I hope you are all well. It’s been a long and eventful year for me, and doubtless for you too! You may remember I’ve been locked away in a small room with a computer for a while now in order to create an audiovisual installation and short story called Innervate about music triggered epilepsy. An incredible experience but quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done!
The good news is that after many hours and weeks and months of programming and procrastinating we have not only finished the installation, we are finally playing our first gig!
Adam and I will be playing some of the music from the installation live at Guy’s Hospital Atrium 1 next Wednesday the 18th September at 1pm as part of their fantastic arts programme, Breathe. It’s a special place for me for a lot of reasons and has a beautiful acoustic. I really hope that some of you can join us to hear it. It’s also completely free entry.
I’ll be playing my robo recorder which is specially modified with a circuit board and MIDI inputs, and using it to trigger an array of synths on my computer. Everything will be improvised live with no sequencers! Adam will be playing cajon and percussion. So a little different to my usual sound. I hope you like it! Details of the show are here.
If you’d like to be able to see (and read!) my project early I’d love you to take part in the feedback group- particularly if you have any experience of chronic illness or disability. Please email me and I will send you all the details.
Thanks so much for your support. The cats send purrs ( it is their birthday so they are being spoilt!)
Hope you are all enjoying the amazing weather! We are taking turns with the cats in front of the fan….how about you?
If you’d like to come and cool down with some new tunes Will and I are performing a half hour acoustic set at the Notting Hill Arts Club this Sunday night. Doors are at 4.30 and we’re on at 7.30 so plenty of time to grab a refreshing drink or two ( at least that’s what we’ll be doing!) You can grab tickets in advance here. We’ll be performing some new songs including a preview of Will’s new EP.
As if our three cats are not enough, we will be joining Pussy Riot amongst others at Byline festival on the 24th August- tag line ‘Let’s dance, laugh discuss and change the world’. That just about sums it up! Check out the line up and tickets here.
Are you going to any other festivals this summer? I will also be performing with the amazing James Holden everywhere from Croatia to Hungary, as well as End Of The Road, Sea Change and Edinburgh in the UK, so check out the dates here to see if we will cross paths!
Hoping to catch you somewhere this summer, and sending lots of tuneful vibes your way!
If you’ve been keeping an eye on my social media you may know that I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected to receive a Fusion Fund grant! I’m so SO grateful to Help Musicians UK for their support- it means such a lot to me after working so hard to restart my career in music. There may have been some jumping up and down when I found out the news!
You can hear us talking about the project in this short video clip and read more about the fund on the Help Musicians UK website here
I’m going to be working with the amazing Dan Tombs, Catalina Velasquez Gonzalez and David Ryder Prangley among others to create an audiovisual representation of music-triggered epilepsy- which as you know is something I have some first hand knowledge of…. We cannot wait to get started- there will be more updates coming soon!
I’m very excited to say that after a very long time and a lot of hard work from so many talented people Beyond The Blonde is OUT TODAY on vinyl, CD, download (Amazon/iTunes) and Spotify!
The best description of the title track I’ve heard so far is: ‘Retro Garage Funk Rock’! I’ve also been told it’s good music to murder someone to! What do you think?
There’s so much more to check out from modern madrigal ‘How Do You Live’ to languid love song ‘I Run To You. It’s all written to go with the short story which comes as an insert to the vinyl, so you can listen while you read. I really hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed making it!
Talking of reading, you can also download the short story on Kindle, free on Kindle Unlimited, featuring all of Catalina Velasquez Gonzalez’s graphics and David Ryder Prangley’s photography.
Not only that but there’s another video surprise to come in only a few weeks time!
Please share it with your friends and do let me know what you think- any ideas for a sequel are most welcome!
Some of you know that I suffer from music-triggered epilepsy which stopped me playing for a good few years when I was diagnosed. It took years for me to relearn how to play and sing so I’m really proud to be able to tell my story, hopefully this will inspire someone in a similar situation that all is not lost! I still can’t believe I’m in the position to release Beyond the Blonde on vinyl in May! (tix here) Kami from Epilepsy Action, a fab charity who really helped me with useful info, has written this lovely article.
We are SO excited that Beyond the Blonde is finally coming out on the 9th May- not only that but our launch is part of the Wandsworth Fringe Festival! It’s all happening at the Half Moon Putney which is a fantastic venue with amazing atmosphere and sound- tickets are on sale here. If you’d like to save some money on the vinyl, CD and cute tote bag to carry them home in you can get an exclusive package including vinyl and CD here. All featuring Catalina Velasquez G’s amazing designs!
Just in case you’d like a preview you can listen to one of my new songs from our last show at the Troubadour here!
Really looking forward to seeing you there! Liza x
Excited to announce that we will be playing live with full band at the Hard Rock Cafe fashion show next Tuesday the 20th February, playing some old favourites and some new material too! The music starts at 8pm- we’ll be on stage at 9.30pm. Will is also strutting his stuff on the catwalk from 6pm if you can make it early. The amazing Ru who some of you saw when she supported us at the Troubadour will also be playing, this time with her fantastic band.
So Beyond the Blonde is being pressed and the music is all ready! Due to unforeseen circumstances we’re not going to be able to release the vinyl until May. However the launch on the 1st February is very much happening! (Tickets here )
We’ll be releasing ‘Paris’, my collaboration with Will Purdue, together with Will’s new EP ‘Rumour and Confession’, as well as playing lots of brand NEW music with full band. The amazing and talented singer songwriters Ru and Erin Jae will be supporting us on the night.
