Brian Banks’ excellent review (see below) of Simfonica’s “Song of the Volcanoes” is now also in the It’s Psychedelic Baby magazine.
And don’t forget, the download’s now FREE!
Many thanks to Klemen Breznikar.
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Monday, 5 December 2016
Friday, 2 December 2016
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Friday, 25 November 2016
A truly excellent review from the USA of Simfonica’s “Songof the Volcanoes” on the Igloo Magazine site.
Many thanks indeed to Brian Banks.
Simfonica :: Song of the Volcanoes (Cathedral Transmissions)Released on a Friday sold out by Monday: not bad for a musician performing for a change under his own name rather than a forty-year pseudonym! The genre is very different, but there are elements of the earlier time in that it is a trip in wide scope due to style and textures.
Trevor Midgley started out in sixties bands, one of which demoed for the BBC, then took up a solo singer-songwriter career when impressed by another 12-string guitar story-teller, the legendary bluesman Lead Belly. As one of the first signings to the late DJ John Peel’s Dandelion label, two acclaimed albums followed under the still-current stage-name Beau when the sixties morphed into the seventies. A single (“1917 Revolution”) also charted top ten in Lebanon, said to be the influence for the band America’s world-hit about a nameless horse. The second LP featured the experimental duo Tractor, including one of the most acid guitar solos of the whole genre—on a folk album!
This singer-songwriter has always been interested in different musical expressions. With one of the period’s cult rock experimentalists, Tractor’s Steve Clayton, he co-wrote Warhol—The Musical. He has appeared on various Fruits de Mer vinyl issues such as 13th Dream of Sardonicus in recent years, and his folk-song work on numerous Cherry Red releases (CD and download), compilations and videos since the turn of this century. Always thoughtfully evocative and worth visiting, a vivid sense of history in place and time are constants throughout, a continuing vision of how the past impacts on the present and influences future paths.
Simfonica: Song of the Volcanoes has just been issued by leading electronica label Cathedral Transmissions of Durham (England) founded in 2009, a website that unusually has some beautiful photographs too. The album also goes against the grain of some today: every note is composed and played by Midgley in a studio, there is no sampling from any tool or source. It is a musician’s exploration of another music form. Among the four tracks is “Mother Russia,” which had some acclaim in that country, a haunting piece in its own right though could underlay his long-ago single “1917 Revolution” without assonance (bar the key presumably). A video has appeared from a little while back as well. There is subtle use of percussion, as on “Mayon,” that’s absent from his later singer-songwriting albums, augmenting the (coincidentally vinyl-length?) atmosphere.
There is no scruff of the neck or badgering here, it is a falling-into experience, mind-expanding, languid but smoldering for an overall intoxicating experience. All the themes highlight this, the three remaining tracks too: “Hekla” is an active volcano in Iceland, the spacey “Mayon” is a counterpart location in the Philippines, while “Cumulo Nimbus” refers to storm clouds heralding electrical activity in the stratosphere. There are spine-tingling choral effects here, within a sound that distantly reminds of the pioneer duo Tonto’s Expanding Head Band (oddly missed recently in Record Collector’s genre survey).
Tonto were in the 70s vanguard of electronic music that had seriously started with the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop even before the 60s and its nadir with the theme tune to the puerile Dr. Who. Then there were such acolytes as Silver Apples and White Noise, Hawkwind too, before new directions with Kraut Rock and the likes of Faust and Tangerine Dream, the off-shoots of Psychic T.V. and more recent Japanese exponents like Merzbow as well as parallels such as drone and industrial. Brian Eno turned his back on “boring pop” to experiment with Robert Fripp (No Pussyfooting) in 1973, the same year as his solo Here Come the Warm Jets and early ambient albums like Music for Airports five years later with Robert Wyatt of Soft Machine fame. Eno later created the Microsoft start-up sound. In the earliest days the form was a part of studio life where musicians worked and often wrote, not least because of time constraints.
Electronic music is a broad parasol of course, gaining popularity in the 80s and early 90s which alas may have degenerated after, in some cases, as an alternative to musicianship in favor of technology for its own sake. Exceptions can be cited, such as Aphex Twin and The Orb, for everybody has a different take on this, needless to say, and it can never be denied as valid experimentation. Sometimes it’s deemed background music, but this album makes that impossible because takes the listener deeper into their selves, like something experienced during sleep or shaking the doors of memory. It is never comatose however.
Trevor Midgley also likes grandiose, or under-reaching, themes, layered so that the listener is freer to interpret and feel according to their own subjectivity. Perhaps because not a lifelong career, it is fresh as if the more subliminal seam of his life of story-telling in music and words, both important interconnected elements of Beau’s creativity. There should be no worries about the ‘difficult second album’ syndrome in what comes across as the intensity and pride of art akin to a debut here, a genre debut full of ideas and exuberance like a first adrenaline rush.
One punctuation-eschewing review of “Mother Russia” called it “a wonderful celestial ethereal sweetly harvesting monastic mosaic and ghost toned euphoric whispers atop a genteel motorik pulse, in short best described as Kathedral Kosmiche.” Fair enough. One can easily imagine it heard there, in a crypt or temple or other environment of reverence and respect, as is a studio for musicians. Mood and mode work together as osmosis here.
