Simfonica – Letters In Time DVD

Monday, 28 August 2017, 19:56 | Category : News
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(TM Studios TMS001)

Trevor Midgley – Beau from John Peel’s Dandelion Records – has a new identity; and it’s a long way from his folk singer/songwriter origins.

Simfonica (SIMFonic electrONICA) is firmly in the electronica / ambient / modern classical category and came, Trevor says, “…from an idea to create large-scale electronically-processed pieces, unencumbered by constraints of time or strict form”.

Simfonica’s first album, “Song Of The Volcanoes” was released by Cathedral Transmissions in 2016 and sold out in three days. The follow-up – “Letters In Time” – has just come out; primarily as a 48-minute DVD but also as an audio download.

Trevor says “Each piece that makes up “Letters In Time” is inspired by a significant letter from modern history. ‘J’Accuse’ reflects on Emile Zola’s open letter to the President of France in 1898; ‘From A Birmingham Jail’ Martin Luther King’s letter from 1963; ‘A Soldier’s Declaration’ Siegfried Sassoon’s 1917 anti-war statement, later printed in The Times; and ‘De Profundis’ Oscar Wilde’s 1897 letter to Lord Alfred Douglas from Reading Gaol.

“Releasing “Letters In Time” as an audio CD would have presented no problem at all,” says Trevor. “However, the set was conceived from the outset as an audio / visual experience; and this has proved a complication. One German company was prepared to consider releasing a standalone concept electronica DVD but, because of the political content on two of the tracks, eventually felt unable to do so.

“For this reason, I’ve issued “Letters In Time” as a DVD on my own new TM Studios marque. And just for the sake of clarification – because the question was asked more than once by “Song Of The Volcanoes” reviewers! – there is absolutely no sampling on the album. Every note you hear is Simfonica-played; prior, that is, to serious modification and processing! I really hope we’ve put that one to bed…”

More about Simfonica and “Letters In Time” at and

Toby Twirl

Saturday, 19 August 2017, 8:11 | Category : Articles, Beat, Unreleased
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It seems incredible that it’s taken 50 years for pop-psych band Toby Twirl to release their first long player. Originally formed in 1968 in Newcastle, they recorded three now highly revered singles for Decca in the late 1960s.

Jason Barnard speaks to John Reed, with contributions from band mates Barry Sewell, Nick Thorburn and Dave Holland, about the group’s history and new release:

The Thin Cherries

Saturday, 19 August 2017, 7:49 | Category : News
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The Thin Cherries is the new project from Chicago musicians Mark Lofgren (The Luck of Eden Hall) and Steven Delisi (Phenomenal Cat). 
Their self-titled, debut album opens with the lyrically topical “Uncountry” and the psych-folk track “Twonty” and, for the rest of the release, Lofgren (who fronts on “Uncountry”) and Delisi (who sings “Twonty”) trade off lead vocals nearly song for song.

The infectious “I and Julia” features Lofgren on lead, while “So Many Faces” (like “Twonty”) is a Delisi-fronted. Lofgren’s “Dorian Gray” is very reminiscent of his work with The Luck of Eden Hall (as well as his solo effort, The Past Perfect), while Delisi’s “Oven Mitt” has a nice psychedelic intro and playful, homespun lyrics.

“Not My Love” finds Lofgren in an introspective space (think Nick Drake or Elliot Smith), while the album’s closing cuts, “Kissimmee”and “Star Lounge,” move effortlessly from jazzy indie rock to breathless dream pop.

As a group, The Thin Cherries is rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Darren Shepherd, keyboardist Birdie Soti and drummer Gabriel Palomo but the album is really a showcase for the Lofgren-Delisi partnership. Let’s hope that this musical marriage continues to bear magical fruit.

Bobby Harrison

Saturday, 12 August 2017, 19:58 | Category : Podcasts
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Bobby Harrison of Procol Harum, Freedom and Snafu joins Jason Barnard to talk about his legendary career in rock music.bobby harrison

  1. Snafu – Don’t Keep Me Wondering (Live Nottingham 1976, Angel Air, 2017)
  2. Snafu – Long Gone (Live Nottingham 1976, Angel Air, 2017)
  3. The Golden Apples Of The Sun – The Monkey Time (Single A-side, Immediate, 1965)
  4. Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (unreleased stereo version, rec 1967) (30th Anniversary Anthology, Westside, 1997)
  5. Procol Harum – Homburg (Single A-side, Regal Zonophone, 1967)
  6. Freedom – To Be Free (Nerosubianco, Atlantic – Italy, 1969)
  7. Freedom – Frustrated Women (Freedom, Probe, 1970)
  8. Freedom – Going Down (Is More Than A Word, Vertigo, 1972)
  9. Snafu – Drowning In The Sea Of Love (Snafu, WMA, 1973)
  10. Bobby Harrison – King Of The Night (Funkist, Capitol, 1975)
  11. Nobody’s Business – Bleed Me Dry (Nobody’s Business, Columbia – Japan, 1978)
  12. Bobby Harrison, Mezzoforte – It’s Over (Solid Silver, BAT, 1987)
  13. Snafu – Long Legged Woman (Live Nottingham 1976, Angel Air, 2017)

Hear music from Bobby’s 50 year career including three tracks from his new album Snafu – Live Nottingham 1976, out now on Angel Air.

Joss Cope – Unrequited Lullabies

Saturday, 12 August 2017, 12:06 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

Joss Cope is arguably best known musically for his contributions to brother Julian’s landmark albums ‘Fried’ and ‘St Julian’, and later releases on the Creation label as part of Something Pretty Beautiful. His new album ‘Unrequited Lullabies’ English post-punk psychedelic sound shares much with these 80s indie landmarks.

Despite it’s anglophile nature the album was recorded in Finland – the core of his band are a trio of top Helsinki musicians: guitarist Veli-Pekka Oinonen (Nights of Iguana, Leningrad Cowboys), bassist Esa Lehporturo and percussionist Ville Raasakka. Ireland’s O’Reilly O’Rourke (ex-Freak Outburst) originally from Ireland features on keyboards.

Starting with ‘Learn to Fly’ its roller coaster of pop hooks are fitting for its music video.

Other highlights include the observational ‘Scales Falling’, off kilter ballad ‘Your Broken Heart Is Not For Sale’ and the every-day lyrical psychedelia of ‘Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere’.

Closing with the Barrettesque ‘Streaming’, Joss closes ‘Unrequited Lullabies’ as strong as it starts:

Lotte Kestner – Off White

Saturday, 5 August 2017, 20:08 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

Four years ago Anna-Lynne Williams under the Lotte Kestner moniker recorded one of my favourite albums ‘The Bluebird of Happiness’. A window on her soul, its delicate dark folk signature was a record that most artists could not reach, let alone surpass.

Since then Anna-Lynne has released a couple of excellent albums of electronica as part of the duo Ormonde and a host of superbly selected covers. What we see with her new release is a host of tracks that sit well alongside ‘Bluebird’ and her recent material.

Lotte Kestner Off White

Tracks to highlight include opener melancholic love song ‘Secret Longitude’, the elegant string laden ‘Have You Sailed Home’, ‘Senses’, and the equally memorable ‘Go To Sleep Now’.

As a taster watch her new music video ‘Ghosts’, its haunting simplicity and lyrical theme of doubt laying down a marker for this superb record.

Lotte Kestner – Off White is released on 1 September on Saint Marie Records.