Tim Bowness & Peter Chilvers – California, Norfolk digital release

California, Norfolk, my 2002 collaboration with No-man vocalist Tim Bowness is now available as a digital download for the first time. You can find it on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer and many other digital stores.

The download includes a second album of remixes, outtakes and live versions. The album is also available from Burning Shed as a deluxe dvd-sized digi-book with essays from Tim Bowness, individual track notes from me and previously unseen artwork from Carl Glover.

Tim and I are putting the finishing touches to a follow up album, more news on this and an update on A Marble Calm soon.

California, Norfolk

‘Part balladry, part ambient, part soundscape – think of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon as processed by Brian Eno.’ – Brainwashed, US

‘A haunting and delicate album.’ – Exclaim, Canada

Top 5 in the Toronto Sun Anti-Hit List

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Originally released in 2002, California, Norfolk was the debut album from Tim Bowness (No-Man/Henry Fool) and Peter Chilvers (Brian Eno/Karl Hyde).

Burning Shed’s first ever official cd release, available online only, the album quickly sold out and has been available for inflated prices on eBay for the best part of a decade.

Combining electronic textures and found sounds with panoramic arrangements and poignant lyrics, the album’s synthesis of singer-songwriter intimacy and imaginative production values distinctively echoes aspects of The Blue Nile, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Nick Drake, Peter Gabriel, and Brian Eno’s work.

From the orchestral sweep of Hostage to the cinematic ambition of the 10 minute Winter With You via the slow-building intensity of Days Turn Into Years, the album forms a coherent suite of musical short stories that rates amongst the duo’s strongest work.

Ballad Electronica, 21st Century Ambient Folk, or perhaps the soundtrack to the best film you’ve never seen, this 2013 double cd reissue features the original album (re-mastered by Michael Bearpark) plus Overstrand (a collection of alternate versions), unreleased material earmarked for a follow-up album, and an EP’s worth of live performances.

Presented in a deluxe dvd-sized digi-book, which includes sleeve notes by Tim Bowness and Peter Chilvers in addition to previously unseen artwork by Carl Glover.

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Tim Bowness is vocalist/co-writer with the band No-Man, a long-running collaboration with Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson. In addition to releasing six studio albums and a documentary dvd with No-Man, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist Alice, Robert Fripp (King Crimson), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Richard Barbieri (Japan/Porcupine Tree) and Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention) amongst many others

Peter Chilvers is a musician and software designer best known for creating the hugely successful iPhone/iPad applications Bloom, Trope and Scape with Brian Eno, and touring with Tim Bowness and Karl Hyde (Underworld). His work as a musical technician has included Eno’s recent releases on Warp and collaboration with David Byrne, as well as the soundtracks to The Lovely Bones, Top Boy and Spore.

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Brian Eno’s The Ship in Geneva

I’ve just returned from a fun, but exhausting week in Geneva setting up the latest installation version of Brian Eno’s new album The Ship.

The album has been reworked to play across many assorted speakers, ranging from modern PAs to ancient hifi components, scattered through the room.

The launch itself was an arresting experience ; one of the final steps is to export the piece from a “working” form to a “playback” form (essentially creating a separate track for each speaker.) This takes several hours, and I’ve done it several times without hitch. This time, something went wrong…

A software glitch caused all of the tracks to be reduced in volume by up to 5db, and we discovered this only after the process completed, an hour before opening.

With no time to reexport, we hastily rebalanced it by ear, getting a working mix two minutes before opening. Then after the launch evening was over I had an “entertaining” experience repeating the export, working around the glitch and testing it, finishing at around 3:30 a.m.

Many of these photos were taken during that time, when for the first time in my life I found myself alone in a museum at night. Spooky. It might make a good film.

I slept well last night.

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Brian Eno – The Ship

Brian Eno announced “The Ship” this week, his first new solo album since Lux.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved with the creation of this extraordinary album, which has been a fascinating experience. I’ll go into more about this later, but suffice it to say I’m very excited about it.

I’m writing this in Geneva, where I’m preparing a multi-speaker surround installation of The Ship which will form part of the Electron Festival.

Eno The Ship

In the meantime, I’ve finally brought my site up to date with some of my recent activities (the last post was in 2014!) I’m a little bit better at updating my Facebook page.

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Bloom and Trope with Brian Eno – app updates

This year I’ve embarked on giving all of my apps with Brian Eno an interface overhaul (with the help once more of Brett J. Gilbert.)

Bloom by Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers

Bloom, my first app with Brian Eno has been given a complete interface redesign for iOS 8, and is available now to existing users as a free update. Bloom HD on the iPad also has improved graphics.

Trope, my second app with Brian Eno now runs natively on the iPad for the first time, as well as being updated for iOS 8.

I’ve really enjoyed returning to Trope, which was originally released back in 2009 when the App Store was still barely a year old. Although it’s much darker in tone than Bloom, I think visually it’s the best of the apps, and it’s particularly at its best on retina iPads.

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Ongoing collaboration with Tim Bowness

Tim Bowness and I are putting the finishing touches to a new album, a follow up to California, Norfolk (a mere 14 years after its release!) We’ve continued to write songs on and off together over the intervening years. Some have made their way to other projects (Slow Electric and A Marble Calm), while a few others have been hanging around waiting for the right arrangement. About half of the material has been written in the last couple of years, and I think is our best work to date.

