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Gondwana

Caoilfhionn Rose - Constellation 

Caoilfhionn Rose - Constellation 

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VINYL

Pre Order Expected for Release 7th June

With her third Gondwana album, Constellation, Manchester’s Caoilfhionn Rose has come of age as an artist, digging deep to find experimental new ways of expressing her wonder at nature’s beauty, her love of music in all its diversity, and her belief in the restorative powers that both afford in the troubled post-COVID world. Vigorous, searching and ever-curious, Caoilfhionn (say ‘Keelin’) has found a voice at once ancient and modern, intrepidly exploring contemporary technology to transform traditional songcraft for the mid 2020’s. The ten tracks on Constellation feel rooted in a knowledge of folk, jazz and all the twentieth century’s classic tunesmiths, and yet they seem to create a magical, otherworldly space of her own imagining, blending Caoilfhionn’s core piano with synths, and pitting a live rhythm section and saxophone embellishments against ambient samples and future-facing production techniques. Confident, exploratory and often jaw-droppingly sublime, this incredible album properly announces Caoilfhionn Rose’s arrival as a fresh creative force for 2024. Caoilfhionn has always pursued music with a fierce commitment. When a period of illness in her late teens caused a delay in starting a Music degree at Newcastle University she used the time constructively. She took a diploma in Music Production and Audio Engineering at Manchester MIDI School (Now School of Electronic Music), which leant heavily towards electronic music, imbuing her with a progressive outlook towards sound manipulation. Later studying music at university in Newcastle, she’d make sound experiments and field recordings, posting tracks online under the alias Audrey Daydreamer, and eventually an EP, under her own name. That was how I got involved with Gondwana,” she explains, “because Matthew [Halsall, label boss] heard the EP, and he came to see me play at a café called The Art of Tea, and asked if I’d like to record for Gondwana.” Constellation features contributions from Halsall’s rhythm section, drummer Alan Taylor and bassist Gavin Barras, as well as Jordan Smart from Mammal Hands, whose supple sax exquisitely colours the fringes of most of its songs. Also guesting: John Ellis, former member of The Cinematic Orchestra, beatifically tinkling the ivories at the end of ‘Fall Into Place’, and producer Aaron Wood via a raft of ambient samples adding textured loveliness throughout ‘Rainfall’. “I love being open to collaboration,” Rose enthuses, “and the record’s a collage, knitting together all these influences, sounds and players, and just really going for it with the experimentation in the production.” Constellation sees her broaden the range of her singing, from the pure natural expression of her earlier records, to using it more as an instrument, sometimes more as abstract sound than as conventional verbal delivery. “It’s all playful and experimental,” she summarizes, “seeing what we could come up with that’s imaginative.” And she has learnt to use “her artistic license just to let the words be as they are”, to write in a momentary, impressionistic, almost painterly way. One example was how the word ‘constellation’ just fell into her head – “like, out of the cosmos” – while recording that song, so in it went. It also seemed emblematic of many aspects of the album – the theme of connectedness, her little cluster of Gondwana family musicians, and a pervasive feel of stargazing awe in the music. It obviously made a fitting album title, too. And so, Caoilfhionn Rose’s collage of differing influences and inspirations, players and processes, cohered into a miraculous and quietly powerful body of work, which stands as a testament to artistic adventure, to both improvisation and hard work, to trusting our connection to nature, other people and music itself. As such, Constellation surely deserves to put her on a much bigger stage by the year’s end.

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