Roomful of Teeth - Render

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Release Date: April 28, 2015

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The sophomore album from the GRAMMY Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Render has been praised as encompassing "bounteous diversity and ingenuity" (Tiny Mix Tapes) and as "a veritable embarrassment of vocal riches" (Textura). Building on the group's widely acclaimed first album, which won the 2014 GRAMMY for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and included Caroline Shaw's Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for 8 Voices, Render delights and surprises.

The album features compositions from Missy Mazzoli, William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Brad Wells, Caleb Burhans, and Eric Dudley, and has received a 2016 GRAMMY nomination for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.



The new collection of works is consistently, unstintingly gorgeous, inviting listeners into an unimaginably varied sound world, all while showcasing Roomful of Teeth's trademark virtuosity. Render could be considered a companion to the group's first record - it features the same singers, engineer, cover artist, and some of the same composers as the first, and it includes a remarkable multi-movement work spread across the album - but this second record is very much in a class of its own.

Render features The Ascendant, a three-part composition from Australian composer Wally Gunnand poet Maria Zajkowski. The stunning work unfolds in a patient, incessant groove, elegantly straddling the boundary between contemporary classical music and indie rock. Fans of the a cappella ensemble might do a double take upon first hearing the spare percussion part (performed by Jason Treuting of So Percussion) that accompanies the singers' hockets and thick harmonies.


Missy Mazzoli's elegiac Vesper Sparrow, which the composer calls an "eclectic amalgamation of imaginary birdsong and my own interpretation of Sardinian overtone singing," is the first track on the album and the perfect entrée into the sublime world of Render. While Gunn's piece explores new territory for the ensemble, the album also features works by Roomful of Teeth alums William Brittelle and Caleb Burhans. Brittelle's High Done No Why To dances between absurdity and sincerity, while Burhans' Beneath masterfully traverses the full breadth of the ensemble's vocal range (which spans over four octaves).


Ensemble member Eric Dudley's Suonare / To Sound floats in an aether that seems impossible, effortlessly blending English and Italian texts through cascading, seductive soprano melodies. Ensemble director Brad Wells turns in two compositions for the album: the layered and kinetic Otherwise and the quietly spellbinding title track, which music journal I Care If You Listen called "objectively and subjectively gorgeous" - a description that captures the indistinct form of beauty on display throughout the album.


Roomful of Teeth's debut album was nominated in three categories for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Best Engineer for Classical Album, Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, and Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Caroline Shaw's Partita for 8 Voices. The album subsequently received a GRAMMY for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble PerformanceThe New York Times called it "sensually stunning." Included on many Best of 2012 lists, topping the classical charts on iTunes and Amazon, even breaking into the top 10 on the Billboard charts, the album was deemed "fiercely beautiful and bravely, utterly exposed" (NPR); Pitchfork predicted "it will send an unnameable thrill down your spine"; and Textura declared, "The group re-writes the vocal rulebook."

In April 2013, ensemble member Caroline Shaw received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Partita, the four movements of which appear on Roomful of Teeth's debut album. An iTunes exclusive EP of Partita was subsequently released and ranked no. 1 on the iTunes Classical charts.




Press and News:

58th Annual GRAMMY Awards: Nomination for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

WNYC New Sounds: John Schaefer's Top 10 for 2015

The Daily Beast: 20 Amazing Under-the-Radar Albums of 2015 - #15 - "another masterwork of new millennium vocal polyphony"

Second Inversion: Top 5 Album Reviews of 2015

Der Bänkelsänger: "outstanding in concept, excellent in execution"

Rhapsody: Best of 2015: Top 10 Classical Discoveries, Missy Mazzoli's "Vesper Sparrow" "mind-bendingly beautiful"

Classical Dark Arts: 10 Best of 2015

The Nation: 10 Best Albums of 2015 - Honorable Mention

NPR Music: Favorite Songs of 2015 (Classical) - "Brad Wells, Render" - "on this shimmering composition, they catapult into the transcendent."

auftuoren.de: "the best incarnation of the community spirit in the young classical music scene"

Colorado Public Radio: Favorite Classical Releases of 2015

Ted Gioia: 100 Best Albums of 2015 - #15

Textura: Top 20 Albums of 2015 - #2

I Care If You Listen: 2015 New Music Holiday Gift Guide

KCMetropolis's 14-15 Editor's Picks: #1 - "a sound for the twenty-first century a sound for the twenty-first century and what an exciting possibility that is"

New Noise Magazine: "New Amsterdam has quickly become the link between classical music and indie-rock, and here the A cappella angle adds an even more desirable aspect to their catalog."

OndaRock: "a cauldron of choirs from distant epochs merged under a single arch reverberating."

The Thorough Fare: "...Roomful of Teeth is something remarkably special. They push the abilities and the repertoire of the human voice with their tireless work, and in only six years they’ve pioneered this brave new world of vocal writing."

Percorsi Musicali: "Here there are eight singers who are worth at least double for each one."

Soundfly: "full of good stuff...creating and performing some of the most daring new works"

Rhapsody: Top 10 Classical Albums, May 2015

Exclaim!: "packed with inspired moments...as close to heaven as the living will ever know."

The Lawrentian: "With their singular collage of vocal timbres and ensemble groove this time around, Roomful of Teeth lives up to expectations."

Tiny Mix Tapes: "bounteous diversity and ingenuity"

Textura: "Render presents a veritable embarrassment of vocal riches that more than lives up to the promise of the group's stellar debut."

The Nation: "Roomful of Teeth is making some of the most rigorously venturesome and thrillingly inventive music being made by any ensemble, vocal or instrumental, today."

The Bandcamp Blog: "With all of the different techniques and styles of singing that we’re encountering...ideas seem to spring up unavoidably and point in the direction of a new compositional path.”

That Music Mag: "The music ranges from mildly annoying to frankly sublime; from guttural to celestial, using the full range of the human voice from high, to low, to grunting and panting."

Second Inversion: "The ensemble’s voices ebb and flow in soft waves, gracefully gliding in and out of near-silence to create a serene and mystical sound world."

NPR's Deceptive Cadence: Interview with Brad Wells and Caroline Shaw -  Roomful Of Teeth: A Vocal Group That's 'A Band, Not A Choir'

Stagedive Malta: The Ascending: The Beginning And (Wally Gunn) - "borderline eccentric and genius."

Classicalite: Video Premiere of "High Done No Why To" - "effervescent...quite the visual achievement..."

Tiny Mix Tapes: Premiere of The Ascendant: The Beginning And - "the most optimistic voyage that the human voice could possibly offer."