Transference is a 10 song LP to be released by Marmoset, a label and boutique music agency based in Portland, Oregon. The album unearths and re-examines a diverse collection of honored, distinguished musical artifacts – blowing the proverbial dust off of them and transferring the life, feelings and ideas into something completely new.
For this project, the producers at Marmoset excavated a collection of 100 or more year-old songs in the public domain, considering each one as a timeless design worthy of a modern interpretation. Marmoset then presented the collection to a diverse swath of its extended artist community, with the invitation to collaborate. The result is a contrastive collection of songs reimagined into something new. The participating artists, including The Helio Sequence, Dear Nora, Bouquet and Ural Thomas and The Pain, recreated songs entirely different from the original design, ranging from intimate folk to electro pop and even brassy soul revival and funk – and a lot more in between.
The recordings were deconstructed one by one, thoughtfully plotting intentions of reimagining them through a new, modern lense. Drawing from the sonic muses of various artists, Marmoset’s team worked closely with each one to conceptualize these historical artifacts as distinct, new expressions of art. While the core bones and connective tissue of each original song remain – respectfully preserving the basic structures and melodies – each piece has been deliberately woven into a new, original fabric.
Take for instance "Out Among the Sheltering Pines" by The Helio Sequence. This song was originally titled "Down Among the Sheltering Palms," and was a warming beacon of hope for those living in the Northeast during harsh, cold winters. Having grown up in Portland, the palm trees and thoughts of the Southern coast weren't relatable to Helio Sequence's songwriter Brandon Summers, but the shelter of the pines in the forests of the Pacific Northwest certainly were. Summers replaced the beachy instrumentation of ukuleles with an acoustic guitar to play upon the folky feeling of sitting by the fireside at camp. "Rather than a laid back palm tree feel, the forest appeals to my sense of mysticism," said Summers of his interpretation. And thus, a new song entirely was created.
Every collaboration was approached as its own independent endeavor. Sheet music ranging from 1860 to 1921 was disseminated to each of the artists and bands, and as each project began, no one was certain if it was going to work out or not. Yet, each time it did. And with each new recording, they discovered with great curiosity and surprise, the true embodiment of a phenomenon called Transference.