(Available for download on all usual digital platforms from 5th March 2021)
Taken from the forthcoming album ‘Ojai’ –
Available for pre-order form 5th March – Released 25th June, 2021
London-born, UK singer songwriter Michael Armstrong, announces the forthcoming release of his 3rd studio album ‘Ojai’, with the release of this stunning new single ‘Matters of Heart’.
Steeped in his influences, and a modern take on the ‘Yacht Rock’ genre, the track has that Californian feel that has spawned some of the finest music of our times. Think Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers and Christopher Cross and you’ll be in the right ballpark. And that West Coast sound is no accident, as Michael explains: –
“In 2018 I was invited to join US singer songwriter Ben Folds at a retreat in Ojai, California. I jumped at the chance, being a huge fan of Ben and his music and having never been to that part of America before. It was a truly life changing experience – I literally came home a different person. We spent several days writing new songs, finishing old songs, and generally just having a great time.”
“I fell in love with the quaint town of Ojai and the whole vibe and sound of the West Coast, where so many of my musical heroes made music which stands the test of time.”
‘Matters of Heart’ is the first single to be taken from the forthcoming album and, as evident in the video, is an extremely personal song for Michael, written partly in homage to his parents: –
“My mum and dad have been married for over 50 years and are, and always have been, an inspiration to me. They were children of the baby-boomer period after the 2nd World War and started out with very little. They’re both highly intelligent and incredibly hard-working and forged out a wonderful upbringing for my brother and I, and a fantastic successful life for themselves. It wasn’t always easy, and they had more than their fair share of ups and downs, but they stuck at it, and most importantly, stuck by each other. I would not be who or where I am today had they not been my parents.”
Having previously worked with top record producers Keith Bessey & Warren Bennett on his earlier albums, Michael decided to take on all the production duties alone for this record, which was completed during the lockdown of 2020. But, using the wonders of modern technology, he was still able to continue his tradition of utilising some of the finest musicians in the world to play on the tracks. Once again, US No.1 saxophonist Ed Barker takes the horns, and string arrangements are courtesy of the legendary Simon Lockyer. For the first time on Michael’s recordings, fans are introduced to French guitar maestro, Antoine Saults, recently described by The Who’s Pete Townshend as ‘the future of music’.
‘Ojai’ the Brand-New Album – Released 25th June 2021
“Just when I thought I’d heard it all, Judith Owen comes along and breathes yet another level of life into a little song I did one night while my wife was sleeping on the sofa.” – Eric Brazilian
(What If God Was) One Of us
Available to download from 2nd April
Pianist, Singer-Songwriter and Comedienne Judith Owen Releases a Brand-New Single for Easter.
ISRC: US4BS2100001 / Cat No: TWR00197 (9) / Composer: Eric Brazilian / Publisher: Warner Chappell Music Inc
Pianist, singer-songwriter entertainer Judith Owen is famous for her diverse and genre-bending covers over the years. This time around, and seemingly poignantly timely… Joan Osborne’s Grammy-nominated record and song of the year ’90s hit single “(What If God Was) One Of Us” – written by Eric Bazilian of the Hooters.
The elegance of vocal, piano, cello and percussion dramatically migrate the modern standard into the story re-told.
“Recording this track with long-time collaborator John Fischbach (Stevie Wonder, Cassandra Wilson) was made more special by meeting and garnering the love of its writer Eric Bazilian, for what I’d done with his unique vision. Recording it in a converted chapel (NOLA’s Esplanade Studio) definitely added to the “heavenly” sound, having taken the song to a pure place musically, with my “ever-turning” classical piano, cello, and timpani arrangement, that underscored and highlighted the lyrics, the timelessness of this story, and the wonder and beauty to be found even in the smallest, most inconsequential thing.”
Produced by Judith Owen and Grammy Award-winning John Fischbach, the track features Pedro Segundo on percussion and Helen Gillet on cello.
