FAYE MACCALMAN: Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Voice, Synth
CHRISTIAN ALDERSON: Drums, Percussion
JOHN POPE: Bass guitar, FX, Voice
A eclectic, genre-smashing trio of musicians from the North East's varied experimental scene, nothing about Archipelago is predictable. Lead by multi-instrumentalist and composer Faye MacCalman, this trio range across a wide territory that encompasses and restructures alt-rock, jazz, prog, folk, song-forms and soundscapes into something totally unlike any other band I've ever been in. In the years since we came together in the melting pot of Newcastle 'Mutant Big-Band' Midnight Doctors and began playing, this group of people have become a tight-knit family, touring all around the country with far too much gear in the back of my car and bringing our music to audiences in jazz clubs, rock venues, DIY spaces and festival fields of all different flavours.
"A glorious, crunching force."
- NARC Magazine
We released out debut album 'Weightless' in 2017 after two years of rehearsing, exploring and playing shows in tiny spaces to work on our sound. It's a mix of longer-form songs, snippets of improvisation, studio experiments and punchy hooks, laid down over three hectic days in Newcastle's Blank Studios. One song, the album closer 'Glittercliff' became a live staple, despite having been a complete improvisation; I had to go back and figure out what on earth I'd been doing on the day...
In 2018 we were the recipients of a Peter Whittingham Development Award from Help Musicians UK. With their support we devised and produced a series of concerts, 'BETWEEN WAVES', performing entirely new music written in collaboration with a series of hand-picked female artists from a range of different practices. Collaboration and experimentation are a huge part of what makes this band so vital, and the resulting EP demonstrates what can happen when a group of creative people give themselves totally over to that process.
Alongside all this we've also played at innumerable festivals, including the Us vs Them all-day event curated by Field Music in 2017, London Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, and supported artists of all different genres, from proggers Once and Future Band to jazz clarinet giant Arun Ghosh. In 2019 we embarked on our first headline tour covering the whole country, from Glasgow to Lime Regis and back. As 2020 came to a close we went into the studio to record our second full-length album. 'Echoes to the Sky' is the result, a collection of surreal songs and daring improvisation, riffs, soundscapes and heartfelt storytelling. It comes out June 25th on the New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings label and I'm thrilled to be sharing what we've done.
"Roaming smartly from free-improv to rock"