Posts Tagged ‘Ex:Re’’

Elena Tonra of Daughter resumes her Ex:Re moniker to present a reinterpretation of her debut solo album. “Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble”, released today, is a collaboration between Tonra, classical composer Josephine Stephenson and one of the UK’s leading string orchestras, 12 Ensemble.  Originally released in 2018, Ex:Re (pronounced “Ex Ray” and meaning “regarding Ex”) laid bare Tonra’s unfiltered internal monologue after the end of a relationship.  Containing her most personal lyrics to date and brought into being with the help of Stephenson and producer/drummer Fabian Prynn, Ex:Re struck a chord with the broken-hearted and brought closure to a chapter in Tonra’s life.

Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble reimagines and complements its predecessor.  It was recorded by Fabian Prynn during performances at Kings Place (the multi-arts venue in London’s King’s Cross neighbourhood) on the 30th November 2019, where Tonra was joined onstage by Stephenson on piano and the 12-piece string orchestra, 12 Ensemble.  

Josephine Stephenson, a celebrated composer, arranger and performer, was approached by Kings Place to curate an event for their “Venus Unwrapped” 2019 season.  Stephenson saw space in the programming for a live performance that bridged the gap between the classical and non-classical worlds, and having recently been involved with Ex:Re, collaborating once more with Tonra made perfect sense.

Stephenson’s new arrangements of the original Ex:Re album into classical form strip back the songs, heightening the emotion and vulnerability of the lyrics.  “Working with acoustic instruments was an opportunity to add subtle, yet tangible dynamic details to highlight Elena’s words.  As the Ex:Re songs are often built from loops, I enjoyed exploring the multitude of possible variations and reinventions within these, adding counter-melodies and making small changes in harmony or voicing.  After touring with the Ex:Re band for a year, I knew the songs inside out, and had already started expanding and orchestrating them in my head. I  also felt fearless knowing I was writing for the 12 Ensemble, who are all exceptionally talented musicians and comfortable in all sorts of genres.“

Tonra and Stephenson found respite in the recordings months after the Kings Place performance.  “We were mixing the record while concerts and events around the world were being cancelled and postponed, so it was really moving to listen to the audio over and over during that time.  The sound of a room filled with people was, and is, something we were all greatly missing” says Tonra.  Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble, mixed by Jonathan Lefèvre-Reich, warps the space between audience and performer.  It places the listener in the centre of the music, surrounded by a semi-circular wall of string sounds, to recreate the experience of the performance from up close.  “There is also some magic in there” says Tonra, “Jonathan added some beautiful moments of story-telling in the mix.  On ‘New York’, for example, the strings suddenly feel as though they are dripping down the sides of your head.”

Ex:Re

Ex:Re  the solo recordings of Elena Tonra from Daughter – is now available worldwide on vinyl and CD, after the digital release of the album late last year.

The album was Rough Trade’s Album of the Month, and they will be celebrating by offering an exclusive limited blue pressing of the vinyl with a free CD featuring live versions of four tracks recorded at Hoxton Hall, London in November 2018.

Last month Tonra shared the stunning visuals for ‘The Dazzler’.  Directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (creators of Daughter’s triptych of videos for their second record Not To Disappear), the video imagines ‘The Dazzler’ as the hotel depicted in Tonra’s lyrics and places the magnificent British actress Maxine Peake languishing alone in one of its rooms (with cameo appearance from Tonra). Running parallel to Daughter, Tonra has assumed the pseudonym Ex:Re (pronounced ex ray) for her eponymously-titled debut solo album, a deeply personal record that was made with both a sense of urgency and a cathartic need.

“A spacious, raw record.” – Q
“The overall effect is immersive, wallowing, sad but often beautiful.” – Uncut
“Fascinating but demanding debut.” – MOJO
“An album that’s fully formed, rich and deeply affecting.” – DIY
“A beautifully understated mood piece and Tonra’s finest work to date, with or without the band.”
– Loud And Quiet

Elena said of the album, “Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it’s about the space without that person in it.  In every scenario, there’s either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment.  I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes.  He is only felt as a ghostly presence.”

Tonra’s candid solo songs document the time after a relationship ended and are written like unsent letters to herself and others.  Taking on a creative moniker, she chose Ex:Re to mean ‘regarding ex’ and also ‘X-Ray’ as a way to look inside and see what is really there.  Writing took a year but the recording process lasted mere months, turning to Fabian Prynn (4AD’s in-house engineer and producer) and composer Josephine Stephenson on cello to help bring Ex:Reto life.

Ex:Re’s first single ‘Romance’ its accompanying video (directed by Antonia Luxem

Taken from Ex:Re’s self titled debut album, digitally out now on 4AD & Glassnote Records.

Ex:Re, the Solo Recordings of Elena Tonra. from Daughter.

Elena’s debut solo album – released under the alias Ex:Re – is available digitally now!

The 10-track album was recorded this autumn in South London and is co-produced by Elena & Fabian Prynn.  What a coincidence that I was wondering this morning, if Daughter is ever coming back with some new music. And then I check Twitter and see that “Romance” is released. Even though it’s not a new Daughter song or album, it’s still a pleasant surprise!

Physical copies of ‘Ex:Re’ are also now available for pre-order worldwide (12″ vinyl & CD) with a release date of the 1st February 2019. ‘Romance’ was the first single to be taken from ‘Ex:Re’. Watch the track’s accompanying video – directed by Antonia Luxem .

‘Romance’ is the first single taken from Ex:Re’s self titled debut album, digitally out on 4AD Records & Glassnote Records on November 30th.