Collaboration must be the new black, at least based on amount of side projects I’ve come across lately. At the behest of Berlin based label, Project: Mooncircle, William Yates (Memotone) and Soroosh Khavari (Soosh) have paired up to produce the album Memoosh.
The two UK musicians had never met, let alone worked together before. Nevertheless, this musical blind date has resulted in a fantastically eclectic record. Acoustic instruments, electronics, field recordings and noise are melded in equal parts across the 12 tracks.
Memoosh opens with “Roofwalker”, an exquisite piece of contemporary folktronica. The duo blend snatches of plucked and sul ponti strings, brushed snares, swirling bells and chimes, piano and clarinet with gentle electronica. There is a lot going on, but the textures are beautifully arranged.
Sculpted noise and beats abound on “The Building with the Blue Eyes” and “First Avenue”. “Pale Fire” effortlessly morphs melancholy electric piano and rainfall into howling electric guitar into wonky synth arps and back again. The messy drums on “The Shape of Light” evoke mid- 2000’s Fridge.
Vocal samples are a common feature of the album although they vary greatly from indecipherable conversations to chants and occasionally – such as on the wonky electro lounge of “The Hush” – a conventionally melodic lead vocal.
I must confess I’ve only just recently begun to check out Memotone’s catalogue and had not previously heard of Soosh, so it’s difficult for me to assess the contribution of each musician. However, Yate’s sensitive keyboard work is an obvious voice on numerous tracks, particularly the poignant “Part II” which closes the record.
Memoosh sounds less like the result of a premeditated masterplan and more like two musicians developing a working practise through experimentation and musical conversation. Each track inhabits its own space and yet this broad ranging album succeeds as a cohesive statement with underlying warmth even in the more aggressive tracks. It will be interested to hear the results of any future collaboration between the pair.