I’ll post more details on it later. In the meantime, California Norfolk was remastered by Mike Bearpark and reissued in 2014 with a a second disk packed with bonus content. We’re expect to have it available as a digital download very soon. Here’s the full blurb:

Originally released in 2002, California, Norfolk was the debut album from Tim Bowness (No-Man/Henry Fool) and Peter Chilvers (Brian Eno/Karl Hyde).

Burning Shed’s first ever official cd release, available online only, the album quickly sold out and has been available for inflated prices on eBay for the best part of a decade.

Combining electronic textures and found sounds with panoramic arrangements and poignant lyrics, the album’s synthesis of singer-songwriter intimacy and imaginative production values distinctively echoes aspects of The Blue Nile, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Nick Drake, Peter Gabriel, and Brian Eno’s work.

From the orchestral sweep of Hostage to the cinematic ambition of the 10 minute Winter With You via the slow-building intensity of Days Turn Into Years, the album forms a coherent suite of musical short stories that rates amongst the duo’s strongest work.

Ballad Electronica, 21st Century Ambient Folk, or perhaps the soundtrack to the best film you’ve never seen, this 2013 double cd reissue features the original album (re-mastered by Michael Bearpark) plus Overstrand (a collection of alternate versions), unreleased material earmarked for a follow-up album, and an EP’s worth of live performances.

Presented in a deluxe dvd-sized digi-book, which includes sleeve notes by Tim Bowness and Peter Chilvers in addition to previously unseen artwork by Carl Glover.

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Quarta – A unique digital board game with Brett J. Gilbert

Quarta, my app with Brett J. Gilbert was released in July, just as Brett was nominated for a coveted Kennerspiel des Jahres award for Elysium.

Quarta

While my apps with Brian Eno have been purely musical experiences, Quarta is a board game designed specifically to be played on iOS devices. I love the way it’s possible to completely lose yourself in apps like Carcassonne or Threes, and wanted to fuse that with the kind of musical engagement people found with Bloom. So Quarta creates a tranquil soundtrack based on the moves you make, and it grows more complex as you play.

Brett has been responsible for the icons and menu layouts in all of my apps to date. We have been friends for over twenty five years, and in the last decade he introduced me to the board game Carcassonne. I think I’ve lost against him on a more or less weekly basis for much of that time. He had the idea for Quarta when the iPad came out in 2010, and I’m very pleased that we’ve finally managed to realise it.

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Fovea Hex remix

I’ve recorded a remix of Glacial Lake, by Fovea Hex, adding piano, synths and samples to Clodagh Simmonds original voice and harmonium performance, as well as slightly restructuring the track.

Fovea Hex are one of my favourite bands ; their mixture of dark skeletal songs with sparsely played instruments and electronic textures is something of a perfect blend. I strongly recommend you check out this and their other work.

Fovea Hex Bandcamp page

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Karl Hyde Tour 2013

In 2013 I toured with Underworld vocalist Karl Hyde as keyboardist and musical director. The tour was a life-changing whirlwind which started in a club in Brighton and took in performances at venues across Europe, Japan and even the Sydney Opera House before ending at Fuji Rock in front of 60,000 people. I never found time to post about it!

The performance I enjoyed most was at the Union Chapel in Islington. I think this video captures the joy of the occasion, the bounciness of bassist Gaz Williams and the exuberance of fellow keyboardist Angie Pollock’s piano solo.

Karl talks about the album and tour here. I may have blubbed a bit watching this.

Gaz Williams went into much more detail on the tour Gaz Williams Tour Diary.

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Cromer Waves

I’ve written instrumentals for two videos I recorded last year when a heavy storm battered the Norfolk coast. Both were filmed in Cromer, a beautiful town on the North Norfolk Coast as heavy storms were hitting much of Britain. I’ve been going there for years to watch the waves, but this was the wildest the sea had been in sixty years.

The video footage is often shaky and erratic ; it was shot on an iPhone 5 in a howling gale, and for some of it I was leaning out of a window to take the shot.

The first piece is a piano improvisation I recorded against the film while testing out ideas. My original plan had be been to slow the waves to half their speed, and create a sound track using strings and electronics, but nothing I tried seemed to work as well. Showing the waves against a melancholy musical backdrop seems to give the illusion that they are at a slower speed, I like the balletic grace it lends them.

For second video, I went for something more turbulent and tortured. The sounds are very bright ; it might be rather harsh on cheap speakers.

I’ll write a more detailed update on the various things I’ve been up to shortly.

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Henry Fool – Men Singing

A rather belated update, the first of several.

A few months ago, the second Henry Fool album “Men Singing” was released on Kscope, more than a decade after the band’s debut.

Henry Fool is an odd band for me… The band is a very deliberate re-imagining of some of the prog rock / prog jazz albums I loved in my youth, and as such is far more nostalgic and less original than most of the projects I like to get involved in. It’s not really music I listen to anymore (I still haven’t heard the final album!)

But… I have enormous fun playing on it. In this case, I turned up to a studio somewhere in Norfolk, played bass all day (one of the few times I’ve played bass in the last ten years sadly), and some time later, thanks to the machinations of Stephen Bennett, Jarrod Gosling (who I’ve yet to meet) and Tim Bowness, an album appears!

Phil Manzanera plays some very interesting guitar on the album, which means I’ve now worked with two Roxy Music members entirely independently.

A limited edition mini-gatefold package has now sold out (I really should update this page more quickly) but the jewel case version of the album is still available:

There’s a brief promotional trailer for the album here (very funny picture of me in rock monster form at 1:15)

You can also listen to a few tracks here:

Updates on the tour with Underworld’s Karl Hyde and a reissue of California, Norfolk, my album with Tim Bowness to follow shortly… honest…

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