Tag: Kaleida (Page 1 of 2)

KALEIDA Live at Hackney Oslo

Coinciding with the release of their third album ‘In Arms’, KALEIDA gave a superb performance at Hackney Oslo in London ahead of a European and North American tour.

Fans attended from Scotland, Norway and Eastern European and it was vindication for KALEIDA of their artistic perseverance having considered disbanding under the pressures of parenting and the shifting patterns of both Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder as they made their long distance creative partnership work again as KALEIDA.

To that end, this run of live dates features only Wood augmented by drummer Verona Rose, with Goulder on maternity leave having only recently given birth to a new son. Opening with the glorious ‘Stranger’, this highlight from ‘In Arms’ sprung a surprise with its electro dance rhythms. In live form, the drums were not overbearing or ill-fitting as with some electronic based acts, complimenting as percussive colours with power when required.

But what was striking was Christina Wood’s great impassioned vocals and willingness to move around the stage in elegant mime gestures, as if compensating for the absence of her creative partner. However Goulder was there in spirit through her productions on the backing tracks and observing from afar in support of her band mate.

KALEIDA’s new album is their most varied yet as the house-inflected ‘Hollow’ and folky ‘Don´t Turn Me Out’ showcased, although it must be pointed out though that many of the audience were hearing this new material for the first time at this show and credit must be paid to them for embracing these songs so enthusiastically. ‘Seagull Nun’ was the first song that Wood and Cicely Goulder wrote as KALEIDA back before 2015’s debut ‘Think’ EP was released and its gothic drama mesmerised under a sea of haunting vocals and mantric rumbles.

Despite the haunting disposition of the majority of KALEIDA’s material, Christina Wood’s sense of enjoyment and openness to interact saw her announce to the audience that she would like a shot of tequila with several obliging a song or two later.

Christina Wood displayed KALEIDA’s Hollywood pedigree first with a stark heartfelt rendition of ‘99 Luftballons’ from the 2017 Charlize Theron spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’ which put the ant-war lyrics centre stage in an all-too relevant world situation. Towards the show’s climax came ‘Think’ from the 2014 Keanu Reeves action thriller ‘John Wick’ which grabbed the biggest cheers but also sounded as fresh as it did a decade ago and even prompted a chorus singalong.

Another that had a chorus singalong was an “android soul” cover of Al Green’s ‘Take Me To The River’ from the ‘Think’ EP while Wood felt so flattered by all the positive vibes from all those present that she jumped off the stage and danced with several members of the audience.

With the deep overtones of ‘Tropea’ forming the encore, it was the culmination of which was possibly the friendliest gig ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has ever been to in 44 years of gig going. The audience were all looking out for each other, letting people return to their spots after comfort breaks etc and helping take each other take photos when Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder were obliging with a friendly aftershow meet-and-greet at the merch stall.

“This project is truly a labor of love. But in the end making music means more to us, and so we got back to it. We’ll never stop” said KALEIDA to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK in their recent interview and every single person in Hackney Oslo was certainly very happy about that.

With thanks to Alix Wenmouth at Wasted Youth Music

‘In Arms’ is released by Embassy One in blue vinyl LP, black vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via https://lnk.to/KaleidaInArms

KALEIDA 2024 live dates include:

Berlin LARK (28 March), Hamburg Hääkken (29 March), Warsaw Chmury (30 March), Seattle High Dive (11 April), Los Angeles The Echo (12 April), San Francisco Brick & Mortar Music Hall (13 April), Brooklyn Elsewhere (20 April), Montreal Bar Le Ritz PDB (21 April), Lörrach Stimmen Festival (12 July), Tallinn Vonge Festival (13 July)







Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
28 March 2024


A few years ago, it looked as though KALEIDA would disband due to the pressures of parenting and the shifting patterns of life.

But Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder have again managed to make their long distance creative partnership work again and their reward is their third album ‘In Arms’. As the title suggests, it has been an impassioned battle capturing 3 years of artistic perseverance. “This project is truly a labor of love. But in the end making music means more to us, and so we got back to it. We’ll never stop” said Christina Wood to ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK

With a Hollywood pedigree that saw their first single ‘Think’ included in the soundtrack of the 2014 Keanu Reeves action thriller ‘John Wick’ and their stark cover ‘99 Luftballons’ appearing in the 2017 Charlize Theron spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’, album opener ‘Hollow’ is possibly their most immediate number since ‘Think’; throwing subtle house piano shapes, there is that divine haunting quality as can be expected from KALEIDA.

‘Generation’ exudes gothic soul with a touch of trip-hop and jazz inflections while with a sombre percussive drive, ‘Seagull Nun’ is eerily mesmerising with its recurring glitch adding an unexpected edge.

Collaborating with German producer Robot Koch, ‘Choices’ comes over like a modern folk song where a doomed romance is the theme and is a reminder that everyone has choices. Using synthetic and acoustic sounding basslines, ‘Hansaplast’ naturally possesses a looming Cold War tension with beautiful ivories tinkling in a foggy backdrop that recalls Mauerstadt Berlin.

The glorious ‘Stranger’ springs a surprise with 808 electro dance rhythms with a superb collage of staccato voice samples, punchy bass and great vocals, in particular a mantric chant that comes over almost prayer-like.

Elsewhere, the uplifting ‘Kilda’ could be CLANNAD if they had embraced hip-hop beats while the emotive ‘Endless Youth’ goes all deep and moody. A subtle backbone and heavy drone shapes ‘Hey Little Precious’ as “a dream we hold” before ending in an understated neo-acoustic manner with male harmonies on ‘Don´t Turn Me Out’ where KALEIDA collaborate with Oklahoma indie rock band OTHER LIVES.

A product of resilience, KALEIDA have got through their existential crisis and reinforced their sense of purpose. Producing their most varied and best body of work yet, ‘In Arms’ explores directions that could be considered opposites but at its core, the music remains angst-ridden yet hopeful. A real grower of a record, the emotive rush contained within gets increasingly satisfying on each listen. As Cicely Goulder says “It’s a constant dialogue of music and emotion.”

‘In Arms’ is released by Embassy One on 22 March 2024 in blue vinyl LP, black vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via https://lnk.to/KaleidaInArms

KALEIDA 2024 live dates include:

London Oslo (22 March), Prague Cross Club (23 March), Brno Kabinet Múz (24 March), Cologne Artheater (27 March), Berlin LARK (28 March), Hamburg Hääkken (29 March), Warsaw Chmury (30 March), Seattle High Dive (11 April), Los Angeles The Echo (12 April), San Francisco Brick & Mortar Music Hall (13 April), Brooklyn Elsewhere (20 April), Montreal Bar Le Ritz PDB (21 April)






Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Benjamin Hampson
18 March 2024

A Short Conversation with KALEIDA

Vocalist Christina Wood and keyboardist / producer Cicely Goulder are the brooding electronic duo who go by the name of KALEIDA.

The title song of their first EP ‘Think’ was included in the soundtrack of the 2014 Keanu Reeves action thriller ‘John Wick’ while in 2015, there were dates opening for Róisín Murphy. The pair also notable became for their stark minimal covers of songs such as ‘Take Me To The River’, ‘A Forest’, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘99 Luftballons’ which subsequently appeared in the 2017 Charlize Theron spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’.

After two EPs and two albums ‘Tear The Roots’ and ‘Odyssey’, KALEIDA are back with their third album ‘In Arms’; the record captures 3 years of perseverance that has seen the duo nurture a long distance creative partnership across an ocean that has withstood the pressures of parenting and the shifting patterns of life.

With the release of a new single ‘Stranger’ which showcases a new direction for KALEIDA in its use of 808 beats alongside their usual haunting demeanor and a prayer-like chorus, Christina Wood and Cicely Goulder took turns to answer questions from ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about the making of ‘In Arms’ and their future course.

After the 2021 album ‘Odyssey’ which was released into the Covid world, KALEIDA experienced something of an existential crisis, what happened and how did you get through it?

