Introduced as a “record about our love of the song, the most constant of musical forms”, Songs (2014) by Ergodos Musicians is a delightful project exploring the shared dynamics between music composition and improvisation, word and music settings, vocal and instrumental phrasing. And the consistently contemporary sound of Songs constantly diverts the attention from the fact that the material covered spans eight centuries.
After new interpretations and readings of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music on I Call to You (2013), Songs is the second album from Ergodos musicians – the performing band associated with the Dublin-based record label and production company Ergodos. Founded in 2006 by musicians and composers Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and Garrett Sholdice, Ergodos’ back catalogue includes contemporary, ambient electronic, classical and traditional Irish acts.
On Songs, the band comprises Benedict Schlepper-Connolly (guitars and voice), Michelle O’Rourke (voice), Kate Ellis (cello) and Seán Mac Erlaine (saxophone & bass clarinet). All four musicians as well as Garrett Sholdice contributed to the arrangements of the songs.
Cellist Kate Ellis is co-artistic director of Irish contemporary music ensemble Crash Ensemble.
Michelle O’Rourke collaborated recently with Danish indie rock band Efterklang and her work with Ergodos Musicians echoes the singing of Dawn Upshaw on Donnacha Dennehy’s song settings of Yeats’s poetry (“The White Birds” is included here) released in 2011 as part of Dennehy’s Grá agus Bás album.
Introducing “Songs” with Pérotin’s 13th century conductus “Beata Viscera” and concluding the album with The xx’s “Angels”, Ergodos Musicians have also seamlessly “arranged, re-composed, weaved and stitched material” from contemporary folk and Americana acts (Richard Thompson & Steve Earle), Renaissance and Baroque composers (John Dowland & Antonio Vivaldi), contemporary Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy as well as from the traditional Irish and Javanese repertoire. The 13 tracks are interspersed with four improvisations/compositions by Seán Mac Erlaine and Michelle O’Rourke.
In these songs, old memories ignite and collide with new atmospheres and counterpoints (cover notes)
Just as on the traditional Irish song “I am weary of lying alone” – sublime saturated guitar, majestic singing and spine-chilling note-bending on the saxophone:
Songs was released on 7th July 2014 on the Ergodos record label.