Nonesuch Records presents The Way Is Read, a 12-song album by the English trio The Staves – Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor (all vocals) – and New York City-based ensemble yMusic. After being commissioned in 2016 by Justin Vernon's Eaux Claires Festival to collaborate on a live performance piece, The Staves delved deep into yMusic's catalogue of contemporary classical compositions to find pieces suited to their lyrics and vocals. While the Festival is known for bringing musicians together for one-off performances, this is the first time one of those partnerships has made the leap into a studio album. The LP was produced by Rob Moose and Jessica Staveley-Taylor and mixed and engineered by Brian Joseph at his studio, Hive, in Eau Claire, WI.
Emily Staveley-Taylor says of the collaboration, "Our aim from the outset was to truly collaborate with yMusic. We wanted to feel like instruments and join in with some of yMusic's existing work, using our voices in ways we hadn't previously explored. We chopped up compositions and put them together again in new ways. We took old folk songs and made them abstract. The idea of forming an orchestra with these incredible musicians was fascinating. What we have ended up with is everything we'd hoped, more than we dreamed, and hopefully the tip of the iceberg."
Rob Moose of yMusic adds, "When Justin raised the possibility of our groups collaborating, we immediately upped the stakes by focusing on a combination of new Staves songs and transformations of yMusic's composed works. It was as much a thrill to hear songs emerge organically over sections of intricate chamber music as it was satisfying to strip songs of the instrument that created them, whether guitar or piano, in order to craft new connective tissue. This project was born of voice memos sent back and forth across the seas, two frenetic days in a Manhattan rehearsal space, a festival set, and a single day of recording in the woods outside of Eau Claire."