Ecka Mordecai

Ecka Mordecai

Ecka Mordecai is a British artist based in London. Situated between sonic, performative and olfactory disciplines, her work is driven by sensation: entwining cello, horsehair harp, voice, eggflute, scent and improvisation into time-based objects expressive of emotional complexity.

Both intimate and exacting, this body-driven practice defies formal constraints, undoing the limits of genre and allowing for works such as Aequill Sound, a line of niche perfumes inspired by elements of the East London soundscape, or Promise & Illusion (Otoroku, 2022), the album in which Ecka explores myriad internal states using the compositional device of a creaking door hinge (or charniére).

Performing since 2010, Ecka has appeared alongside the likes of David Toop, Malvern Brume, Thurston Moore, Keeley Forsyth, Ilan Volkov, Ex-Easter Island Head, Greta Buitkute, Dave Birchall and Kate Armitage. She has played at Cafe OTO, BBC Glasgow, Islington Mill and inside a Berlin wasserturm, amongst others.

She has projects with Revox tape performer Valerio Tricoli in the duo Mordecoli (The Addiction, Hedione 2022), and in the trio Circæa with Andrew Chalk and Tom James Scott (The Bridge of Dreams, Faraway Press, 2019).

Featured releases

Promise & Illusion is the first LP from Ecka Mordecai, following the release of her solo Critique + Prosper on Takuroku in 2020. Cello, voice, horsehair harp, violin and field recordings combine to spin narrative melody, rich intimacy and melancholic landscapes. Composed around an exploration of la charnière (from the French ‘hinge’), Promise & Illusion begins with the sound of footsteps and a door opening and closing repeatedly, unsure whether to let us into the mysterious interior beyond. We are reminded of the house of Penny Slinger in An Exorcism, an abandoned mansion of gothic hallways and inky corridors. “woe are we” twists violin and voice together into the sort of tension and high drama heard in “The Executioner” - Henning Christiansen’s soundtracks made for the films of his partner Ursula Reuter Christiansen in the 1970’s. Then things begin to soften, almost despite themselves. Distortion on ‘a unit has no unity’ can’t quite smother a rising tune on warped harp. The cello on ‘indigos’ - its voice pizzicato with a velvety sustain - brings comfort and clarity. Mordecai hums a line, feeling out the edges of a song in an intimate release of tension. We are across the threshold - into a romantic sort of nocturnal gloom that feels somewhat out of place in London’s experimental music scene.  Trained on viola da gamba as part of a renaissance youth group in the historic midland town of Stafford, Mordecai went on to study performance art in Brighton, later graduating in sound art in London. She performed with David Toop and Rie Nakajima as part of Allan Kaprow’s Yard at the Hepworth Gallery, as well as performing scores by Yoko Ono and George Brecht solo at White Cube Gallery as part of Christian Marclay’s Liquids exhibition. Later, various moves across the north of England found her working with Andrew Chalk and Tom James Scott (forming the trio CIRCÆA), Miles Whittaker (of Demdike Stare) and performing alongside free improvisers. A myriad of influences have crossed her path, her work slowly taking shape across music concrète, improvisation and performance art.  A more recent recording with Valerio Tricoli as ‘Mordecoli’ made during the development of Promise & Illusion found its final form as a cassette - a collage of sustained tones, ominous atmospheres and brief 4th wall dissolving vocal interaction. With both CIRCÆA and Mordecoli, Mordecai deals with landscapes - playing with the imaginary over the real and using improvisation as a useful way to dream.  On Promise & Illusion, Mordecai sharpens her focus and pivots toward the interior over the exterior - the landscape becoming a personal, psychological one - both comforting and strange.  --- Tracks 4, 5, 7 & 10 recorded and mixed by Adam Matschulat in December 2020. All others recorded and mixed by Ecka Mordecai. Mastered by Shaun Crook at Lockdown Studios, London. Artwork by Ecka Mordecai. Layout by Zofia Sobota. 

Promise & Illusion – Ecka Mordecai

Ecka Mordecai is a relatively new figure in the London experimental music scene. After a nomadic creative life in the North of England, forming relationships with the likes of Andrew Chalk, Tom Scott, Holly Jarvis and Kate Armitage, 'Critique & Prosper' is her first solo album and presents the most recent development of her solo practice. Melodic mantras, wandering improvised passages and refracted blues vocalisations find each other in her domestic world, revealing glimmers of sensual songcraft that opens outward. Critique + Prosper was developed and compiled within a collaborative project facilitated by artist-curator Katherine Ka Yi Liu and with artist Clarinda Tse. The text is a listening-response to the album as written by Clarinda Tse.  "Compass needle frantically spins near irregular electric fields of ghosts, and phones too. Receiving metallic frequencies of interconnected ghosts, stroked by scratchy fingers 1. astroturf melts into tufty faux fur. Strands of memory vibrate towards an open wound, lightly tapping on the soft box that withholds 2. mouth-a-boundary, finding space across fibres of a dried throat. The closure of lips contains a transcending hum, sealed an inhale but released an exhale into sweaty sticky-crisp air. Rubbery skins rub against each other in attempt to open 3. hot tarmax. We have to acknowledge skin as our biggest organ, shields against the losing of the individual, forming pockets of space in arrangement of skipping stones stirred into a dark glistening puddle. Before we notice, we are thrown off gravity and stuck onto some unknown surface, breathing with inflamed lungs. Outer fear unleash the voice of 4. critique + prosper to disjoin the cells of inner comfort. With wind brushing our eyes, we found a few hairs on the largest grassy rug, traces of inhabitation or passing. Consistency of domination. Air that passes through our head phones and ears, 5. did begun we hear or listen. Transmitting signals to the cell tower - Unarmed! Dismantle! 6. Show up or shut up in our library. Clashes of volatile shells, nails, the undead in the transparent vessel of bodily fluids." - Clarinda Tse https://clarindatse.com/http://www.katherinekayiliu.com/ -- Written, performed, recorded and produced by Ecka Mordecai   --     Mastered by Miles Whittaker Artwork design by Olver Barrett -- Track 4 (Critique + Propser) recorded by Guillaume Dujat'

Critique + Prosper – Ecka Mordecai

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