Christina: It just felt hard to keep going at that point. We’d put out an album during Covid and we hadn’t toured it, and we were asking ourselves whether our music was any good, whether we had enough of a following to justify the continued uphill battle. This project is truly a labor of love. But in the end making music means more to us, and so we got back to it. We’ll never stop.

While KALEIDA could not ever be accused of being overly cheerful, ‘In Arms’ does feel like fresh air has come out of the storm?

Christina: It feels more confident and more mature… it’s hard for us to say though, we don’t have much perspective on it, or space from it…

Did you do anything different for the making of ‘In Arms’ that was different to your previous albums to keep the remote collaboration process as fresh and united as possible?

Christina: We worked with Johan Hugo on a few tracks, and that was a great way to get us together in another location (Margate), bring some fresh ideas in and be really productive in short bursts. We also worked with some incredible live musicians, including two drummers, which really added a lot of energy.

How does your creative dynamic work in your virtual studio world?

Christina: We often email fragments of ideas back and forth – and then work on them, send them back, and so on, and they gradually take shape. But to get the core structure down on something we write together, we often need to be in the same room. Then after that a lot of the production and vocals we can do separately, and Cicely will tie it all together.

‘Hollow’ has this immediacy that perhaps hasn’t been heard from you since ‘Think’? Any thoughts?

Christina: It started as a simple piano idea… and we intended to keep it simple and initially make what we were calling a nostalgic sounding ‘house’ track out of it. It went through many metamorphoses production-wise but it must have retained some of that immediacy.

Going back to your days as a fledgling act, you’ve found a place for ‘Seagull’ which was the first song you made together? What made ‘In Arms’ the right place for it on after 10 years?

Christina: We were relistening to it during the period we were writing material for this album and just thought it had some kind of dark power to it. We must be more confident now so we decided it should make the cut.

How have the themes and aesthetics of your songs changed over the years in your minds?

Christina: It feels like one long story… they are all connected, maybe just getting clearer, bigger, more colorful. We’re always writing about whatever we’re going through, thinking about, reading about, feeling. The events change as we get older but the humanity is the same. The production evolves and hopefully the songwriting as well, but the themes all seem to be related.

You’ve said that Joan of Arc has been a pivotal figure in the making of ‘In Arms’?

Christina: It must have been towards the end of the process that we connected with some images of Joan of Arc, before we had a name for the album. She was a woman driven by a higher purpose, and she bravely kept on with her mission when many would have questioned the value in doing so. I guess sticking with music just feels that way a lot for us.

You have used an interesting array of bass textures on ‘In Arms’, how were these constructed and implemented into the overall sound?

Cicely: We worked with an incredible Jazz bassist called Tom Mason who brought a lot of the lines to life. Often I will demo stuff out on MIDI but there is nothing like a talented player to elevate and modulate the basic tune. I love a good bass line, particularly as it implies so much without having to rely on chords.

How involved do you get into constructing your own sound design as opposed to the modern way which appears to rely on sample packs? What are your preferred instruments?

Cicely: I don’t think there is anything wrong with sample packs as sometimes the best ideas come quickly so it’s great not to kill the vibe by tinkering around trying to find the ‘perfect’ sound. Having said that, I do end up re-doing a lot of the sounds, particularly basslines, on an analog synth or with a live player. In the studio we have a Moog Voyager, Juno 60, D50 and a few other synths but we might record others if we’re working in hired studios.

The new single ‘Stranger’ springs a surprise with its New York electro drum machine rhythms, how did this come to about?

Cicely: I think I was working on the middle 8 of a completely different track and made that organ chord loop – it sounded so nostalgic that I threw some 808s together and it just seemed to match well. I wanted to make the song go on some completely different tangent in that section but when I played it to Christina she thought we should make it into a new track. She went away that night and demo’d some vocals and the next day it was basically done!

Was ‘Hansaplast’ inspired by Berlin as it has this Cold War tension about it? Does that resonate with all that is going on in the world for you?