We’re also excited to be featured in Independent Venue Week 2018 with a whole host of other fab bands- ambassadors include Steve Lamacq and Jamie Cullum!
On the night you can grab some copies of my CD only album ‘Songs About Sins’- not available online- with a special new edition out just for this gig!
I can’t wait to see you all at the launch! For those who can’t make it to London we’ll also be putting out a LIVE acoustic video of Paris which we recorded a while ago just for this moment, more news on that soon! X
Exciting times recently playing with the amazing James Holden and the Animal Spirits for some gigs promoting the new album. It’s been really interesting to perform as the songs are evolving more and more with each performance and always a pleasure to improvise with such an amazing group of musicians. We’re really looking forward to the London show at Islington Assembly Halls next week- get your tickets here if you haven’t already! We are also recording a live session for Gilles Peterson at BBC 6music next week, and I’ll update on here when we know when that will be broadcast.
Here’s the press release if you would like to know some more details. In the meantime there will be another press release coming soon with all the details on my new EP, Beyond the Blonde, which will be out in February!
James Holden has announced his third album recorded together with his newly-expanded band, going under the name James Holden & The Animal Spirits. ‘The Animal Spirits’ will be released 3 November via his own Border Community label. This will be the first full length release from Holden since 2013’s critically lauded The Inheritors which saw top-twenty ‘Album of the Year’ mentions from the likes of FACT, MOJO and Clash as well as #2 from Loud & Quiet and Resident Advisor’s ‘Album of the Year’. Along with the announcement, the band – consisting of long-time collaborators Tom Page (RocketNumberNine) and Etienne Jaumet as well as Marcus Hamblett, Liza Bec and Lascelle Gordon – have shared lead single ‘Pass Through The Fire’.
Let yourself be transported to a magical other world of instinct and intuition with this bold new set of synth-led folk-trance standards from electronics guru James Holden and his newly-expanded band of fellow travellers The Animal Spirits. A wild ride that unites the characteristic propulsive melodic vigour of his custom-made modular synthesizer system with an unlikely supporting cast of brass, wind and live percussion, the expansive and transformative psychedelic journey of The Animal Spirits is certainly eternal outsider Holden’s most ambitious work to date – but surely also his most direct and accessible.
Since the release of 2013’s epic pagan saga ‘The Inheritors’, the kraut-tinged synth-and-drum core of the live touring outfit assembled by Holden to spread his alternative electronic message around the world has picked up several additional members along the way. Legendary jazz band leaders Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders provided the blueprint for this quest to assemble “something like a spiritual jazz band playing folk / trance music”, but here cornet (Marcus Hamblett) and saxophone (Etienne Jaumet) function as the complement to the star soloist of Holden’s ever-strident synth. Meanwhile drummer Tom Page is inextricably bound to Holden’s synth care of self-coded interactive drummer-following software, keeping pace with the almost imperceptible – yet unmistakably human – micro-errors in timing which lend live drums their natural magical groove. Thus Holden’s drummer is liberated from the brutal tyranny of the click track and a new organic symbiotic relationship between human and machine is unlocked. Producer Holden’s creative control over the project is absolute, from building his own synth and software, writing the musical backbone and steering his players, to self-recording, self-mixing and eventually also self-releasing the finished collection on his own imprint.
This heady blend of the electronic and the acoustic came into being during the hot and sticky summer of 2016 under the direction of fledgling band leader Holden at his Sacred Walls studio in London. In a bid to capture what he calls the unfakeable “psychic communication” of a group performance, The Animal Spirits was recorded live in one room together in single takes, no overdubs, no edits, in accordance with his own self-imposed dogma.
What has emerged out of these sessions is a genre-blending new form of universal music that feels inherently fluid and alive. Just one example of the record’s wide-ranging influences, the relentless, elastic and hypnotic polyrhythms of ‘Pass Through The Fire’ grew out of Holden’s 2014 trip to Morocco to work with legend of Gnawa music Maalem Mahmoud Guinia. The first song he wrote for the band, ‘Pass Through The Fire’ took shape over months of pre-show dressing room practice, as Holden set about transmitting the distinctive Gnawa rhythm to drummer Page. It soon made its way into the pair’s live shows, adding Jaumet’s on-the-hop improvised sax contributions further down the line. Holden says, “This was where I got the idea that songs are just backbones or seeds and the strong ones teach/reveal themselves to the players rather than the other way round.”
Born out of of the sheer unbridled joy of live performance, Holden’s third artist album The Animal Spirits is the momentous culmination of a radical transformation, as the former trailblazer of the early noughties computer music revolution is dramatically reborn as live musician and band leader. In embracing his new found knowledge of Morocco’s Gnawa trance tradition and repackaging the brash tones of pure trance into the accommodating spiritual jazz band format, The Animal Spirits can even be viewed as a kind of coming to terms with Holden’s early trance past, only now his focus is on the parallel evolutions of folk traditions the world over and their hypnotic effects on the brain, rather than the narrow formulaic European musical genre. This one-time international DJ has now officially hung up his headphones to turn his attention to setting a new standard for interconnected live electronic performance, as he gears up to take his new five-piece musical collective out on the road this autumn. And now we are through the looking glass into a new realm of inherently organic live electronic musical performance, there can be no going back to the prison of the rigid world of computer beats.