Mending – Storytelling or Soundtracking? [Part 1]

Mending are establishing a way not only to compose music as we've known until now but to make it as a full piece of art, similar to cinema.

Kate Adams is a folk singer songwriter from Chicago and Joshua Dumas is a sound artist an composer. Together they are Mending. And as the name sugests,  they are mending music into something special. Apart from their solo careers, they decided to experiment this ambitious and long-term project.

The whole project tells a story, it’s like an audiobook, but as a soundtrack divided in nine chapters (EP’s), edited every 2 months, from August 2018 to January 2020. It’s a 4-hour work with 40 songs. This incredible idea of making music breaks the concept of a song and a whole album is now an act, where the artists create their own scenario projected in our mind.

We Gathered Together at Wakerobin Hollow

The story hereby told is called We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow. It’s a piece full of memorabilias told chronologically by a multiple points-of-view about many characters of a family and friends. Children growing up, going to college, growing their families and, in the end, eventually going back to where it all began.

Chapter 01: It All Starts at Odena

The first chapter starts with Emma’s birth and takes place in Odena, Alabama, where Emma will run a farm. It tells the first 18 years of Emma’s life, featuring her father Alan, Jen, her younger sister, her girlfriends Julia and Marsha and Jon, Emma’s boyfriend who will become her husband. In this chapter, a great event happens: a huge fire takes place at the oil refinery where Alan works and he got injured. This changes their lives forever and drives the continuation of the story.

Musically, Joshua takes great advantage of noise and field-recordings, using synthesizers which creates a cinematic environment, combined with a piano and a smooth, clean and angelical vocals by Kate, giving a sense of drama, engaging perfectly with the lyrics. The melancholic mood is a constant exaggerated by the static sound -a constant too- that brings the feeling of an old VHS cassette, playing all these nostalgic memories.

Chapter 02: A Few Years in Asheville

After the tragic accident, Alan left Odena to towards the south-east, he never saw his girls again, and for a decade he wandered, homeless, struggling with trauma and alcohol. Meanwhile, Julia and Marsha entered university in Asheville, experienced their first loves, graduated and started to work. The story goes until their 30, and somewhere in time Julia’s done with Asheville and decided to move.

This chapter is a little bit different than the first one: the instrumental is more present, becoming the support of the tracks. It’s even more dramatic and emotional than sensorial, as it happens in the first chapter. Joshua evocates our deepest feelings and through his majestic work, we start connecting to the characters. The melodies are now darker and Kate sounds more human than angelical. It sounds like everything has grown.

Chapter 03: Julia Coming and Going

Julia consummates her wish as she moves to Brooklyn with Marsha. They’re both now living their adulthood, different lovers appear as they feel further from Odena. Their friendship becomes stronger during this past year but ties to their past remain strong and suddenly Julia have to return to their hometown due to some events. While there, Julia starts questioning her paths.

This third chapter is probably de most bustling until now. the sound artist explores not only the scenic and visual environment, brought through his synths and sound effects, but the time itself of the characters: two large compositions puts ourselves experiencing the feelings and thoughts of Julia and Marsha. The insistent usage of the piano turns it into something more personal, as if the songs were divided by two different pieces: one is present in the role as if it was the soundtrack of the scene and the other is more ethereal as if it represents their mind and soul, while the singer-songwriter keeps telling the story.

This is one of the most (probably the most of all times) ambitious projects we’ve ever heard. It sets music into a completely different position, jumping from opera, soundtracking and ambient music to this storytelling, Mending are establishing a way not only to compose music as we’ve known until now but to make it as a full piece of art, similar to cinema.

The band will release a new chapter every two months and we’ll post it every three chapters, so pay close atention to WtMM posts and the band’s social media pages:

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More songs like this can be found at our weekly updated Spotify playlist: