Composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist and ready for her second album, that’s Seaming To. ‘Dust Gatherers’ contains eleven experimental songs that, of course, are pushed by the voice of this gifted artist. She creates a very own dream world in which avant-pop is combined with classical, jazz, blues and pure experimentation. It reminds us a bit of the voice antics of a young David Moss who has teamed up with Bjork. These are also artists with a versatile vocal range and their own view on supporting their story musically. That is what Seaming To also does: to use all her musical talents to tell her story and to contribute, she invites those people. Among them are James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco), ex-Homelife, slide guitar, feects) and Matthew Batty (violin), Justin Lingard (viola) and Paddy Steer (double bass, peda;steel guitar) all of whom may or may not have being active at Homelife. Olivia Moore (violin) and Semay Wu (cello) add some extra accents here and there. The guests complement the theatrical performance of Seaming To beautifully and sense when her voice tends towards classical, folk or in another direction. It creates an eclectic whole – its own dreamy, magical-realistic world that nevertheless maintains close ties with ‘ordinary’ pop music. Dust Gatherers continues to intrigue and only slowly reveals its secrets; we like that. (pm)
Gonzo Circus Jan 2023 seaming to
Written In Music
Translation from Dutch: “London’s Seaming To comes from a musical Chinese nest with all highly skilled pianists. Forced to spend many hours behind the wing as a young child, she barely gets the chance to spread her own wings. Like the average anarchist adolescent, she opposes the imposed regime, and mistreats the classical instrument in an unorthodox manner. And it’s by using those black-and-white keys that she actually controls herself in her ability. Her approach is loosely indifferent and less disciplined than the rest of the family. She saves quite by improvising, and at first muddies a little. Only then does she discover the versatile possibilities, a piano is more than a rebellious tool of torture, a sexy affectionate keyboard also coordinates the tender love game. The basis of her quirky sound is the origin of this thought.
Concentration hasn’t fully bloomed yet, and she shifted her attention to the clarinet. Due to the fact that she is more or less obliged to complete a study at the Royal Northern College of Music Conservatory in Manchester, she discovers her singing skills and completes Seaming To’s training as an opera singer. There she meets Graham Massey of 808 State, who introduces her to the avant-garde world, in which more like-minded people function. So it’s not surprising that he also takes the eccentric Björk under his wing. A friendship developed with the studio company Semay Wu, who plays the cello of Dust Gatherer. Meanwhile, Seaming To also manages to play the game of clocks and the synthesizer.
She is different in the way her first husband works. Seaming is still mainly a solo project, which gives her the therapeutic satisfaction. The silence is testimony to the fact that for more than ten years she has no need to play down the inner turmoil. The songs are literally dust collectors that keep the monsters away from her under the bed and protect them from nightmares like an aura shield. Dust Gatherers is much more practical and earthier than the debut album, although it doesn’t play in a rosy peaceful setting. Still, her androgenic deep mystical voice creates an elitist impressionistic effect. As a spirit, she wanders through her songs. It has something lurid, as if The Walt Disney Company were reusing the acquired rights of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales to transform them into adult feature film. Seaming To is commissioned to create a frightening musical atmosphere.
Paddy Steer is present almost invisibly on anOverture with his double bass and pedal steel guitar. AnOverture is the fight against the dream world, try to stay awake, the fear of not waking up anymore is pressing. Blessing blesses the day, conquered another night, but the danger has not receded. Seaming To appears as an evil fairy to claim that eternal sleep. Slowly cunning, seductively misleading. The repetitive Tousles sucks the soul out of the empty shell. The synthesizer goes crazy like a spanned typewriter. Dizzying mechanical arrhythmias stifle the beats and eventually disappear into the Alice In Wonderland rabbit hole. It’s a feverish theatrical account that focuses on the fear of the ignorant. Total alienation from the music experience, a deeper spiritual dimension fueled by the inner fears.
