Movietone create beguiling musical statements that draw explicit influence from the coastlines of England. When the band recorded a film as a backdrop to their live shows, it featured band members in home made sea-creature outfits and concluded with one of the group wriggling about in the sand dressed as a starfish while their last, lovely release The Blossom Filled Streets invoked images like "1950s chairs weathered by the salt in the air, rocks and grey and the sand and the yellow and the aquamarine in the ocean." As if to make this influence even more explicit, new long-player, The Sand And The Stars was even partially recorded on a beach, an experience that involved the band carrying a double bass down a cliff. Taking its trigger from a review of The Blossom Filled Streets, The Sand And The Stars is explicitly intended to sound like "a jazz record being played from across the bay." "We found the perfect bay in which to play the music, near Land’s End," recalls the group's vocalist/guitarist Kate Wright, "The sand shelved gently and the waves were loud even on calm days. We found a house to rent above the bay. The path down to the beach was steeper than I remembered and fairly difficult to navigate in the dark. But there were clear nights under the stars. We recorded on the beach with two microphones." Alongside the likes of Nina Simone, Jefferson Airplane, The Carter Family, The Band and Sandy Denny, Wright recalls the field recordings of late ethnomusicologist, record producer and radio producer Alan Lomax as a specific inspiration on the recording of The Sand And The Stars: "We wanted to capture all the sounds of life outside the silent walls of the recording studio. The locations were chosen to suit the songs." "Snow Is Falling" demanded the sepulchral, resonant sound of a church, "Ocean Song" needed a warehouse, "Near Marconi’s Hut" was recorded on a cliff path near a gorge where the seagulls swooped and cried. Movietone's understated music has been compared to "exercises in painting rather than in composing: the elements are carefully orchestrated on the canvas, with consistency of colour a clear mandate." It’s an intriguing and effective comparison that acknowledges Movietone's deft and considered deployal of their instruments and the power of the band to evoke specific imagery. Like the mythological sirens who would lure sailors into the sea with their sweet voices, the band even recorded "Beach Samba" as a deliberate attempt to "make everyone listening want to rush to the beach for a dip - the light sparkling on the blue sea, the sand between your toes, the swell of the cool green water, staring at the cliffs from the sea." Plunge in!
ON THE SITE
This band shares members with Crescent.