The upcoming 2021 album “Both Things Are True” features Judith originals “I Still Dream of America,” “Second Hand Sexbot” with “Hold My Hand” (a Jess Glynne cover), and the 2020 release of “September’ (Earth Wind & Fire.)
“(What If God Was) One Of Us’ – reimagined – a compelling story retold, re-sung, and redone in the words and wise of the fabulous Judith Owen.
A performer whose stylistic range spans rock, pop, classical, jazz, blues, and musical theatre, Owen is also a comedic actress and master storyteller.
Pre lockdown, she had wrapped up a tour of Europe and the U.K. to adoring fans, during which time she joined Richard Thompson as a featured guest (along with a cavalcade of British rock and folk royalty) at his 70th birthday celebration at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She then joined another legend… bassist Derek Smalls (“formerly of the band formerly known as Spinal Tap”), for a series of concerts in the U.S. followed by a handful of intimate shows in Australia with percussionist Pedro Segundo. Judith Owen is co-creator and co-host of the annual “Christmas Without Tears” charity variety show that has featured guests including Steven Merchant, Tim Minchin, Catherine O’Hara, and many others.
Her latest album redisCOVERed (2018) – an album of carefully selected covers – has been met with global praise. On it, she pays loving homage to one of her biggest influences Joni Mitchell, recording a pair of the Laurel Canyon legend’s compositions: ‘Cherokee Louise’ and ‘Ladies Man’ as well as Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun,’ and Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ and more.
Judith Owen’s FFS!
The twice-weekly online show each Sunday and Wednesday began in April 2020 as the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic took hold.
“A thank you to all my FFS! Friends and fans who inspired me to write and perform these songs about what we’re seeing and experiencing right now,” said Owen. A fan video of “Karen” surfaced, highlighting mental anxiety issues due to the pandemic.
????? Review – The Times (UK) “The singer-pianist shuffled the jukebox in a set of daring cover versions in which she revealed unexpected depths…a stunning evening.”
“Sassy and intelligent…Judith Owen is the female Randy Newman.” – Jamie Cullum
“Judith is a master class on how a show should be done” – Jackson Browne
“Judith Owen is one of the great talents of her generation, blessed with an expressive and distinctive voice, a fine talent for writing and a masterful style of accompaniment…unique in a crowded profession.”- Richard Thompson
Virtuosic Pianist devises incredible dice and mathematical chart system to follow Nature not convention…
Available from 24th March 2021
“Conventional Western music is like a statue; my music is like a tree”. A bold statement perhaps, but one that Edward Chilvers justifies on his forthcoming album, entitled ‘31 Pieces’ and released on 24 March 2021 on Mozart Records. He is different. BBC TV said of him, “Composing music has never sounded quite like this”. The Times added, “Edward Chilvers has revived a tradition used by composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart of creating pieces driven by randomness”. Steinway & Sons has extended an invitation to Edward to perform and talk about his work in a live streamed event from London’s Steinway Hall at 7pm on 16 December 2020.
As Classic FM said, “For Chilvers, this method is the future of music”. Whilst the album, factually, is made up of ‘31 Pieces’, Chilvers sees the work as not something that is or should be broken into segments but rather something that has been conceived and executed as a contiguous whole with elements fading into one another, with silence or inertia never gaining the upper hand. The music on ‘31 Pieces’ will never be performed twice in exactly the same way. The music captured on the 3CD release itself serves as the ‘parent’ version – whilst each of the 3CDs works as a standalone record, together they have a deeper unity.
The foundation of Chilvers’ work is in experimenting with speed radios and mode, its DNA is coded with the infinite variety that reflects that existing within Nature. When he rolls his dice, the unpredictability generated rages within the strictures of the format that he has created. A statue, by contrast, is immutable and a competent pianist will always play a traditionally formed piece in the same predictable and perfect way. A tree can be recognisably an oak, but each one is different due to the impact of myriad variables like wind, or soil type.
