English experimental folk-rock (or self-proclaimed "craft pop") band Moulettes formed in Glastonbury, Somerset in 2002, out of a collective of like-minded musicians who had known one another and played together since university. Led by the charismatic Hannah Miller and originally featuring bassist Ted Dwane, who went on to join Mumford & Sons, their lineup was composed of phenomenally talented multi-instrumentalists who swapped instruments mid-set and regularly adopted experimental techniques such as electrifying and distorting traditionally acoustic instruments. Their unique and unclassifiable blend of old English folk, psychedelia, gypsy jazz, indie rock, classical, music hall, and avant-garde elements with close-harmony vocals was heavily influenced by the folk/prog sound of '70s greats like Pentangle and Gentle Giant, but also bore comparison with contemporary acts like Bellowhead and the Unthanks.
Moving quickly to London and eventually to Brighton, the lineup, once stabilized, was based around a core quartet of Miller (guitar, cello, vocals), Ruth Skipper (autoharp, bassoon), Oliver Austin (drums, guitar), and Jim Mortimore (bass, synth, guitar), but varied depending on the occasion and could sometimes expand into a chamber orchestra of up to 15 players. Their debut album Moulettes was released in 2010 on Balling the Jack, followed two years later by The Bear's Revenge. Violinist Georgina Leach was an integral member of the band on both these albums. 2014's Constellations came out via Navigator Records (home of Bellowhead), affording the band a bigger studio budget. It was their most fully realized album up to that point and featured a plethora of guest musicians. 2016's Preternatural, which saw them joined by guitarist Raevennan Husbandes, came out on their own C.R.A.F.T. Pop label and was a concept piece based around remarkable phenomena of the animal kingdom. The band regularly played at high-profile festivals, supported big-name artists such as Mumford & Sons and Arthur Brown, and received numerous "best-of the year" awards. ~ John D. Buchanan
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