The English eight-part acapella choir VOCES8 has been amazing audiences around the world with the sheer beauty that the ensemble creates. Picture a choir that has flawless intonation, perfect vocal balance, and where each one of the individual singers is a supreme musician… this is VOCES8 in a nutshell.
Watch the full conversation with VOCES8
The group releases their latest recording called Infinity, on August 27. The album consists of new music from 21st-century composers from a wide range of musical backgrounds. Video game, film and alternative composers are all represented on this disc.
Infinity track listing: (** New Compositions)
- By Night (Sophie Hutchings)
- Helium Life Jacket (Slow Meadow)
- Scene Suspended (Jon Hopkins)
- Heyr himna smiður (Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson)
- A Pile of Dust (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
- Find Our Way (Kelly Lee Owens & Sebastian Plano) **
- momentary (Ólafur Arnalds)
- Infinity (Anne Lovett) **
- In the Shining Blackness (Benjamin Rimmer) **
- Still (Ola Gjeilo)
- The Universe Within You (Stephen Barton) **
- My Mind is Still (Nainita Desai) **
- Ascent (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
- Atomos XI (A Winged Victory for the Sullen)
- There is a Solitude (Luke Howard) **
(1-3, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14 arr. Geoff Lawson, 5 arr. Benjamin Rimmer, 13 arr. Robert Ames, 6 arr. Jim Clements)
The album was recorded early on in the pandemic says Artistic Director and countertenor for VOCES8, Barnaby Smith.
As First Alto for VOCES8 Katie Jeffries-Harris says, “It was a huge relief to be recording it through the pandemic… to have this time to work with each other and have an artistic output, I think has been really interesting.”
Smith credits the diverse program of the disc to people behind the scenes. As Smith states, “A lot of the credit has to go to our wonderful Executive Producer Helen at Decca Records…our record label really did a lot of research into the sorts of composers that might intrigue multigenerational listeners, but also composers who are writing in a style that might translate very well into the sorts of sounds and noises that we make as a group.”
The album Infinity is based on the idea of space, both literally and figuratively. “It’s the idea of kind of getting beyond the mundane…so really finding a space that is quite meditative…maybe that’s something religious, maybe it’s just getting away and calming yourself from what has been a really difficult 18 months or so,” Jeffries-Harris says.
Smith describes the sound of the album as “the sort of sound I think people enjoy hearing VOCES8 make on disc…the sort of CD that they can turn to in various different times of the day, for various different reasons but that they will enjoy having on.”
On the literal end of things, there is a track on the disc that makes use of sounds from the Sputnik satellite. Nainita Desai’s piece “My Mind is Still” makes use of sounds from the satellite, and combines them with the heavenly sounds of VOCES8.
There are six brand new tracks on the album that have been arranged for VOCES8. "The arrangements are done by a few different people because a number of the tracks on the album are in their original form very successful, and we’ve taken them and made them work for eight voices possibly plus an instrument," Smith says. "It’s quite important to us when we do these projects that these arrangements are bespoke because taking the original tracks and converting to voices in this way is a very difficult thing...so we work in collaboration with the arrangers to make sure it fits just right.”
And fit just right they do! VOCES8 has succeeded in creating an album that will both calm you and be a feast for your ears. All of the tracks are spellbinding and show that VOCES8 can do it all. The harmonies on the disc are at times complex and interesting, but with VOCES8’s supreme musicianship, they come across as nothing but sheer beauty.