Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Seaming To and review of her new album Seaming

The long awaited solo album by musical maestro Seaming opens with the quietest of hums… (o sing at me) before introducing the listener to the full range of her inimitable operatic style: there are many influences on this album but the one constant is Seaming‘s extraordinary voice. In Sodaslow (sipped) her dulcet tones are backed by strings, in a tune that tracks the journey of a drink. Such idiosyncratic subject matter is typical of Seaming, whose career and musical development has traced an interesting arc, taking in time with such musical luminaries as Herbaliser and Cinematic Orchestra and countless performance related collaborations including an animation for surrealist theatre company Forkbeard Fantasy and soundtracks with the film-maker Michael England. For her third tune it’s out with the strings and in with Moog-ish noodlings for I’m Going To See. Mermaid is an off kilter love story, bleeps and staccato hammerings on Bee evoke the subject with canny musicianship and Strelizia relies on the more traditional use of a clarinet. As her self titled album reaches a finale Seaming draws on her beloved piano to provide a floating voice-less melody for Deer, ending on the clashing slowed beats of Humid.

The album works well as a beguilingly hypnotic whole that can be listened to again and again. I cite as an example: on rotation it was the perfect soundtrack for my journey up to Centre Parcs in Nottinghamshire a few weeks ago.

Seaming by Nicola Porter
Seaming by Nicola Porter.

It’s been awhile! What have you been up to over the past 8 years? Any highlights?
Hello! Oh, I got a bit more wrinkly, bit more wiser, bit more silly, and have finally returned to my place of birth, a familiar yet completely new landscape!

seaming by Reuben Wu
Seaming by Reuben Wu.

You’re both an opera singer and a classically trained multi-instrumentalist – what other musical abilities do you have that helped in the creation of the album?
I recorded most of this at home, in my Womb (my studio),  I would not call myself a whizz engineer, but I am happy to sit and tweak and listen, so quite a bit of the album was mixed at home also.

Seaming by Jacqueline Valencia
Seaming by Jacqueline Valencia.

What instrument do you always return to when you’re creating songs?
The piano.. usually my mother’s Steinway at her house..

You’ve excelled in the more experimental zones of classical and avante grade electronic music – what attracts you to a particular piece or type of music?
Have I?! What attracts me to a piece of music, how sonically it touches; a solo instrument; the melody; or orchestral harmony: textures, structures; otherworldy electronic sounds: words that trigger imagination, emotion; and how it manifests physically (I threw up after a friend’s gig once..)

Seaming To by Shy Illustrations
Seaming To by Shy Illustrations.

What inspired the lyrics and feel of your new album?
The feel, well, I had not planned to make it feel a certain way. inspiration? They are love songs, inspired by people events dreams, songs to trees, grinding teeth, dancing, sea sorcerers, lying on your back looking down onto the sea, sitting next to someone you love..

How long did it take to put together and who else were your closet cohorts in its creation?
It took a few years to release, and the closest cohorts include Paddy Steer, Graham Massey, Semay Wu, my mum, my gentleman and Sonia Mangwana.

Your album has an incredibly striking cover, what was the inspiration behind its creation and who made the artwork?
Michael England created the artwork (and all the artwork to my previous EPs, Mermaid and Sodaslow), check him out, I think he’s a genius. He always has a story/narrative behind every image he creates. Someone said recently that the cover artwork looks 70s disco, I am not sure if that was Eng’s intention! For the rest of the album artwork (and there are quite few images, he really went to town with it, which is typical Michael England) I am sat in my music room in the towers at a place called Mingdom.

It’s been said that your music would work well as the soundtrack to other performances, for instance ballet – is this something you would like to work towards in the future and if so what kind of collaboration would you like to do?
I do love working to narratives, creating music for moving image and have previously been asked make music for films, and theatre. I have not yet worked with dance but would absolutely love to. There are future plans to work with Butoh dancer Sayoko Onishi, based in Sicily.

seaming MINGDOM
In terms of other contemporary artists, who do you enjoy listening to? Any top tips for us to seek out?
Leila, Leon Michener, Andrew Plummer’s World Sanguine Report, Sofia Jernberg and Juice Vocal Ensemble.

What are you up to for the rest of the year? can we see you on tour or similar?
I am preparing for my album launch which will be at Vortex in London (Gillett Square, Dalston, Hackney), with my newly formed band (made up of avant-garde pianist Leon Michener, Double bass player Olie Brice (played with Evan Parker/Mulatu Astatke), and drummer/electronics Tim Giles (Nostalgia 77), what remarkable musicians they are, come down can you? It’s on Thursday 22nd November. We will make a European tour next year too. I shall keep you well informed! Also I am to go on a UK tour, in March 2013, with my mum, pianist Enloc Wu, performing ‘Songs for My Grandmother‘ involving spycorders and vintage electronics, and supported by electronic artist and film maker Kira Kira

The self titled debut album by Seaming is out on Lumin on 3rd December 2012. Hear her Mermaid EP above.

Categories ,Andrew Plummer’s World Sanguine Report, ,Butoh, ,Cinematic Orchestra, ,Enloc Wu, ,Evan Parker, ,Forkbeard Fantasy, ,Graham Massey, ,Herbaliser, ,Jacqueline Valencia, ,Juice Vocal Ensemble, ,Kira Kira, ,Leila, ,Leon Michener, ,Lumin, ,Mermaid, ,Michael England, ,Mingdom, ,Mulatu Astatke, ,Nicola Porter, ,Nostalgia 77, ,Olie Brice, ,Paddy Steer, ,Reuben Wu, ,Sayoko Onishi, ,Seaming, ,Seaming To, ,Semay Wu, ,Sheilagh Tighe, ,Shy Illustrations, ,Sodaslow, ,Sofia Jernberg, ,Songs for My Grandmother, ,Sonia Mangwana, ,Steinway, ,Tim Giles, ,Vortex

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