With her second album Nuzzle still locked up in soul-numbing contract negotiations with bumbling major label EMI, where it “continues to languish pointlessly, like a pirated ship off the coast of Somalia”, Mara Carlyle has been keeping herself busy with a new side project with her good friend and fellow Matthew Herbert acolyte Max de Wardener. Collaboratively known under the imaginative umbrella of Max de Mara, the two have put together Classist, a new limited edition seven-track album of which only 333 copies have been made.
Three of the songs – dubbed the ‘Bee Trilogy’ – were written by Max and performed by the Elysian Quartet, aka Emma Smith (violin), Jennymay Logan (violin), Vince Sipprell (viola) and Laura Moody (cello), which Mara describes as “breathtakingly beautiful music”. Two of them were written as part of a commission by the Performing Right Society Foundation for the 150th anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery in 2006. The album’s other four songs were adapted by Mara from pieces by Handel, Purcell, Walford Davies and Offenbach – “rather shonky rip-offs which have a certain charm,” she humbly calls them.
But why only 333 copies? Because the release is all part of a bizarre scheme dreamt up by artist Stanley Donwood who set up a label called Six Inch Records with the aim of releasing only three short albums, in never to be repeated batches of 333 copies, to be sold at £6.66 each. Unsurprisingly, he was a little drunk when he came up with the idea. The other two albums in the series are Patrick Bell’s Travel Notes and The Joy Of Living’s The Beyond Within. More info and shopping cart here.
In association with London promoters Eat Your Own Ears, Donwood has booked out the swanky Sketch bar on London’s Conduit Street on January 30th where Max de Mara and The Joy Of Living will perform their respective contributions to the Six Inch Records series. Tickets are, you guessed it, £6.66. Book them here or here.
01 Art Thou Troubled?
02 Bee Trilogy: Swarm
03 When I Am Laid In Earth
04 Bee Trilogy: Hive
05 God Be In My Head
06 Bee Trilogy: The Queen
07 Belle Nuit