We were extremely impressed with Lucy Claire‘s last EP, Suite, and the follow-up EP, Collaborations No. 1, is equally impressive. While the new EP contains two new tracks and three mixes, the variety makes the 27-minute set work well as an overall collection.
On Collaborations No. 1, the London pianist is joined not only by a string quartet, but by vocalist Alev Lenv and guitarist Bruised Skies. The latter also contributes a remix, while other remixes come from Message to Bears and worriedaboutsatan. These are not the acts one would expect to find among Claire’s friends, but their contributions demonstrate the breadth of her potential reach: beyond modern composition into the realms of ambient and electronic music.
The two main tracks – “Stille” and “Somnus” – are complementary opposites. “Stille” is the more accessible track, the only overt lyric being the title. Mournful strings are laid atop a shy piano; the cello provides a deep anchor, while the violins and viola attempt to lasso the clouds. The music is thoughtful and meditative, with Lenv’s heavenly voice providing a nearly gothic tone. “Somnus” is instrumental and languid, like the passengers of a boat waving goodbye. Who knows where their journey will take them? These tracks confirm our initial suspicion that Claire may be our next “big” artist in the field of modern composition.
Message to Bears adds a popcorn-style synth pattern and drums to “Stille”, while amplifying the ambient aspects; worriedaboutsatan adds percussion and a deep pulse, slows the pace considerably and doubles the length of the track. The result is akin to early ambient projects by The Orb. Bruised Skies extends the string tones of “Somnus” into thin layers, adding a sound like deep breath. In this form, the original track is nearly unrecognizable, which as previously mentioned helps one to enjoy the EP as a whole. But the lead story remains Lucy Claire; she’s one step closer to an album, and we are now even more excited about its completion. (Richard Allen)