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.
As you probably know by now, my previous projects have been recorded in very little studio time, so I’m super excited to have had the chance to work on creating something a little bit different! I think I’ve really managed to combine all the different types of music I play, from folk to funk via country, electronica and rock so I just cannot wait to get it out into the world!
Adie and I had a LOT of fun in the studio experimenting with some unusual effects, and as usual I got to play many, many instruments, from sopranino recorder to keys to Eb clarinet. Adam Hayes, Will Purdue, Andy Fuller and David Ryder Prangley have all added very special parts to the record, Adie himself added some super funky guitar and the amazing Pete Maher is mastering as we speak!
I also had the chance to add some bass clarinet to a track for the fantastic Sarah Vista‘s album. This lady sounds just fabulous and you should definitely check her out!
We have lots in the pipeline including a LIVE video coming out in November and an acoustic performance for none other than Sofar Sounds. I don’t think we’re allowed to tell you where that one is though, you’ll have to sign up on their website to be let in on the secret, or watch on YouTube afterwards of course!
We are taking a little break from gigging while gearing up for the EP launches, but there will be lots of dates to come in January and February. I’m also excited to be playing with James Holden in November and December and would love to see you at one of those gigs- check the list here! We’ll also be playing live on Radio X and BBC 6music if you can’t make it, more details nearer the time.
I’m going to run and carry on with cooking up some fabulous Beyond the Blonde related merch for you including some extremely shiny vinyl and some reading material for those long, cold January evenings. More news on here very soon!
Last summer I was privileged to take part in some very special live recording sessions with the electronic shaman James Holden. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and true to form it evolved into an unexpectedly mind altering and spiritual free jazz/trance/folk jam, all recorded live with some absolutely fantastic musicians – Tom Page and Lascelle Gordon on drums and percussion, Marcus Hamblett on trumpet and Etienne Jaumet on sax.
So now I’m officially an Animal Spirit, which is the name of the album! I won’t tell you what I was playing though, you’ll have to wait until the 3rd November to find out, which is the official release date on Border Community Records.
Check out the taster track below, it’s really very tasty! You can also pre order the album here.
I can’t believe it’s nearly August already! We have had a fantastic time this summer playing across the UK at festivals from Devon to the Midlands. After chatting to so many of you we have found ourselves with a long list of your email addresses- we will be sending out an electronic goodie bag very soon with some exclusive recordings so keep an eye on your inbox!
We were really pleased that DOMINO, our short film, got a great reception at Byline Festival with some lovely feedback from the audience. We’re looking forward to working on a special audiovisual feature at next year’s festival, and if you can’t wait till then we will also be playing at another Byline event at Lights of Soho on 4th September. You can sign up for free advance tickets on the Facebook event here.
Check out our latest gig announcements – we will be up and down a few more times before taking a break to plan a tour for my next EP release in January. Liza x
So it’s June already and we are kicking off the festival season- can’t believe it!We have got some new songs on the boil, plus extremely excited to announce that DOMINO our new short film, directed by Benjamin Britworth, will be premiered at Byline Festival this weekend. It’s looking to be a fantastic and varied weekend with speakers including John Cleese and many others. We’ll also be performing a live acoustic set on the Friday night.
The film features music by both Will and myself together with Will acting in one of the main roles. You can see the trailer here….
I’m also plotting a new EP which will be out in the autumn together with Will’s new music. AND I have been holed up with the band for a few days writing some brand new sexy rock for Bordello Rose – more news on that soon.
Hoping to see you out at one of our summer gigs for some sunshine and music!
I can’t believe it’s the end of February already! Saying that, despite the winter gloom we have been pretty productive, although we did escape to Morocco for some cheeky waves and sunshine at the end of January!
Since then, though, we’ve been hard at work. Will‘s new EPs are more than half done- just the vocals and woodwind to add now, and I can confirm it’s sounding awesome, complete with viola and pedal steel!
We are very nearly done filming our new short film collaboration with Benjamin Britworth, with a brand new project also in the offing which I will be working on the soundtrack for. I’m really looking forward to writing some exciting and diverse music for that, plus refreshing my dormant Pro Tools/Sibelius skills.
Bordello Rose are also back in action- we were out supporting the awesome New Generation Superstars just last night with two brand new songs. It felt great to be up and rocking again! There will be some new music released later this year, complete with another epic launch party (we’ll see if we can get Dave in fishnets this time!).
I got the VERY EXCITING news just the other day that James Holden‘s new album has been mastered- I can’t reveal any more but I can confirm that it sounds amazing and I can’t wait to get together with the rest of the guys to play it live!
I will leave you with a shot fresh from our Purdue and Bec photoshoot with the amazing David Ryder Prangley. Check out the festival dates so far if you haven’t already, including the fantastic Byline Festival– hoping to see you all out there live sometime this summer!
Well, it’s that time of year….when all the independent musicians are hibernating indoors doing their admin. Let’s not mention the TAX RETURN as this year I have delegated that joyous task to a lovely accountant. I’m talking about festival admin. For Purdue and Bec and Bordello Rose, mainly. So if you have anywhere you’d like us to play get in touch… with us and them, recommendations always help!
We’re having a month off gigging in order to recharge the batteries and work on some new material. Luckily this has coincided with my coming down with the ubiquitous and rather spectacular lurgy/bronchitis/general voice wrecking virus. On the plus side, it means that I really don’t have an excuse to put off invoicing/emailing/researching and doing all the stuff we put of cos playing is so much more fun!
Will’s two new EPs are being recorded over the next couple of months as well as a new short film project with Benjamin Britworth, and we have some plans for a series to be recorded later in the year. We had such a brilliant 2016 collaborating with amazing visual artists and musicians so we are looking forward to building on that into 2017.
Well, it’s been an eventful year- full to the brim with so many fun projects! I’m looking forward to much more of the same in 2017. It’s been fantastic to have so much more time and space to spend on music these days and I’m incredibly grateful to all the people who have made that possible.
Not only did Bordello Rose finally release our first album ( and about time given that we recorded it in 2014!) I have put out two solo EPs and videos as Liza Bec- check them out if you haven’t already!
Will Purdue and I have also been on the road with an eventful tour as Purdue and Bec – up and down the UK, Sweden and Denmark gigging our little hearts out with some very cool outfits from Kapow Meggings!
I’ve really enjoyed unleashing my inner free jazz demon when collaborating with James Holden on his latest record. Can’t wait until it is due out in 2017- we have had lots of fun performing at Bozar, Brussels and Turin Jazz Festival so far and looking forward to more dates next year.
We have had some amazing photo shoots with Martin Petty and David Ryder Prangley – in the last one I actually managed to perform some unintended gymnastics and damage the photographic paper, so will not be overestimating my agility in the future. Even though I did manage a pretty cool inversion on the monkey bars in the dressing room in Turin a few weeks ago without harming anyone!
We’re looking forward to more collaborations with Benjamin Britworth and David Ryder Prangley next year, including a short film and a series of videos which we want everyone to get involved in. Can’t wait to tell you all about it! Until then it’s only left to wish you all a very happy New Year- may you have health happiness and as much champagne as you can drink!