The clarinets control the resting Water Flows balance and turn the tide. The calm has returned, even if the instrumental Xenanmax is as unreliable as an avicious summer breeze. Hitchhiker is the greatest, melodic theatrical. For the right late evening ambience they call in the string company around Semay Wu, outside herself on cello consisting of the three violinists Matthew Batty, Justin Lingard and Olivia Moore. Slide guitarist James Ford takes care of the futuristic psychedelic cacophony on the rocking Look Away, and so the cabinet of curiosities with principal conductor Seaming To is complete. She closes the record with her deep voice and tired jazzy Tenderly clarinet parts, placing herself in the imaginative playing field of Björk. A legacy of Graham Massey’s insight.“ Leon Pouwels
DUST GATHERERS REVIEW BY GILLIAN STONE, MONOLITH COCKTAIL
Seaming To’s Dust Gatherers, released February 10th via O SingAtMe, is a hauntingly beautiful and otherworldly journey through both hyper-modern and timeless soundscapes. The sound design is wonderfully spacious and manages to be lush and sparse at the same time. While she plays most of the instruments on the record (piano, analog synths, clarinets, and glockenspiel), it’s the London-born, UK-based artist’s voice that drives Dust Gatherers. Throughout the record, Seaming To warbles, whispers, croons, screeches, and sings to a choir of her own voices. There is a theatrical element in her delivery, as her voice depicts unique characters between songs – sometimes evoking 40’s jazz, sometimes musical theatre, sometimes classical. Often the listening experience borders on creepy, like living inside a 90’s-era Dracula-themed video game.
The structure and tracking of Dust Gatherers are utterly brilliant. Instrumental “AnOverture” introduces the juxtaposition of the electronic and symphonic elements the make up the album’s ethos. The next three tracks, “Blessing”, “Tousles”, and “Brave” are imbued with choral synths and swirling vocals. It is not until the fifth track, “Traveller”, that acoustic instruments come back into the fold, with the introduction of Seaming To’s clarinet. Clarinets then mesh beautifully with synths on “Water Flows”, followed by the instrumental synth piece “xenanmax”. The album then takes a left turn into the string-quartet-driven “Hitchhiker”, and pivots again into the Björk-style melodies and microbeats of “Look Away”. The final two songs on Dust Gatherers, which appear to be companion pieces, harken back to the golden era of jazz, finishing the record with a sense of timelessness. Piano ballad “Pleasures are Meaningless” alludes to the final track, jazz standard “Tenderly”, which is tethered down by pulsing clarinets and synth glitches. Ever present are Seaming To’s profoundly strong character vocals, which evoke goosebumps at every turn.
DUST GATHERERS review by Rene Van Peer (Gonzo Circus May 2023)
One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing about music is that you shouldn’t get blasé, stay open to discoveries. There are enough albums and concerts that betray quality. But a real surprise is rarer. One of them is ‘Dust Gatherers’ by British singer, pianist and clarinetist Seaming. She has been active for several years. Apparently I have lived with my ears under a stupid stone for a long time. You can hear from the way she plays the piano and clarinet that she has had a good musical education. But it is her voice that takes you in tow after a real overture, with bells and slowly emerging chords on a cello. Against a background of a mourning chorus, conjured from a mellotron, she pronounces a blessing on everyone within earshot. God and the holy spirit are summoned. Repeatedly, more and more voices are added, until a true angelic choir looms before your ears. Even if you are apostate to the bone, you like to believe her. From ‘Blessing’ you go with her on a rollercoaster of pure pleasure. It doesn’t matter whether she moves her voice over springy tones from an analog synthesizer, or whether she lets herself be pulled along by a stringing four-in-hand. Sometimes you get visions of musical films from the years three quarters of a century ago, a glimpse of a hoarse singer in a smoky jazz den. Here emotions have come to full and brilliant growth.
