Last summer, Daughter and acclaimed composer/arranger Joe Duddell were brought together by Festival No.6 to participate in a unique project. As the festival’s Composer-in-Residence Duddell, whose collaborate with Elbow and compose for the BBC Proms, approached Daughter with an idea for the band to perform their songs enhanced by a classical ensemble. Daughter, who have always wanted to explore this area, agreed to his proposal immediately. With the green light given, Duddell set about crafting classical arrangements for five tracks from Daughter’s debut album If ‘You Leave’, which the band, together with an 8-piece ensemble, performed in front of an audience of 120 people in Portmeirion Town Hall. Daughter’s 4AD Session is out digitally now, It will also be pressed on 12” vinyl and released on May 26th.
4AD Session filmmakers Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth were lucky enough to witness that mesmerising performance, and both they and the band were keen to re-enact that sense of intimacy for a wider audience. “Daughter is a special band – there’s a unique chemistry and a work ethic, a effortless, instinctive talent between these three people,” Iain and Jane say. “We knew we needed to find the optimal conditions and collaborators to ensure that everything was aligned to allow the same magic to happen – the same musicians, Joe Duddell at the helm – but this time in the country’s best recording studio and recorded by the acclaimed Olga Fitzroy amidst a delicate set by art director Sal Pittman.”
Watch ‘Shallows’ (from the live 4AD Session)
After further developing the arrangements for those same five songs for the Session, add a 10-piece classical ensemble, all of whom are either current students or recent graduates of the Royal Northern College of Music and your nearly there, simply add some visual finesse via Art Director Sal Pittman was also drafted in – her delicate paper birds hang serenely in the space above and around the musicians that added some extra visual stipulation to the beautiful Air Studios Space.
The four track 4AD Session starts much as you’d anticipate, musically richer, throughout, with re-worked arrangements complimented by fresh movements, to the fore on ‘Shallows’ that surprisingly benefits from an wider classical array of instrumentation.’Tomorrow’ is industrious and powerful, eclipsed by the music of the ensemble coupled with Elena Tonra’s vocal on the potent ‘Still’ which is minimal come full blooded in unequal turns and is more evocative again for the new arrangement, in a in similar vein, ‘Youth’ begins in familiar vocal territory before the mult percussion and violins drive the first verse forwards, builds slowly to the finale. There’s no hint of over egging the mix, this is not ‘flowery’ affair, instead a more studied approach with creative focus. Closing the Air Studio’s session with the impressive ‘Amsterdam’ pleased to hear the bright organic effect, which later expands further demonstrating the full effect of the collected musicians.
Daughter’s 4AD session’ should be sought, good songs reworked by a talented ensemble, much kudos to Joe Duddell for the healthy arrangements all of which work well. 8/10
Daughter’s 4AD Session is released digitally on Tuesday 16th April. Pre-order the EP on iTunes and receive a download of ‘Shallows’ instantly. It will also be pressed on 12″ vinyl and released on May 26th.
4AD Session – Production Credits
Elena Tonra – vocals, guitar
Igor Haefeli – guitar
Remi Aguilella – percussion
Joe Duddell – arrangements, conductor
Amy Welch – Violin
Tory Clarke – Violin II
Laurie Dempsey – Viola
Josh Lynch – Cello
Angelina Warburton – Harp
Delia Stevens – Vibraphone
Graham Proctor – Marimba
Tom Wood – Horn
Kai-Li Yang – Flute / Alto Flute
James Noble – Bass Clarinet
Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Recorded at Air Studios by Olga Fitzroy
Mastered at Abbey Road by Geoff Pesche
Director of Photography – Leon Henry
Art Director – Sal Pittman
Gaffer – Joel Rainsley
Camera Assistant – Warren Forster
Production Assistant – Tom Wood
Band Management – Matt Brown
Band Technician – Gordon Allison