Christina: It was just a pretty personal track to be honest, not inspired by Berlin. But yes, we find it hard not to be deeply affected by the horrors happening in Ukraine and the Middle East.

What is ‘Endless Youth’ about?

Christina: That nostalgia we all feel for our youth, summer loves, that time when you felt more connected to your body compared to when you have young kids and other focuses and responsibilities!!

The folky side of KALEIDA is still very present but is more prominent on ‘Kilda’ despite its hip-hop beats while ‘Don´t Turn Me Out’ has this acoustic feel with deeper harmonies, is this aesthetic something you were more eager to push on this album?

Christina: We didn’t think about that… we just made the music that was in us. The folky roots will always be there – must be my Kentucky heritage or past Celtic lives…

Which are your favourite songs on the new album?

Christina: My favorites are ‘Generation’, because I love the groove, ‘Kilda’ also because I love the drums… combined with the bagpipes, and ‘Don’t Turn Me Out’ for its simplicity.

You are touring ‘In Arms’ in March 2024, how are preparations going and is there a new found zest for performing again after everything that’s happened?

Christina: Yes! And new-found nerves! We are working with a drummer this time, which adds a lot of energy and we are very excited to perform with her. It’s going to be amazing to do shows again.

What does the future hold for KALEIDA?

Christina: Releasing the album, shows, connecting with fans as much as possible, and then we’ll see! We’re trying not to put too much expectation on the release, and just take it as it goes. But we do hope that people connect with it.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to KALEIDA

Special thanks to Alix Wenmouth at Wasted Youth Music

The singles ‘Stranger’, ‘Seagull Nun’ and ‘Hollow’ are all available through Embassy One on the usual online platforms

‘In Arms’ is released on 22 March 2024 in blue vinyl LP, black vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via https://lnk.to/KaleidaInArms

KALEIDA 2024 live dates include:

London Oslo (22 March), Prague Cross Club (23 March), Brno Kabinet Múz (24 March), Cologne Artheater (27 March), Berlin LARK (28 March), Hamburg Hääkken (29 March), Warsaw Chmury (30 March)







Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Benjamin Hampson
16 January 2024

KALEIDA Interview

Having come to wider attention with their song ‘Think’ appearing on the soundtrack of the 2014 Keanu Reeves action thriller ‘John Wick’, moody electronic duo KALEIDA opened their account with a six track EP of the same name.

Opening for Róisín Murphy on selected tour dates in 2015, vocalist Christina Wood and keyboardist Cicely Goulder followed-up with another EP ‘Detune’ in 2016.

The thoughtful brooding music of KALEIDA finally debuted in a long playing format with the acclaimed ‘Tear The Roots’ in 2017. Dark and introspective, as well as including ‘Think’, the album featured a cover of ’99 Luftballons’ which appeared in the Charlize Theron Cold War era spy drama ‘Atomic Blonde’.

In 2020, the duo returned from hiatus with three singles ‘Other Side’, ‘Long Noon’ and ‘Feed Us Some’. With their second album ‘Odyssey’ having been released in the summer, KALEIDA very kindly took time out to speak about their career to date.

In many ways, KALEIDA are a perfect example of a modern electronic music act in that despite being continents apart, you are able to create and compose. How did you come together to make music?

A friend connected us over email, back when Christina was doing environmental work in Indonesia and looking for a music partner, and Cicely was studying film composition in London.

What were your common musical interests, but also where did you differ to help give KALEIDA such a haunting sound?

We both like choral music, and we’re both really into melody, which perhaps sets us apart from a lot of modern pop acts, which seem to be less into old-fashioned beautiful melodies and more into the talk-singing that is trendy right now. We both love electronic sounds too, the palette available – the harshness and darkness you can get from electronics. Cicely is really into rhythm generally, soul music, R&B and hip-hop, and I’m into folk. So it’s a strange combination!

How would you describe your creative dynamic on the ‘Odyssey’ album and how it has changed from when you released your first EP ‘Think’ in 2015?

