109DL - Victoria Bourne & Walt Shaw - Songs From A Cloud Chamber - Download onlyTweet
Music by Victoria Bourne and Walt Shaw
Victoria Bourne - Vocals, Korg Kross Workstation
Walt Shaw – Kit, hand percussion, gongs, home-made instruments
Melodies inspired by traditional English Folk Songs floating above the pointillistic abstraction creating a richly atmospheric, melancholic, brooding and beautiful sound. Living in a twisted folk landscape. The threads of percussion, voice and electronics weave together, at times blending, but sometimes colliding, creating a kaleidoscopic, often haunting soundscape.
Walt’s percussion on this album uses conventional instruments and also a range of more unconventional instrumentation that is home-made.The former consists of drums, singing bowls, shakers, woodblocks etc. The latter are made up of the following – A large, beaten steel sheet, suspended by springs; some lengths of taut piano wire with contact microphones; an instrument with fret saw blades, wire brushes, springs, broken music boxes, and other found objects. These are amplified, but without any additional electronics.
Victoria’s vocals used multiple harmonies blending with the sounds created by Walt. She thought of the twisted landscape we’ve all been living in since the first lockdowns. Finding inspiration from traditional English Folk Songs and giving them an unsettling feeling. Adding final texture with created sound in the Korg Kross.
Victoria and Walt are both involved in The United Isolation Ensemble, which was created as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. It was due to working in this that we realised that a duo collaboration was going to be a rich creative possibility.
Produced, mixed and mastered by Victoria Bourne
Artwork by Victoria Bourne with a painting, 'Peak Walk' by Walt Shaw.
So wonderful to hear the beautiful boiling of percussion and this very folk like melody moved and twisted and distorted into this landscape of trees and meadows and hill. - Corey Mwamba, BBC Radio 3 FREENESS
This richly atmospheric, haunting and melancholic album features Victoria Bourne's voice, multi-tracked in various guises against Walt Shaw's percussion. Shaw uses conventional instruments – drums, singing bowls, shakers, woodblocks – plus home-made percussion. The latter includes a large beaten steel sheet, taut piano wire with contact mics, and an instrument with fret-saw blades, wire brushes, springs, broken music boxes, and other found objects. These are amplified without additional electronics, and Bourne added final textures through her Korg Kross Workstation.
Bourne and Shaw are involved in The United Isolation Ensemble, created during lockdown. In their duo, Bourne was inspired, sometimes directly, by traditional English folk songs. Though it's not apparent from this release, she's a vocal polymath. Based in Bristol, she studied with leading contemporary sopranos Rosemary Hardy and Sarah Walker, and jazz singer Carol Grimes. She runs the choir All Together Now, was singer and drummer with punk blues band the Husky Tones, flamenco ensemble Harper Bourne and Folktronica duo Vanity Press. That’s a wide range, with some unfamiliar genre-crossing – can an artist be authentic across it?
But the engaging, colourful Songs From A Cloud Chamber puts such worries to one side. Shaw's melodic percussion forms a close partnership with Bourne's vocals and vocalising – his work has the inventiveness, if not perhaps the radicalism, of Jamie Muir. "Sorely Failed Honey", with its obsessive whispering and plangent choral backdrop, is haunting, while "Suspended By Strings", with a death-rattle percussion motif, has an eerie ambience. A classic folk song is "Ye Mariners All", interpreted by A.L. Lloyd, and by Martin Carthy on his eponymous debut. Bourne deconstructs it with her fractured sound-poetry, against achingly beautiful harmonies. "Raven's Kit", based on the classic "The Three Ravens" which dates from 1611 or earlier, features multiple chattering against clattering percussion. "Tension Zeitgeist", again with whispering vocals, and sporadic, sparse percussion, provides a disturbing conclusion. - Andy Hamilton, THE WIRE