Manchester-based Caulbearers present their new single ‘Burst Through The Borders’, influenced by modern, urban existence and celebrating the sacred in the everyday and the supposedly mundane. The fantastic single cover artwork was created by James Roper. The accompanying video is a collaboration between Mahoney and editor / animator James Stirzaker, who has a long history of working with the band.
Formed in 2007, Caulbearers are a collective led by Damien Mahoney, with contributors hailing from around the UK and Europe. A DIY ethic has coursed through the band’s work, including releases, design, production and much of the recording process. This hybrid ensemble is known for blending diverse musical styles and fusing them together on stage, weaving nu jazz and folk with elements of hip-hop, funk, dub, soul and afrobeat.
The video was shot almost entirely on mobile phones during the Covid 19 epidemic and in various states of lockdown restrictions in 2020. It depicts eerily empty scenes of Manchester, including the heart of the city centre. Other locations include Blackburn countryside and the Norfolk coastline. Singers Ruth Blake and Damien Mahoney are the only humans seen in the video, accompanied by various birds enjoying brief cameos throughout. As in the song, the natural world with its mysteries, wisdom and wonder, is the main protagonist of the video.
“I wanted to capture all these locations at such a unique time when everything felt so different, to help tell the story of a song that imagines great transformations of our societies, spaces, cultures and of ourselves. When everything initially locked down in the UK, we only had access to our phones and each other, so my wife Liz and I took a DIY approach and would go out filming in the early morning. As the year progressed, other friends also filmed sections and when times of less restriction came, we visited more locations but kept the same approach and aesthetic throughout,” says Damian Mahoney.
Written in 2017, the song’s lyrics for ‘Burst Through The Borders’ were inspired by timeless texts by authors such as Idries Shah, Kahlil Gibran and Neil Douglas-Klotz whilst simultaneously dreaming of a beautiful revolution occurring in the markets, pubs, boardrooms, hospitals and schools of our towns and cities.
“As a species, we have so many difficult challenges to find solutions for, that it can feel overwhelming to know where and how to start. I wanted to write something that had total faith in the possibility of change, in the ability to transcend the complexities of our modern lives with simplicity. The song imagines this energy of love flooding through the world and transforming the institutions and purposes of our societies and our lives. By its nature, it dismantles the barriers that cause hardship for so many and the borders that separate us from each other. I wanted to write something that included everyone and everything. I was imagining this powerful force, reaching and filling up all these places and the people in them, leaving no one behind,” says Damien Mahoney.
Mixed by Seadna Mcphail (Badly Drawn Boy, Jah Wobble, Everything Everything, I Am Kloot, Happy Mondays) and mastered by Jim Spencer (New Order, Johnny Marr, Charlatans, Factory Floor) at Eve Mastering in Greater Manchester, this track features numerous renowned musicians. Among them are drummer Howard Jacobs (808 State, Beth Gibbons, Homelife, Toolshed), guitarist Anton Hunter (Beats and Pieces Big Band, Article XI), cellist Stefan Skrimshire, bassist Nicholas Malin, and additional acoustic guitar by Andrew Mucha. Ruth Blake joins Damien Mahoney on vocals, while acclaimed composer and polyrhythmic pioneer Edward Chilverscontributes piano.
Along with the A-side, Caulbearers presents a stunning b-side – ‘Solid Supposed’ featuring Ruth Blake, whose latest single ‘Brave Ships’ was produced by Damien Mahoney. Not long ago, Caulbearers also released the single ‘Over Comes A Cloud’, which marked the beginning of a blossoming relation with Blake.
Caulbearers’ music and sound is influenced by an eclectic range of artists, including Bill Laswell, Toots & The Maytals, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Curtis Mayfield, Talking Heads, Andy Weatherall, Brian Eno, Lee Scratch Perry and The Specials.
Written, produced & edited by Damien Mahoney
Rhythm and guitar tracks recorded at Airtight Studios in Manchester
Vocal & instrument recording by Damien Mahoney at his Padded Cell studio
Mixed by Seadna Mcphail
Mastered by Jim Spencer at Eve Mastering in Greater Manchester
Video directed by James Stirzaker & Damien Mahoney
Filmed by Elizabeth Murphy, Damien Mahoney, James Stirzaker, Elia Santini, Richard Smith and Amii Priestley
Video editing & post-production by James Stirzaker
Single cover artwork by James Roper
Photos by Jan Schoof. Collages by James Stirzaker
“Impressive… what it might sound like were you to cross Bill Laswell and Massive Attack with Laura Marling and Mojave 3… stellar, believable and inspiring. With a tandem of female and male vocals and lyrics that are heartfelt, hopeful and genuine” ~ Big Takeover Magazine
“Funky and original in such a quirky way that the sauvé jazz-infused style and improv mindset create such a tasty track that you find yourself giving multiple listens within the same sitting. All music should be this progressive” ~ Jammerzine
“Caulbearers have been one of the city’s forward-thinking musical forces. A unique blend of genres backed up with a commitment to alternative lifestyles which brings real soul to their various endeavors” ~ Danny Moran (Northern Soul)
“With so much new music clamouring for attention now, Caulbearers deserve a place in your heart because they are thinking about the world and offering optimism where others are just ranting“ ~ 160 gig blog
Photos by Jan Schoof. Collages by James Stirzaker