Hands Together’, a lament to the light that shines through on the darkest of nights. Following track ‘To Receive’ gives similar treatment to themes of vulnerability and acceptance.

‘Hymn of Eros’ – Eros being the Greek God of love & sex – is an epic nine minute track. It’s a mythically themed, searching soundscape; a resurrection of hope and love spread across multiple layers of classical and folk-tinged instrumentation. The record closes with ‘To Be Seen’, with Coloccia’s welcoming lyric “you are one of us” becoming more reassuring each time she repeats it. This maternal element to her songwriting was inspired by the birth of her first child after her last album, The World Unseen, and it permeates the new release.

“So many problems in the world stem from people who do not love themselves, and have lost a fundamental gift that should be everyone’s birth right: to be loved unconditionally and completely” explains Coloccia. On The Brilliant Tabernacle, she has attempted to remedy this, and as a result, has created an uplifting and emotive record that will ease listeners out of the solitary shadows, and in to the unified light.

Listen to Mamiffer’s new album on Spotify below. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Photo Credit: Ethan DeLorenzo

Guest Playlist: Jo Quail

In the run up to acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist Jo Quail‘s new album Exsolve, we asked her to put together a playlist of the artists and tracks that have influenced her throughout the years.

Watch Jo Quail’s trailer for the album here, with an excerpt of the track ‘Mandrel Cantus’:

Artists / Tracks that have influenced me:

Dead Can Dance – ‘Song of the Sybil’
My cousins playing this whole album to me when I was maybe 12, sitting on the steps outside their flat on a warm summer night. This careful, simple yet wholly powerful arrangement has stayed by my side over the years.

G Tom Mac – ‘Cry Little Sister’ (from The Lost Boys)
I remember watching The Lost Boys for the first time as a kid, and immediately rushing upstairs to the piano to play this theme back. I still love this track today (and the movie!).

Jane’s Addiction – ‘Three Days’
Perry Farrel’s vocals are unbridled in an almost animalistic fashion and this gives such space, it removes boundaries of precision in a way, yet there is so much precision in the whole track. It creates a kind of virile rawness that pervades ‘Three Days’, and much more of their music too.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No.6 – ‘Adagio (final movement)’
I have to listen to this periodically. There’s an incredible YouTube performance conducted by Myung Whun Chung that I often visit. The whole symphony is stunning but this movement especially has a place in my heart. I played this years ago and for the first time felt the true power of a symphony orchestra, and knew first-hand the absolute intention in the weight and heaviness wrought from the instruments and performers.

Saul Williams – ‘Twice The First Time’
Awesome track. He’s mesmerising in live performance and has a real breadth to what he does in terms of arrangement, as well as brilliant lyrics. Watching him open for Nine Inch Nails was a huge and profound learning curve for me.

Ratt – ‘Round and Round’
I love Ratt for several reasons but in this track it’s the drive and the kind of confident (hedonistic!) attitude that pervades the writing and the live show too, it delivers in droves!

Arvo Part – ‘Fratres’ (for strings and percussion)
When I first heard this in concert I was completely moved. The harmonic movement of the strings, the rhythmic unison, coupled with the constant pedal A sparse and profound percussion. This is pure beauty.

Manuel De Falla – ‘Asturiana’
Beauty, grace and elegance. I have played this arranged for cello and piano, and also arranged and performed it as a cello quartet in a concert a few years back. The harmonies are close, and there is a gentle almost omnipresent movement in the piano or guitar underpinning the voice which, when it pauses, creates the most powerful space in the music.

Lana Del Rey – ‘Summertime Sadness
At home people like the Cedric Gervais remix particularly! The whole remix concept has influenced me a great deal, especially in the way I’ve dealt with pieces like ‘White Salt Stag’ in live performance, bringing the pace up a bit and making fuller use of percussion to drive things along, cutting things out or apparently ‘splicing’ them sonically speaking – changing bowing or phrasing to get a very different feel from a track that I’ve felt has been less settled previously.

Huge thanks to Jo Quail for selecting these tunes for us! Listen to them in our Guest Playlist here: 

 

Jo Quail’s upcoming album Exsolve is out 2nd November.