Een van de belangrijkste dingen om in je oren te knopen bij het schrijven over muziek is dat je niet blasé moet worden, steeds open blijven staan voor ontdekkingen. Er zijn genoeg albums en concerten die kwaliteit verraden. Maar een echte verrassing is zeldzamer. Een daarvan is ‘Dust Gatherers’ van de Britse zangeres, pianiste en klarinettiste Seaming. Ze is al een aantal jaren actief. Blijkbaar heb ik langdurig met de oren onder een stompzinnige steen geleefd. Aan de manier waarop ze piano en klarinet speelt is te horen dat ze een goede muzikale opleiding genoten heeft. Maar het is haar stem die je na een heuse ouverture, met belletjes en langzaam opkomende akkoorden op een cello, op sleeptouw neemt. Tegen een achtergond van een treurend koor, tevoorschijn getoverd uit een mellotron, spreekt ze een zegen uit over iedereen die zich binnen gehoorsafstand bevindt. God en de heilige geest worden opgeroepen. Bij herhaling voegen zich er steeds meer stemmen bij, tot een waar engelenkoor voor je oren opdoemt. Ook als je tot op het bot afvallig bent, geloof je haar graag. Vanaf ‘Blessing’ ga je met haar over een achtbaan van puur genot. Daarbij maakt het niet uit of ze haar stem voortbeweegt over veerkrachtige tonen uit een analoge synthesizer, of dat ze zich laat voorttrekken door een strijkend vierspan. Soms krijg je visioenen van musicalfilms uit de jaren van driekwart eeuw geleden, een glimp van een hese zangeres in een rokerig jazzhonk. Hier zijn emoties tot volle en schitterende wasdom gekomen.
Dust Gatherers in Threshold Magazine
Seaming To is a classically trained artist born in London from a family of pianists. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and began playing in bands such as Homelife and Toolshed, and has performed solo around the world. With an experimental ethic and mastery of a variety of instruments, the artist with an angelic voice presents a truly avant-garde sound, exploring the limits of pop, electronics and ambient music as if they were her own.
Dust Gatherers is then the second album that Seaming To release under this name. The record was edited on February 10 via SingAtMe and reveals an incomparable avant-pop, being difficult to fit into any type of classification. This album almost serves as a meditation to calm the nerves, where we can simply close our eyes and embark on a journey guided by the artist’s voice and melodies.
Seaming To é uma artista com formação clássica nascida em Londres, proveniente de uma família de pianistas. Ela estudou na Royal Northern College of Music em Manchester e começou a tocar em bandas como Homelife e Toolshed, tendo já se apresentado a solo em diversas partes do mundo. Com uma ética experimental e uma maestria numa variedade de instrumentos, a artista de voz angelical apresenta uma sonoridade verdadeiramente avant-garde, explorando os limites da pop, eletrónica e música ambiente como se fossem seus.
Dust Gatherers é então o segundo álbum que Seaming To lança sob este nome. O registo foi editado no dia 10 de fevereiro via O SingAtMe e revela um avant-pop incomparável, sendo difícil de encaixar em qualquer tipo de classificação. Este disco quase que serve como meditação para acalmar os nervos, onde podemos simplesmente fechar os olhos e embarcar numa viagem guiada pela voz e melodias da artista.
Podem ouvir Dust Gatherers em baixo.
Seaming To – Dust GatherersCzech Radio Jazz
We will stay in Britain. The London-born singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer Seaming To, straddling jazz, avant-garde pop, electronica and classical music influences, confirms this with her second long-playing album (she also has several EPs in her catalog and collaborations with Herbaliser, Cinematic Orchestra and Robert Wyatt from the legendary band Soft Machine ) reputation of great hope.
The album will be released on February 10, but as in the case of Christelis, the single is already worth paying attention to and may make you not forget to “click” the complete album, according to the press hearing, captivating from start to finish. In compositions such as Traveler or Water Flows, you can also look forward to trips to new worlds of jazz-minimalist-classical arias.
V Británii ještě zůstaneme. V Londýně narozená zpěvačka, multiinstrumentalistka a skladatelka Seaming To, rozkročená mezi jazzem, avantgardním popem, elektronikou a vlivy klasické hudby, potvrzuje druhým dlouhohrajícím albem (v katalogu má i několik EP a spolupráci s Herbaliser, Cinematic Orchestra či Robertem Wyattem z legendární kapely Soft Machine) pověst velké naděje.