We both felt sort of liberated to be less perfectionistic – because of the constraints of being together for short periods to record, having children and less time generally, and perhaps because we have reached a place of more confidence.

‘Think’ itself was chosen to be on the soundtrack of ‘John Wick’ which was an amazing break to get as a new act, when you produced it, was it obvious to you that it was something special?

To be honest, not really! It was one of the first tracks we did together. When Cicely had over the demo that she had finished producing, we were driving around in a taxi and listening on headphones, and it did occur to us that it had something special to it. But we had no idea that people would connect with it so much.

Did you have any reservations about how ‘Think’ was used in John Wick, because the movie and its sequels have a high body count? Did you ever find out if Keanu Reeves ever liked the song?

Yes, we’re really not into the violence and it’s definitely not our type of film, but we’re grateful for the exposure it has given us. We don’t know what Keanu thinks of the song but would love to, especially as he’s got his own band 🙂

You have become known for your unique covers and your stark reinterpretation of ‘99 Luftballons’ appeared in ‘Atomic Blonde’, another movie with a high body count, what inspired your arrangement as it is very different from Nena’s original?

The directors asked us to make an 80s cover for a film shot in Berlin around the fall of the wall and we thought of ‘99 Luftballons’ because it’s about the Cold War and in German. The lyrics are actually really beautiful and we wanted to bring out the sadness and truth in them, which you don’t get from the Nena version. We guess the way we covered it is also just typically KALEIDA!

‘Aliaa’ from the ‘Think’ EP appeared in the series ‘Wu Assassins’ on Netflix recently, it’s quite interesting that your music can be quite understated, minimalist and forlorn, yet is used in these action movies, what do you think is its appeal to film producers?

The contrast perhaps? The mysterious feminine quality to it?

Other songs you have covered include ‘A Forest’ and Take Me To The River’, what you do look for in a song when you decide to do a cover and are there any songs you would like try in the future?

‘A Forest’ was another one we got asked to do for a film, which didn’t end up being used, and we went rogue with it and did our own totally different version. ‘Take Me To The River’ we just loved and we ended up totally re-writing the chorus because we thought the original didn’t go anywhere musically.

In general, we try not to do too many covers as we want to focus on our original work, but there is a definitely a freedom in doing covers when you already have the framework of the song, which is fun to work with.

How do you look back on your first album ‘Tear The Roots’? ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK loved ‘All The Pretty Pieces’ which was eerily hypnotic.

We’re really proud of that album as it was a big achievement for us – we made it all ourselves and it was our first LP. It was definitely darker than ‘Odyssey’ and represents a different time in our lives.

Had you conceived ‘Odyssey’ to be more of a natural progression of ‘Tear The Roots’ rather than a radical departure?’

Yes, we were just making the music that felt right to us with ‘Odyssey’.

The first ‘Odyssey’ single ‘Other Side’ captured the tension and loneliness of lockdown, both musically and visually, but what had it been originally inspired by?

It was about yearning for the beyond, about spiritual hope.

The album’s closing song ‘No Computer’ is quite unusual in that it’s like a kind of foreboding folk techno, how did that one come about?

That one started with one line and a simple beat, and it developed over several years. Cicely turned it into a synth jungle!

‘Long Noon’ has a real cinematic drama about it, was it inspired by the Patricia Chown play?

Hmm, we have never heard of that play and will look it up now! It wasn’t inspired by anything specific – just emotional impatience which seems to be something we suffer from…

What are your own particular favourite moments from ‘Odyssey’?

The journey of the title track, the quiet moment of ‘The News’, the maze of ‘No Computer’…

With everything going on, are you missing live work at the moment? Is it your natural forte or are you now by necessity, more of a studio duo?

Yes, we’re missing it a lot. It’s the chance to connect and for the music to come alive. It will be really special to get out there and perform again. It’s pretty much our favourite thing to do on earth – there’s a transcendent quality to the ritual union of live music that gives us a lot of meaning, helps us make sense of everything.

So what’s next for KALEIDA?

