Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Seaming To — Dust Gatherers
(O SingAtMe 001, 2023, LP / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2023-02-09
Back in 2012, English singer Seaming To released her debut album, Seaming. It was a fascinating release, blending elements of classical music with electronic pop and experiments both acoustic and electronic. Since then, she’s released more music in the form of a remix collection and an EP called Natural Process, and now we have her second full-length album. On Dust Gatherers, she redirects her attention from the more pop elements of her previous music, diving into subtle sounds and quietly emotional songs. If you’re looking for a comparison, the best reference would be Björk at her most experimental, but To, aside from her distinctive vocals, has a very different aesthetic than Björk. Her singing is clearly classically trained and less quirky, though she is equally willing to engage in unusual tones and even has a jazzy lilt to her inflections at times. Rather than coming from a base of pop music and working towards experimentation, To’s base is modern chamber music, to which she adds electronics. The instrumental backing is mostly sparse, with To on piano, analog synths, clarinets, and glockenspiel; guests contribute strings on a couple of tracks, and there’s occasional slide guitar or pedal steel. All of these provide a setting for the vocal parts, which are sometimes stark and direct, and at other times weaving around each other or set back in the distance as atmosphere. She has the admirable ability to create music that is beautiful but not sappy or cloying, much of which comes down to her choices of sounds to use in the arrangements, avoiding typical synthesizer sounds and rhythm parts. There are some sequencer-type pulses, but they’re not brought to the fore as in pop or dance music, and the harmonies are sophisticated but not dissonant. Seaming To is a unique and talented artist, and Dust Gatherers is a fascinating journey into a world of quiet energy and deep emotion.
Related artist(s): Seaming To
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