Compilations / Mixes
The Monroe Transfer & Her Name Is Calla:
Combine the members of The Monroe Transfer (Rhiannon Armstrong, Nick Gill, Susie Gillis, Ed Howard, Nicole Robson, and Neil Walsh) and Her Name is Calla (Sophie Green, John Helps, Tom Morris, Nicole Robson, and Adam Weikert) and the number you get is eleven, which would lead one to think that a collaboration by the two outfits might result in dense, multi-layered music. How refreshing it is to report, then, that no such excess weighs down their five-track EP—if anything the material is often noticeably scaled-back. The release is described as “a little aperitif” that the bands recorded in August, 2010 and then added overdubs to between 2010 and 2013. A casual and ego-less approach informed the collaborative process, with all involved simply coming together to knock around some ideas and see what happens. The results, however, seem anything but slapdash or unpolished.
The EP begins arrestingly with “#5” (all tracks are identified by number only), a brief, vocals-only setting that finds the members chanting a dirge-like sea shanty (“Hands tied, into the sea / Rocks for your pillow / Dream for eternity / On your bed down below”). The vocal melody carries on into “#1” (the longest piece at eight minutes) but now voiced by guitar and strings. The arrangement fills out, with percussion and vocals (lead and background) joining the guitar and strings and deepening a mournful, requiem-like tone that's also reflected in the song's lyrics (“Everything ends up as stardust / I'm out of breath, I think I'm out of luck”).There are gentle pieces, such as the strings-heavy rumination of music box tinkles and saw warble that is “#3” and the ambient-styled meditation “#7” that ends the EP, but An Enclave also has its share of heavy moments, specifically a Godspeed-styled passage that shows up in the middle of “#1” (before the vocals re-appear, once again unaccompanied by instruments) and during “#4,” which the collective delivers with a seething vocal scowl. The EP is modest in length at twenty-two minutes, but it includes many marvelous moments and suggests that a full-length collaboration might be something well worth pursuing.