We’ve got some acoustic versions of our tracks in store and are planning a series of shows for next Summer and Autumn. Moscow is def on the list X

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to KALEIDA

‘Odyssey’ is released by Lex Records, available now as a CD, dove grey vinyl LP and download direct from https://kaleida.bandcamp.com/






Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
12th October 2020


UK/US-based electro pop duo KALEIDA comprising of vocalist Christina Wood and producer Cicely Goulder are best known for their song ‘Think’ which was featured in the major motion picture ‘John Wick’.

The other starting point for listeners new to the act would be to seek out their radical rework of NENA’s ‘99 Luftballons’ which takes the original bombastic synth rock track into a far more introspective direction, appearing on the soundtrack to the Cold War spy movie ‘Atomic Blonde’. ‘Odyssey’ is the second album by the duo and in places draws comparisons with the vocal stylings of FLORENCE & THE MACHINE and KOSHEEN’s Sian Evans.

The eponymously titled album opener provides a slow burning beginning with subtle piano textures and driving handclaps and bass. The single ‘Other Side’ follows next and is another slow builder with interjected Simmons drums and multi-layered vocals from Wood.

In the words of the band “This was one of those tracks that just had the feeling right from the start and expressed a kind of creative hope we were both feeling.” Slivers of vocal samples are intricately meshed with subtle synth lines, echoed percussion and a downtempo middle section which euphorically builds back into the chorus hook at the end.

What neatly differentiates KALEIDA from most of their electropop contemporaries is their refusal to rely upon ‘stock’ electronic sounds in their productions. Instead, keyboardist Goulder goes for a far more textured, reverb-driven approach and this certainly gives the band a more contemporary forward-looking edge with their production aesthetic. ‘The News’ is the most stripped back track on ‘Odyssey’; with the exception of some John Carpenter-style synth brass, the instrumentation is a mixture of pianos and strings and light reverbed drums.

‘Feed Us Some’ rhythmically takes its cues from Latin music with an opening syncopated piano bass riff and samples which cleverly take the listener on a virtual walk down a street with car horn sounds punctuating Wood’s vocals. The early half of the track is stripped back with an almost KRAFTWERK minimalism, there is no overproduction here and half-way through the introduction of a more electronic bass sound and reversed samples evoke the atmosphere of early UK dubstep producer BURIAL. The South American vibe is continued to the track’s conclusion with more piano layers joining the production.

Just when it feels like ‘Odyssey’ would become overtly languid and downtempo, ‘Long Noon’ provides a welcome change of pace, upping the tempo with some 4/4 techno-styled drum machine programming and stabbing string synths. Wood’s “how long until your shadow meets the noon?” hook is arguably the strongest chorus vocal on the album and certainly helps to pull the album away from becoming too ambient and ‘backgroundy’ sounding.

After the slow-moving ‘Josephine’ and ‘Fake’, album closer ‘No Computer’ (possibly a dig at acts that get a little too sidetracked with their Digital Audio Workstations?) again re-shifts the album up a gear and introduces a Balearic electronic techno feel with Latin percussion. Featured sounds flit in and out and are swamped in large reverbs with the whole production beautifully mixed over the epic six minute length of its duration.

Throughout ‘Odyssey’, Christina Wood’s vocals are outstanding (not something that can be said of many current UK synth/electronic acts!), but are only hampered by how similar she sounds to other singers – the comparisons with Florence Welch and also in places Beth Gibbons from PORTISHEAD are hard to avoid making.

With electronic music becoming easier and easier to make with the proliferation of software and hardware available, what KALEIDA are doing here is admirable as they are trying hard not to follow the pack. They have a definite sound, which the listener will either embrace wholeheartedly or move along as on an initial listen, it can be hard to differentiate between some of the tracks…

But those that do get sucked into their world will find much to love and the release of ‘Odyssey’ should see Wood and Goulder hopefully exposed to a much wider and more diverse audience.

‘Odyssey’ is released by Lex Records, available as a CD, grey vinyl LP and download direct from https://kaleida.bandcamp.com/






Text by Paul Boddy
30th August 2020

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