The album is a moving (pun-intended) sound-scape, an audiophonic map where the chart has no alphabet. As an aural tapestry it builds richly in the mind like metaphors and idioms that suggest memories we may or may not have experienced, as different to each of us as our own nostalgia, personal yet at the same time general. This isn’t like that mechanical reflex during a concert of taking a cell-phone snapshot instead of surrendering to the flow of the actual experience in real time—no need for a simultaneous trawl of video sites because this is so vibrantly alive there is no distraction factor. Song of the Volcanoes is a stimulating impetus to either reach over for the play button again or visit Pompeii.
Sunday, 20 November 2016
I think this is a really good review of Simfonica’s “Song ofthe Volcanoes” from the Italian ‘Music Won’t Save You’ site. Sadly however, my Italian’s a bit rusty(!).
I have pressed Google Translate into action, but if any of my Italian friends can help with something a bit more colloquial and a bit less stilted, I’d love to hear from you!
But many thanks to ‘Music Won’t Save You’…
SIMFONICA – Song Of The Volcanoes
(Cathedral Transmission, 2016)
Quattro sinfonie elettroniche imponenti come vulcani e dal flusso denso come quello della lava: si tratta dell’ultima avventura di un artista dalla lunga militanza, eppure al debutto sotto il nuovo alias Simfonica. Non basta questo a Trevor Midgley per far perdere le proprie tracce, che pure affiorano con fatica dai grai movimenti di “Songs Of The Volcanoes”, ispirate appunto al senso di opprimente soggezione ricavabile di fronte alla potenza latente dei vulcani.
Tale sensazione ricorre, in una combinazione più spesso dinamica che statica, nei quattro brani dell’ideale viaggio sonoro guidato da Midgley. L’itinerario parte dall’Islanda, dall’inquieto “Hekla” e dai suoi densi vapori catturati in frequenze dal moto irregolare e granuloso, prosegue quasi agli antipodi, nelle Filippine, il cui “Mayon” è invece incorniciato da movimenti d’archi che dischiudono la visione, appunto, sinfonica dell’artista inglese.Gli elementi costitutivi di entrambi i brani che costituiscono la prima metà di “Songs Of The Volcanoes” sono amplificati nella seconda, sotto forma delle ritmiche marziali che scandiscono “Mother Russia” o delle modulazioni sintetiche di consistenza nuovamente vaporosa della conclusiva “Cumulo Nimbus”, etereo suggello della peculiare concezione ambientale di Midgley, al tempo stesso orchestrale e sulfurea.
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Just spotted this really nice Stateside review of Cherry Red’s “Dust On The Nettles” box set. Love the quote, “The chainsaw-massacre guitar on Beau’s “Silence Returns” is so intense it makes the track self combust for a spell.”
That’s what you get when you let Jim Milne out of his cage…
Label: Dust On The Nettles
Friday, 18 November 2016
Thursday, 10 November 2016
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Don't forget, Simfonica's "Song Of The Volcanoes" is available on FREE download from those very nice people at Cathedral Transmissions...
Monday, 31 October 2016
Brilliant, sad, and excellent news all in one go, folks!
The brilliant news is that Simfonica’s limited-edition CD, “Song Of The Volcanoes”, has completely sold out! Many thanks to those who decided to take the plunge!
The sad news is that there won’t be a re-press, so some who were perhaps a little late off the mark with their order have missed out on this rather elegant little presentation.
The excellent news however, is that those very nice people at Cathedral Transmissions have now made “Song Of The Volcanoes” available as a FREE DOWNLOAD!
May I suggest, if you want to burn it to your own CD, download either the WAV or FLAC versions. The sound’s absolutely stunning!
I’ve already been asked, “Will Simfonica return?” Early days people, but watch this space!
Thanks again to all those who’ve helped make this new venture such a success.
Saturday, 29 October 2016
Many thanks to the excellent Jon Colcord for playing “Skeletons Dance” from “An Original Thought” on today’s “Out of the Woods” show (#342), fresh out of Concord, NH.
Jon sends it out “…to a politician with skeletons falling out of their closet!” Any ideas who?
As well as being up online, “Out of the Woods” plays on stations across the US and overseas. The new show airs in the UK on Sword Radio at 3pm this coming Thursday.
As always, the whole show’s a must. However, if you’re just wanting to check out “Skeletons Dance” (in what I believe may be its first airing?), join in the party around the 2 hrs 17mins point.
Thanks again, Jon. Really appreciated, and I hope your politico's listening!
Label: An Original Thought
Great news today folks! For any unfamiliars who fancy dipping their toes into electronica, Simfonica’s debut album, “Song Of The Volcanoes” is now out!
Available on limited-edition CD for a very modest £5, the purchase includes unlimited streaming, high-quality MP3 downloads, FLAC for the true audiophiles out there and more…
I have to say a really big thank-you to everyone who’s been in touch about the new venture, and for the very positive reactions to the “Mother Russia” sample Cathedral Transmissions put out a couple of weeks ago. Greatly appreciated!
Gotta remind you, though; “Song Of The Volcanoes” is NOT a Beau CD! It’s different – very different! – from my usual output.
This is Simfonica! Enjoy!