Isotropy started in 2017 as the solo project of vocalist and composer Majel Connery. Dylan Greene, drummer, and Chris Botta, guitarist & mix engineer, later joined the project, helping co-write, co-arrange, and produce Connery’s debut studio EP, Monomania, a singular fusion of classical sound with spacious electronic production.
Connery's "crystalline voice" (Chicago Reader) is the centripetal force on the album, unifying five boldly experimental tracks that range from Connery’s lush, melancholy duets with a TC-Helicon vocoder (“giving the impression of a full choir,” SF Classical Voice), to icy, beat-driven electronic anthems with touches of futuristic glitch. The final track on the album includes a cameo by Oracle Hysterical, Connery & Greene’s composer collective, featuring the ensemble (including bassoon, harmonium, and viola da gamba) during an improvisation recorded in a reverb-drenched church in Utica, NY.
Connery, Greene and Botta met performing with NYC-based Oracle, which self-describes as “half band, half book-club.” The group’s genre-promiscuous projects have been lauded as “evocative pop art” by Brooklyn Rail, “music unstuck in time” by the Wall Street Journal, and, by the New Yorker, what it would sound like if "Belle and Sebastian were to cut a record of Baroque-inspired folk songs."
MAJEL CONNERY BIO
With past lives as an opera singer, and an ethnomusicologist, vocalist & composer Majel Connery approaches songwriting with a devil-may-care embrace of influences, from the classical world to pop and 70s folk rock. Most recently Connery wrote and performed music for 5 episodes of the WNYC podcast Radiolab’s “Gonads” series, including a Radiolab Live performance at NYU Skirball Center. Former New York Times critic Steve Smith favorably compared her voice to Shara Nova/My Brightest Diamond and Joanna Newsom, and Peter Margasak, writing for Bandcamp Daily, describes her vocals as “expertly drawing upon a wide swath of approaches—British folk, madrigal, art rock.” Connery holds a composition degree from Princeton, but her writing is more closely influenced by her parents' cassette tapes circa 1982, which explains a compositional style that can sound simultaneously like Elvis Costello and Schubert (Wall Street Journal). In opera circles, Connery is best known as Artistic Director for avant-garde opera company, Opera Cabal, whose premiere of G.F. Haas’s ATTHIS at The Kitchen was described as “one of the most … searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times (New York Times).
Connery left a music professorship at UC Berkeley in 2015 to launch a career as a solo artist. Since then, as Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford (2017), she commissioned and performed Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s “Contriving the Chimes,” written for Connery and the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and staged by opera director Christopher Alden. In 2016, as Mellon Visiting Artist at Wellesley, she commissioned and performed Aeolus, a throat-singing rock opera by Rome- and Berlin Prize-winning composer Ken Ueno. When not working on the release of her solo album, Connery performs most frequently with as one half of Bay Area vocals/violin duo Hae Voces. She is bi-coastal, based in Brooklyn, NY, and Berkeley, CA, where she lives with her partner, neuroscientist Matt Walker.
“the singing ... by Connery ...is uninflected and vibrato free, alternately borrowing from the interpretive sophistication of jazz … and the deliberate naivete of folk-rock.”
- Wall Street Journal
“...singer Majel Connery expertly draw[s] upon a wide swath of approaches—British folk, madrigal, art rock.”
- Bandcamp Daily
“Connery has achieved the practically impossible: she makes contemporary opera feel both accessible and hip.” - KQED
“Connery’s smooth, sultry vocals flow in long, legato lines …”
- Second Inversion
“Majel Connery … has the temperament of a lion tamer”
- SF Classical Voice