Virginia Wing is the musical collaboration of Alice Merida Richards and Sam Pillay, formed in 2012 and currently based in Manchester. Acutely aware of the misguided perceptions when operating within the paradigm of a male-female electronic duo, their music is a sprawling amalgamation of experimental pop songs with texture, depth and nuance; that’s daring, progressive and forever bold.
In 2017 Virginia Wing released collaborative album ‘Tomorrow’s Gift’ with Xam Duo with saxophonist Christopher Duffin that regularly plays live with the duo and can be heard on the new album. They also covered lost Suzanne Menzel track “I Feel It Starts Again” with Jane Weaver on Fire Records’ curated EP ‘Lost Library’ and their Record Store Day EP ‘Rhonda’ (2016) saw them collaborate with Koichi Yamanoha (Grimm Grimm).
In 2018 they released the politically charged album ‘Ecstatic Arrow’ that reminds us “of the astonishing things you can do with pop music” (The Quietus). ‘Ecstatic Arrow’ borrows from the heterogeneous terrain of The Flying Lizard’s ‘Fourth Wall’, the exuberant technology assisted pop of Yellow Magic Orchestra and the playful sophistication of Lizzy Mercier Descloux, arriving at the evergreen intersection of pop music and conceptual art. The voice of Alice Merida Richards is more compelling and expressive than ever. The glacial deadpan of previous records has given way to a more candid, self-possessed delivery, showing an appreciation for the humour and tragedy innate in the downtown Arcadia of Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley or even Lynn Goldsmith’s Will Powers.
Virginia Wing returned in 2019 with new limited-edition cassette; ‘Pale Burnt Lake’ released 19th June ahead of their upcoming US summer tour. ‘Pale Burnt Lake’ is a collection of live interludes, abstract sketches, free form spoken word and improvised soundtrack. Using themes and motifs formed around making ‘Ecstatic Arrow’, the EP is in equal parts soothing and disorientating, intimate and abstract, combining somnambulant synths with Chris Duffin’s harmonised saxophone to create a fully immersive sound bed on which Alice Merida Richards’ vocals recline.
Headlining tours across the UK and Europe, the group have supported artists as disparate as Metronomy or Jenny Hval and recently toured for the second time with Hookworms (Alice also duets with MJ on ‘Each Time We Pass’ on LP ‘Microshift’). With festival appearances including Glastonbury, Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and Rewire, they were recently selected for the 6Music Recommends stage at The Great Escape.
“Virginia Wing make music that triangulates leftfield jazz, ashram-dwelling new age, and warm synth-pop into something that feels calm and centred” PITCHFORK