Collectress return for their new album, Different Geographies, so named in response to the process of their collaboration, band members having scattered over recent years away from their Brighton origins. They began to look for new ways to create their music, short periods of time together having taken the place of weekly rehearsals, but this gave rise to more intense sessions from which the music for this album was born.
Although the way they make music has changed, the beating heart of the group has remained as four musicians playing together in one room. The music is a blend of composition and improvisation as they look to experiment and widen their musical textures and palette.
Their music has been described as chamber music for the 21st Century, there is a lot of truth in this statement, but they take it further by adding other textures; the keyboards, for example, add in an almost electronica or krautrock feel at times. All instrumentation is carefully selected to expand the feel of each song, with the cello taking the main focus.
Music is a personal thing, I believe it either speaks to you and resonates or it does not, and it may be these factors that make music so varied. For me, I love to hear the use of cello in any form of music, and it was this that drew me to hear Collectress in the first place, and I have not been disappointed by what they have created, it is a most beautiful and immersive album.
The album starts with Words (Saturn), an otherworldly feel with an electronic piano holding the theme, as each instrument joins in the feeling continues to develop. Mauswerk follows and here the keyboards are almost Magma in style, a repeating refrain holding the theme. The cello and piano move around this, building the melody and increasing the interest level.
Harbour, the second-longest track at six and a half minutes, has moments of exquisite beauty provided by the vocals, which are supported, strengthened even, by the use of the strings to give us a song that leaves you almost breathless. Following on is In the Streets, In the Fields, again the masterful use of violin and cello taking the song to another level as they wind and wrap around the keyboards, and at around four minutes we are treated to some vocal offerings from Pepo the dog!
This high standard continues throughout the album, each song having an individual interest level experimenting with how each instrument interacts with the others. Indeed, this is demonstrated further on Landing, starting with sharp hand claps, the keyboards come in with a sound reminiscent of Supertramp but retaining the Collectress’ unique overall sound when the cello joins in. Each song shows how well-crafted it has been, but still retaining that almost improvisational feel. It’s easy to imagine them all getting together and just creating these songs, such is the connection demonstrated here. To finish off the album they give us the longest track at over nine minutes, which appears to pass in a flash, an almost achingly beautiful song. Such a satisfying listen the instant reaction is to hit play again.
This album has been a revelation for me, to hear music so beautifully crafted it makes me wish to see these songs performed live. If you wish to hear music which is interesting, beautiful and immersive this could be the album for you.
01. Words (Saturn) (3:27)
02. Mauswerk (4:58)
03. Harbour (6:24)
04. In The Streets, In The Fields (5:54)
05. Cardboard (2:32)
06. Landing (5:54)
07. Archive (1:53)
08. She Must Shut Her Eyes (2:58)
09. Words (Mars) (3:26)
10. Roaming Bones (9:37)
Total Time – 47:08
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, Vocals, Percussion, Saw
Andy Waterworth – Double Bass (tracks 4 & 6)
Pepo the Dog – Vocals (track 4)
Record Label: Peeler Records
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 6th March 2020