Chilvers uses unique technical and theoretical tools to both liberate and structure his compositions which use – principally – multi-tempo patterns and tonal mode systems as the roots of the pieces. A dice system is often used to randomise these variables (tempo patterns, made, also key and phase patterns) and many of the 31 pieces grew out of these dice rolls. The whole process is built on defined combinations of ratios that has led him to nothing less than a form of ‘New Music’. Sky News called the process “fascinating to watch”, whilst BBC Radio 4’s Today programme called him a “Musical dice man creating pieces driven by randomness”. The hope is that these skills will become normal technique for the pianists of the future, and a freer multi-‘dimensional’ way of playing will blossom and evolve.
Edward Chilvers was a driven and passionate player who practiced constantly in pursuit of that perfection. He hated school and left as soon as he could, and then spent 12 years of chasing perfection before what he describes as his dawning “recalibration”.
As he says, “This a leap forward from mono-tempo music, which faces the same fate as black and white film, though it will remain a beautiful part of the musical universe”. It is an analogy that bears inspection, speed and pattern are what defines both music and light – and the ‘red’ in a colour film only appears so because of wave speed. Multi-tempo music is so packed with possibility that the only reason that it is not already omnipresent is down to the simple fact, as Edward Chilvers’ methods prove, that it is so difficult!
These explorations in harmony categorize scales and modes into ninety-six modal groups and are an example of Chilvers’ innate ability to see patterns where others do not. ‘31 Pieces’ is the result of his performances at one specific period of time; every time he sits down to play he creates something new. The tracks on the album fade in and fade out to reflect the constant state of transition, on the album and indeed in life. Each recorded piece is in truth a snapshot of a piece of music that is constructed in a way that forms a loop and so in reality is infinitely long, and coloured by both character and characteristic, like seasons on a distant planet.
Whilst the approach taken by Edward Chilvers on this album may seem, at first look, more akin to the recent feature written for The Guardian by AI than a free-flowing jam session at his beloved Glastonbury [he always attends and performs on pop-up stages], in fact the opposite is true. By scoring a victory over conventional structure, he is now blazing his own trail. Chilvers started by playing up to four different tempos simultaneously, disguising the pulse in his music by using phase patterns deliberately contrasting to the tempos; moving away from conventional rhythmical form.
He then began to compose beautiful etudes as an exploration in poly-tempo, taking a rich understanding and reverence for western classical harmony; and reshaping it.
As he says himself, “I wanted to create a multi-dimensional music to reflect the unspeakable experience of the stilled mind. I’m trying to make laws: polyrhythmic laws, phasing laws, modal laws, structural laws. If I can make good laws then something interesting or beautiful should come out”.
‘31 Pieces’, then, represents not only a beautiful album that hangs together as a whole, but also the rolling back of boundaries. Edward Chilvers draws inspiration from a myriad of influences, from Bach, Wagner and Beethoven through to Boards Of Canada, Squarepusher, Bill Evans, Radiohead, and Meshuggah. However, it was the Bwiti music of Gabon in West Africa, with its incessant, intense use of poly-tempo via harp, voice and drums, that inspired him to seek to stretch the capacity of what is humanly possible to play on the piano.
A truly remarkable talent, Edward Chilvers puts discovery and fun at the heart of everything he does – but this is a serious business. Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”. That perhaps sums up this unique musician. His ground-breaking approach is captured in ‘11 Pieces’, a beautiful short film essentially encapsulating the concept of the album by blending performance footage and captivating scenes from nature and the built environment. ‘11 Pieces’ has been entered at various prestigious film festivals and will also be made available next year.
Edward Chilvers’ approach on ‘31 Pieces’ is not a rejection of traditional form or structure, but rather of beginning and endings, constraints and repetition; it is an ongoing reflection of Nature. Edward Chilvers frees music in order to allow it to blossom and follow the laws of Nature, rather than being trammelled by convention.
April 21, 2021 1816 Charlotte Bronte 1915 Anthony Quinn 1916 Norman Parkinson 1923 Sir John Mortimer QC 1926 HM Queen Elizabeth II 1932 Angela Barrett 1947 Iggy Pop 1958 Andy McDowell 1959 Robert Smith
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