PREMIERE: Firebirds by Snowdrops

Described as “a musical fresco in seven pieces”, Missing Island will be the third album from Snowdrops, a French chamber collective comprising multi-instrumentalists Christine Ott and Mathieu Gabry accompanied by violist Anne-Irène Kempf. A sequel to Volutes, which gained recognition as one of the top 10 contemporary albums of 2020 by The Guardian, the new record sees Ott adding the earthy sounds of hand-pumped organ to a sonic palette shared by the Mellotron and ondes Martenot which are such a distinctive part of the otherworldly aura that permeates the music of Snowdrops.

“Firebirds”, the first single from the new album, is an elemental dance between Gabry’s sweeping piano lines, Kempf’s fiery strings, and the soaring glissandos Ott coaxes from the ondes Martenot. Since Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood single-handedly renewed interest in this unique instrument (more about that in this interesting take by composer David Bruce), few have leaned into further exploring its expanded possibilities as she has. While the eerie voicings may inevitably evoke memories for many of us alien encounters in sci-films of the 50s & 60s, Ott finds new ways to incorporate those high-register legatos to lend a sense of exotic mystery to the sound world the band creates together in this imaginative piece.

Missing Island will be released digitally and on vinyl LP November 25, 2022 by Injazero Records, a label formed by London / Istanbul-based music producer and journalist Siné Buyuka in 2017, and features artwork by Lali Torma.

Links: Bandcamp | Snowdrops | Injazero Records

Photo by Jean-Pierre Rosenkranz