Bio: Sian Alice Group (Sian Ahern, Ben Crook and Rupert Clervaux) operate with an experimental approach to songwriting, mixing elements of rock, modern classical, soul, improvisation, free jazz and dance to ... (more)
Bio: Sian Alice Group (Sian Ahern, Ben Crook and Rupert Clervaux) operate with an experimental approach to songwriting, mixing elements of rock, modern classical, soul, improvisation, free jazz and dance to create a vibrant balance that sounds both natural and completely original. The band unifies its members’ varied backgrounds into an accessible eclecticism, underpinning it all with the ethereal beauty of Sian’s (pronounced Shahn) voice.
The group began work on their debut album 59.59 after their conception in 2006. Recorded at Grays Inn Road, Clervaux’s London studio, 59.59 is at once a collection of songs and a single unit -- a free-flowing, amorphous and organic body spanning 59 minutes and 59 seconds. It’s a complex record that moves through traditional pop songwriting and dynamic instrumental composition while being tempered with studio improvisation. As Clervaux also works as an engineer and producer who has collaborated with J. Spaceman, Alexis Taylor, Spring Heel Jack and Treader records, he carries a lush, unique production style throughout the album.
In early 2007, the group took a break from recording to perform their first live performance in Copenhagen and quickly followed-up with two shows opening for Spiritualized and a series of US dates. Summer 2007 saw the release of their debut 7”, Nightsong, on The Social Registry and 2008 kicked off with the North American release of 59.59 – a debut that received nearly universal acclaim. The release was supported with a US tour and found the group blooming into a six-piece with the inclusion of Sasha Vine, Eben Bull and guitarist Mike Bones, a label mate on The Social Registry.
At a time when the musical landscape seems inundated with derivative retrogressive guitar bands, or acts reliant on sequenced beats and oscillator knobs, Sian Alice Group’s classical inclinations demonstrate their willingness to tread their own path. 59:59 features contributions from Sasha Vine, Douglas Hart (Jesus & Mary Chain), John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack) and Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance) that add to the eclecticism. NME calls 59.59 a “stunning debut album,” that is “always breathtaking,” while All Music Guide says it is “an astounding album, quite unlike anything one’s heard before.” In their “Recommended” review Pitchfork writes that the record: “…charts transformations from psychedelic rock, pastoral folk, and piano-lounge balladry into analog-synthtronica, free-jazz breakdowns, pounding Afro-tech grooves, and avant-classical composition."
In June 2008, the group released The Dusk Line, a four-track EP that was recorded during the sessions for 59.59 and features ballads comprised of just piano and vocals. The group finished off 2008 with a full US tour opening for A Place To Bury Strangers and the release of a 12” called Remix, which features adventuresome collaborations with Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance) and Spring Heel Jack.
Cut to 2009 and Sian Alice Group has now completed work on their second full-length: the epic Troubled, Shaken Etc. Sessions took place throughout the second half of 2008 at Grays Inn Road and show the band continuing their series of explorations with live mainstays Mike Bones, Eben Bull and Sasha Vine, as well as John Coxen and Graham Barton. After Spring tours in both the US and the UK (with Vetiver and Deerhunter respectively) and an appearance at ATP, Troubled, Shaken Etc. is slated for an August release.
At the heart of Sian Alice Group are multi-instrumentalists Rupert Clervaux, Ben Crook and vocalist Sian Ahern. The three formed the group in late 2006. Rupert and Ben have both honed their crafts through different outlets in and around London for nearly ten years, Clervaux working as a producer and engineer (he is currently working with Spring Heel Jack and Treader records), and Crook working on a series of home recordings under the name 40,000 Ghosts. Having talked about collaborating for years, the two teamed up with vocalist Ahern to form Sian Alice group. With grandiose sounds in mind, the core trio brought in Sasha Vine on violin and piano, and for live shows have also added John Webster Johns and Douglas Hart, founding member of Jesus and Mary Chain.