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Pioneering vocal octet Roomful of Teeth will release its eponymous debut album October 30th on New Amsterdam Records. Founded in 2009 by director Brad Wells, the ensemble consists of eight classically trained vocalists dedicated to re-imagining singing in the 21st century. Through their study with vocal masters from western styles as well as non-classical traditions from all over the globe—including Tuvan throat singing, belting and pop techniques, yodeling, Inuit throat singing, and new techniques from Sardinia and Korea—Roomful of Teeth boast an astounding dexterity in singing technique that make them " unlike anything you've ever seen before" (WBUR Boston). Their debut album sees Roomful inviting seven of today’s brightest composers to tap into this limitless faculty, resulting in a dynamic collection of songs that, seconds into the first listen, proves Roomful of Teeth are not only talented; they are a truly singular ensemble with an omnivorous curiosity and one of the most original approaches to vocal music heard in years.
Each work on the album highlights the group's virtuosity and polystylistic approach in a singular and mesmerizing manner, all set to pristine production courtesy of Grammy-nominated producer Jesse Lewis. From neo-alpine yodel on Rinde Eckert’s “Cesca’s View” to Caleb Burhans’s stirring post-minimalist take on bel canto singing in “No”, the album breathes fresh life into the a cappella landscape. One of this generation’s most dynamic vocal talents, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, contri butes two electrifying compositions that explore a range of world-inspired grooves. African pygmy yodels, Inuit rhythmic pulsing, Appalachian hymn tunes, and bracing Eastern European belting all filter through her powerful compositional voice. Composer-to-watch Caroline Shaw uses her insider vantage as a Roomful vocalist to create four sonically exquisite and emotionally charged journeys through the Roomful soundworld. New Amsterdam co-directors William Brittelle, Judd Greenstein, and Sarah Kirkland Snider contribute as well: Brittelle's daring "Amid the Minotaurs" pushes and pulls before circling around a jaw-dropping soprano solo; Snider's otherworldly "The Orchard" intertwines haunting vocals with the text of poet Nathaniel Bellows; and Greenstein's three pieces explore the group's polyphony at its most lively, then later tender and affecting. Altogether, the album is a 13-piece showcase of the staggering range of this adve nturous ensemble, each work designed to let Roomful's blazingly unique skill set shine for an entirely unforgettable listening experience.