Recitals, are a 7-piece band based in both Te Whanganui-A-Tara (Wellington) and Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). They are made up of Xanthe Rook (Bass/Vocals), Tharushi Bowatte (Trumpet), Carla Camilleri (Keys/Vocals), Olivia Wilding (Cello), Christian Dimick (Guitar/Vocals), Josh Finegan (Drums) and Sam Curtiss (Guitar). Their sound sprawls across a blend of genres made up of each members’ unique musical personality, alchemizing a spectrum of influences into complex sonic structures that sew a thread between contemporary alt folk and the avant garde.
Recitals were formed between December 2019 and March 2020 as the brain-child of Xanthe Rook, who wanted to facilitate a safe and explorative space for wāhine (women) and queer/LGBTQI+. The band would meet at Wellington’s Pyramid Club every Sunday to write and practice. By the end of 2020, they had made their mark in the capital. They established themselves as crowd favourites with their enchanting live performances, each song creating a dreamscape atmosphere teetering between ambient and tumultuous. This, combined with their debut single,‘Tongue’, placed them on the indie radar and several ones-to-watch lists.
Throughout the pandemic and various lockdowns that occurred during that time, the band remained close and continued to write. Eventually, in the midst of it all, an album took shape, recorded in various studios and bedrooms.
“Orbit I is a grand and imposing freshman exhibition. It holds chaos in one hand and the ether in the other. It is saturated, dense, heavy hearted and consistently attempts to acknowledge duality. The formulation and wrangling of such a beast took time; obsession, kai, camaraderie and personal trial. Logistically it was messy, and at times idiotic - but we never doubted its worthiness of being brought into the world.”
Between the simple, cooing melodies in ‘Tongue’, the angular drive in ‘Gradient’ and the dark-toned, bass-driven ‘Sweat’, the album is a full exploration of timbre. Each members’ musical projections are realised, and the open-ended configurations leave room for the listener to traverse every layer.
“Orbit I was a collective artistic quest, perseveringly born amidst a very strange, and disorderly time to be alive. Playing music every Sunday night together became a sacred and necessary communion. The record is understood differently by each of us, but the sense of collectivity and connectivity is constant. If you keep an ear out, the laughter is palpable. This record simultaneously shaped us as we shaped it. It represents an initial idea, an opening, that declares ‘parameters’ as ultimately meaningless to us. Now we know, nothing binds friends better than the laborious birth of a beautiful baby.”
Orbit I is out on 26th August 2022 via Flying Nun Records. Available on standard black LP, clear LP and across all digital and streaming platforms.