Album vyjde 10. února, ale stejně jako v případě Christelise už singl stojí za pozornost a možná se postará o to, abyste nezapomněli „nakliknout“ kompletní album, dle novinářského náslechu strhující od začátku do konce. Ve skladbách jako Traveller či Water Flows se můžete těšit i na výlety do nových světů jazzově-minimalisticky-klasicizujících árií.
MERMAID REVIEW IN 5:4
NATURAL PROCESS REVIEW IN BANBANTONTON
“Seaming To`s jazz-inflected ethereal, multi-tracked vocals circling, creating a kind of alien doo-wop – like a mutated Manhattan Transfer trapped in the Twilight Zone, and the vibe reminiscent of Rare Silk`s sublime Storm……The E.P. also features two Seaming To originals. proneandsupine is a Laurie Anderson – O Superman-esque, wordless lullaby. An arrangement of interwoven, overlapping, whispers, where Meredith Monk`s Sigh becomes a warm summer breeze...Arpeggios race, a collision of kosmische and techno, signalling, signposting, drama, and danger, before finally leaving the singer solo, alone in their lure once more.” Full review
NATURAL PROCESS REVIEW BY MARC URSELLI
“‘The Natural Process’ is a reworking of Susumu Yokota’s track of the same name and a perfect example of Seaming’s distinct and inventive soundworld. Reminiscent of Laurie Anderson and Bjork and yet utterly unique. Seaming’s luxurious vocal tones wrap and weave their way around a pulsing web of electronic sound. A virtual choir from another world.
‘proneandsupine’ is an immersive choral reverie that demonstrates the full beauty and majesty of Seaming’s voice.
The EP concludes with ‘Test Patterns’ an excerpt from a live soundtrack composed for the premiere of Victoria Keddie’s film Test Patterns for the closing night of the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, London 2018. A beguiling and mysterious soundworld like no other.:
“Short but perfectly formed the “Natural Process” EP will take you places.”
Test Pressing Magazine
INTERVIEW WITH MARTYN PEPPERELL ABOUT NATURAL PROCESS EP
“…the voice of the 21st century…” Radio One
“Seaming’s vocal styling is impressively kaleidoscopic; haunting at times, vulnerable at others offering a desolate calm…both a moving and virtuoso conversion..”Clash Magazine
“Absolutely astounding four track EP that is totally original and will take you to places you’ve never been before. Her unique voice and musical arrangements create a sense of wide eyed magical wonder. Seaming To is going to be a star for all the right reasons.” MERMAID EP Dean Thatcher – ZZUBCHART
“When she sings, puts the rest of the band in the shade. A tiny woman with a pixie haircut and euphoric smile, To only has to open her mouth for her astounding, operatic voice to float out…Her singing is beautiful enough to make you wish the rest of the musicians would drop out of their groove for a moment.” The Guardian
AMELIA’S MAGAZINE review and interview
“Seaming To is a Chinese opera singer so has no place here on a rock blog, but I care not. Next month she releases an album where she crosses the border into commerciality and, without being cynical of such a move, she has produced a decent album, simply called ‘Seaming’. It’s a bit classical in places, ambient in others and difficult to stay with, but worthy of an attempt. If you’re into Björk, then this will appeal to you, as it clearly does to me.”
“…To’s incredible voice. It is a dextrous wonder that captivates throughout the record, endlessly morphing and reshaping into different forms and sounds. From a soaring, operatic croon on Sodaslow (sipped), to the theatrical flourishes of Mermaid, to the powerful emoting of Vertigo Billy, it is a voice that is always pushed directly to the forefront of the music.
The musical backdrops that To creates for her voice are mostly subtle and restrained. Tracks like I’m Going To See bubble with swirling synths and skittering understated beats. There is a fluctuation throughout the album between traditional classical and jazz forms and more contemporary electronic sounds. The jumpy electronica of Bee, for example, has more akin with something on Warp records than classical music while Vertigo Billy marries the grandiosity of opera with the industrial crunch of Zola Jesus. It is a striking combination.
