Foundations: Kaleida

Digging down into the duo's roots...

Kaleida have pushed themselves into a remarkable position.

The pair's 2017 debut 'Tear The Roots' was a global success, gaining 70 million streams, and helping to soundtrack Hollywood blockbuster John Wick.

Since then, the duo have found an ocean between them, with Cicely and Christina living respectively in the UK and US.

Both have moved into a fresh phases in their lives, too, starting families, and taking up new roles.

Music acts as the bridge between them, however, and these changes fuel their new eight track album 'Odyssey'.

Out next month, it's an eight track collection, one that is marked by the immense shifts in their lives over the past three years.

Clash caught up with Kaleida to discuss their mutual roots in Foundations.

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Nas – 'Illmatic' / Lauryn Hill – 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill' (As picked by Cicely)

I remember sneaking a tape cassette from my older brother's car and part of the Nas album was recorded on it, in amongst a mish-mash of De La Soul, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh. I had no idea who it was at the time, or even what it was, but the sound kind of fascinated me – the beats, the bass so heavy – not like anything I'd heard before.

This album was a kind of portal into a love of hip hop and a life-long love affair with Lauryn Hill and her now seminal record 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill'. Her album was the first CD I ever bought – I must have listened to it from start to finish a million times, over and over on a horrible little CD player. This was the first time I think I understood an album as a body of work, of someone's life, or a personal journey – not in a literal sense but just music hanging together and making sense together through someone's voice.

More than that, it was a strong female voice, which was so powerful and a genre almost solely dominated by men. It's been over 20 years since it came out and its emotional power is still as strong and the music just as relevant.

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Ensemble Harmonie Géorgienne – 'Chantes Sacrés Géorgiennes' (As picked by Cicely)

I have no idea how I came across this choir – possibly with the help of YouTube's algorithm. Anyway, I have listened and listened to this album in so many different situations and I still just want to lie down and fold myself up into the harmony – it's so strange!

I love it because the harmony isn't quite the same as what we have in Western music – they use intervals based on the natural harmonic spectrum, so everything sounds a little wrong but at the same time, so completely right.

I feel like the music has this extraordinary power to connect us to something older than ourselves and bigger than ourselves. It is a testament to music’s ability to heal and to remind us of what’s gone before.

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Nina Simone – 'Little Girl Blue' (As picked by Cicely)

'Little Girl Blue' was the first album recorded by Nina Simone but the musicality and the maturity of her gift is so extraordinary for someone in their 20s, I still can’t believe it when I listen to it now. To think that singing and making jazz records was just a secondary pursuit of hers, when she really wanted to be a classical pianist – it still really blows me away.

I also love this album because it was the first time that it dawned on me that recorded music was not just a repetitive outcome only dependent on the artist that was making it but that it was made up of all these amazing different ingredients: the atmosphere of the studio, the microphones, the engineer, the time and place and that each recording is like a living thing.

You can hear the atmosphere in the opening notes of ‘Little Girl Blue’ with her incredible improvisation on Good King Wencelas – you feel like you could be in that room right with her, it’s raw. That’s why it’s good to not get too worried about recording music in a really professional or expensive studio – just take a microphone with you and see what you can build up with all the textures and atmospheres that life gives you.

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Bjork – 'Post' (As picked by Christina)

I first heard this when I was 12 years old at a family friend’s house in Spain. It was instantly fascinating to me – the raw, primal vocals that sounded weirdly familiar, like they were from common past , the unusual structures, and the wacky production that had jazz influences and used bizarre electronic sounds, Icelandic words on loop, all kinds of colors…I was hooked.

Later I read about the way Bjork and Nellee Hooper came up with some of the elements – rubbing the ribbed side of a coin on a wire, recording a record needle skipping, layering horns on early DAW, or adapting basslines from jungle music.

I loved their freedom and it was super inspiring to me – the record (and then her first, Debut, when I discovered it) helped me escape reality and feel stimulated by people who weren’t afraid to be eccentric, or try new combinations. It was both sonically and personally a huge moment and I’m still a devoted Bjork fan. She’s helped so many people transcend their daily life!

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Fever Ray – 'Fever Ray' (As picked by Christina)

This is another album that blew my mind – it is so perfectly organized yet emotional, and Karin Dreijer created a world unto itself with the production. It’s got this clarity but also this dream-like state to it. Very Scandinavian.

She made it after her second child and that was also inspiring to me – a woman, doing all this on her own, with two young children. It was an album that I listened to over and over, trying to dissect how the production worked, and the decisions she had made. A lot of it is very simple, but it’s so expertly put together, and has this structural intelligence as if it were alive, like some kind of deep sea life form that you think can’t exist.

It came out around the time when I was trying to learn how to use Ableton and it was one of the main reasons why I kept trying to pursue making music with no training or background… it was the prize at the end of the long slog, to be able to create something that beautiful.

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'Odyssey' will be released on August 28th.

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