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Melodic Records

Soundcarriers – Harmonium

Soundcarriers – Harmonium

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The word psychedelic is bandied around pretty freely, but The Soundcarriers are the real deal. The debut album from this Nottingham-based band is psychedelic in the less well-trodden way: jazz-influenced, free-thinking and utterly spaced out.

Harmonium was recorded over a long period of time and self-produced by the band in their own studio using entirely analogue equipment, “because it reacts like an instrument would to being played, so there’s that element of chance and some evidence of human interaction.” The unorthodox techniques of David Axelrod and Phil Spector were a constant source of inspiration, and the band employed their full arsenal of equipment, from harps and organs to flutes, recorders, stylophones and chimes.

The result is an incredibly lush debut album that’s quite unlike anything else that’s around at the moment: the closest reference point from the past being the much loved The Free Design. Indeed Chris Dedrick from the band has spoken out in appreciation of The Soundcarriers in writing the sleeve notes for the vinyl version of Harmonium:

“Maybe The Free Design planted the seed for the magic garden of intricate group harmonies that blended this softer sound… The Soundcarriers use that and much more to enter that world. At the root is some richly vulnerable optimism. It takes a weird inner strength to pit flutes and quiet voices against drums and electronics and the rest of the world… No need to compare and make odious references. Best to listen in a kind of vacuum – let sound happen. The Soundcarriers do that in unlimited wavelengths.” Chris Dedrick, The Free Design

The Soundcarriers were formed in Nottingham, where founder members Adam, Pish and Dorian have played together since childhood, switching instruments and roles and generally ignoring the conventions of what it means to be a band. In their teens, they formed a four-piece with guitarist Little Barrie (now a touring guitarist for Primal Scream and Morrissey) and played hypnotic, groove-based instrumentals, the corollary of their shared love of Can, Pink Floyd, rare groove, soundtracks, library music, acid folk and jazz.

The Soundcarriers is the natural progression of those early experiments: more orchestral and structured but retaining the spontaneity of improvisation. Leonore, also from Nottingham, joined the group last year, adding heavenly harmonies. Prior to recording the album, they aimed to boil down all their recent listening, from Tropicalia to Bollywood, European folk, ‘50s surf and exotica. “But,” they say, “often what you aim for is just the starting point; sometimes it goes completely wrong but you end up with something interesting.” And that’s Harmonium.

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