Throughout Seaming, you obtain an understanding of To’s musical background and influences, which are firmly rooted in classical and operatic music but also have strong kinship with areas of avant-garde performance art and electronica. To has few similar contemporaries. Much of Seaming is imbued with a sense of balletic grace. You can easily imagine songs like the ornate instrumental piano piece Deer soundtracking a ballet performance on a grand stage. Yet this performance quality is perhaps also the album’s biggest drawback. At times, you feel as if you are listening to the soundtrack of an opera or theatrical performance, and it is hard to form a real emotional attachment to these songs. The largely oblique lyrics do not help in this regard. These are no doubt hugely impressive musical pieces but the album is lacking in strong pop melodies.
It is churlish to complain so, mind, for To is anything but a pop star. Seaming is a record of rich textures and sounds that calls for complete immersion; it’s hard going at times but the rewards are ultimately plentiful. Final track Humid best sums up the album’s charms. What starts as a gentle music box melody accompanying To’s cooing vocal grows into an enormous swelling crescendo as you float off into a dream-like state carried on the waves of one of music’s most strikingly beautiful voices.” Musicomh
“…an extraordinarily beautiful voice and a real leftfield approach to her music”
The List Festival Magazine, Edinburgh
“…mystifying..is an intriguing artist..” Timeout
“Seaming has a massive voice. In fact the British-Chinese singer is operatically trained and boy can she play piano. This track Sodaslow (sipped) is soaring, otherworldly and frankly fantastic..”The Other Woman Music
“…the way that she marries jazz, opera and goth in such a discomforting but charming way. I can’t help but think that she may well have listened to as much Diamanda Galas in her youth as she has perhaps Billie Holiday..”The F Word
“It’s difficult to describe Seaming’s score and performance without getting submerged in superlatives. She is, basically, a total star, with the same creativity, talent and presence as some unique figures from Bjork to Grace Jones, early Annie Lennox or Laurie Anderson or (to choose from the current generation of new names) someone like Janelle Monae or La Roux. What was remarkable about her work with Meshes was its sheer variety, the layers of types of music, from haunting electro to soft live oboe broken by a frankly amazing operatic voice, all perfectly controlled and utterly present. Seaming is a musicians’ musician, a class act with wild capabilities. She did much more than accompany the action on the film – although this she did brilliantly, with exactly the right amount of humour, switching into all-out horror, histrionics, gore and spookiness. She gave us a performance and a composition of true originality, entertainment and independence. The variety of her talents as an instrumentalist, arranger and singer were encapsulated into this brief 14 minutes, but Seaming was undoubtedly the brightest spot of the evening. I would love to see her work more intensively with the film world; the seamless combination of stunningly original music with this intimidatingly excellent film was breathtaking to witness. “ BIDISHA
“Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon was brilliantly soundtracked by the multi-instrumentalist and composer, Seaming. I’ve probably seen Meshes fifty times (only twice by choice) and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed it more. Seaming’s work was just minimal enough to bring the characters to life without overwhelming Deren’s oblique narrative. The problem, as alluded to above, is that when Seaming really got going and her performance matched the intensity of the images, it was almost impossible to keep from looking away from the screen to see the performance—which, it should be noted, was quite worth watching.” The Playground
“Seaming’s score for Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) further blurred the boundaries of naturalistic sync sound, drawing attention through an exaggerated live foley of dropped keys and scratchy record players to the film’s visual images of sound, from the fall of the key to the telephone off the hook to the lover’s whisper and the smash of the mirror. These sounds are the secret inner world of the film’s dreaming protagonist (played by Deren herself), and Seaming’s admixture of processed musical score (for voice, violin, bells and drone) and mimetic effects brings us into that (un)consciousness with immediacy. Hints of Angelo Badalamenti’s scores for David Lynch mingled with Diamanda Galas-like vocals, recalling the significance of the extraordinary female singing voice in Lynch’s films, its power – as here – to connect to something more primal and intimate than the image track. Breath, body and birdsong made Deren’s film spring to life even as the protagonist appears to die.” www.soundandmusic.org
“..Seaming utilising her unbelievable range of skills in a rich and measured response to Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon.” hideandseek
“The night kicked off with Seaming To’s innovative, loving accompaniment to Meshes of the Afternoon (1943 d. Maya Derren and Alexander Hammid). I was previously unfamiliar with the film, but found it well and truly fascinating”..”At no point were the film or its accompaniment rendered subservient to the aims of the other. Equipped with synthesizer, Macbook, clarinet and her signature vocal style, Seaming To used a series of haunting, ambient tones as a starting point, slowly and deliberately layering, manipulating and contorting them. Utilising her entire array of instruments to meander in and out of diegesis, she created a wall of sound as fluid and intangible as the film itself, carrying the audience up and down with the pulsing rhythms of the visuals, focussing and implementing us further and further into the images of madness projected onto the screen, hypnotising, transfixing and astounding all present. In short, it was a perfect fusion of image and sound and undoubtedly the finest example of film accompaniment I have ever witnessed.” CULTURE VULTURE
“Avant-garde opéra singer Seaming To is an alien siren on the atonal Exotics.”
