Islander presents Radiohead Reimagined – Echo Collective Play Amnesiac
Doors 20.00, Concert 20.30 – The National Concert Hall – The Studio – Tickets €16.50 available from nch.ie
“Post-classical”, “neo-classical”, “non-classical”: nobody knows what to call this music – but Neil Leiter and Margaret Hermant, aka Echo Collective, don’t mind one bit. Orchestral instrumental music from outside the classical establishment has become huge over the past few years, and Brussels based Leiter and Hermant have witnessed the evolution and extraordinary rise of this movement right up close. They’ve worked with some of the most important players, both in the recording studio and for concerts worldwide.
Echo Collective essentially came together around A Winged Victory For The Sullen: the duo of Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran. The American-born Leiter was introduced to Wiltzie by their mutual friend, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and musician Caroline Shaw. Belgian violinist and harpist Hermant was also recruited to play with AWVFTS and she and Leiter gradually began to find common ground as they contributed to the project.
All this time they were also playing in related projects: with Wiltzie’s much revered other duo project Stars Of The Lid, with O’Halloran’s solo work, with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. And of course, through the course of the mid 2010s, the atmospheric sounds these acts were playing was snowballing in popularity. Acts allied with AWVFTS – the likes of Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, Ólafur Arnalds and more – were achieving huge success, while composers like Jóhannsson were making ever deeper inroads into Hollywood.
Without prejudice, without over-reverence, without particularly caring about genre boundaries – but always with utmost seriousness – they take on challenges set by others and put their own mark on them, they dig for the musical motifs that work for them. In short, track by track, performance by performance, they are evolving into a musical act with a distinct voice of their own. Nobody might be sure what to call it or where to place it, but with music this buzzing with influence and inspiration, who even needs to?