Ian Gittins, The Guardian June 27, 2008
“Stay Tuned” showcasing the extraordinary voice and clarinet of Seaming To”
Andy Gill, The Independent 2007 (for Robert Wyatt’s Comic Opera)
“….To, switching from operatic virtuosity to wailing screech..” Financial Times (for ‘Songs from a Lost Piano”)
Homelife banshee Seaming To goes solo, her operatic vocals soaring
above the Simian bleeps and blips of electro monkey maestro James
Ford. It’s a complicated affair, as if Gary Numan had courted Liz
Fraser before dropping ‘Cars’, but this is a record loaded with
emotion and which packs plenty of dancehall thump amongst the
fluttering intricacies.” Kingsley Marshall –
International DJ (for Sodaslow EP)
“Weird and wonderful!” DJ Magazine
ESSENTIAL LEFTFIELD TUNE
“Coming from a family of trained musicians, it was only
natural for Seaming to follow the same path, first of all
studying at The Royal College Of Music in London, then
moving to Manchester to explore different vocal techniques
& do operatic studies at The Royal Northern College Of
Music. Did all this work and no play pay off ? You bet it
did, Seaming has got an extraordinary voice. As well as
being part of the band Homelife, Seaming has managed to do
a solo album, pulling in Graham Massey (808 State,
Toolshed, Homelife) & James Ford (Simian) on production.
“Soda Slow EP” is the first taster of what’s to come, and
the title track will leave you gob smacked, as Seaming’s
vocals soar & dip as they twist & turn, weaving their way
around racing drum machines & over the edge heartbroken
strings. “Soda Slow” comes with a couple of remixes &
bonus cut “Dreaming”, which comes over like Judy Garland
doing a silver screen siren number. I can honestly say
Seaming To is in a class of her own.”
DEAN THATCHER DMC World Update (for Sodaslow EP)
“If the sleeve artwork for Seamings Tos debut solo release Sodaslow
simply depicted a picture of Manchesters finest avant garde
electro-Opera singer at at the bus stop eating a bag of crisps it
would be worth the entrance fee alone, but the fact that this
enigmatic slab of vinyl is packaged in what could arguably be one of
Manchester’s finest sleeves to grace this decades record racks almost
makes me want to save the audible part of this eagerly awaited release
for another sitting… but im greedy.
First brought to our attention as the front woman for twins of evil
supergroups Home life and Toolshed Seaming has always been in a league
of her very own, comparisons to Morricones right hand woman Edda
DellOrso or obscure European Jazz vocalists such as Ursula Dudziak
face redundancy when its quite clear that Mings grasp on electronic
music as well as contemporary classical music and pop is as tight as
any of her lesser spotted contemporarys. Sodaslow combines all of the
above facets in the form of a 3 and a half minute pulsating
morse-code-coda with a sewing machine bass line and some floral choral
arrangements with regal symphonix to boot – educing visions a Prague
summer with free Red Bull and vodka on tap. The cello and piano on
B-side Dreaming would make a perfect readymade soundtrack for the next
Quay Brothers film while Miss Tos voice repels ghosts and melts
snowmen at a thousand bloody paces. ANDY VOTEL
Posted on 18.02.2023