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ANDY BELL

Andy Bell & Masal

Tidal Love Numbers

    Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell has taken yet another musical detour, this time collaborating with Essex-based duo Masal on an incredible new album of ambient, astral jazz.Tidal Love Numbers is released via Sonic Cathedral on May 19, and is made up of four mesmerising, meandering instrumental tracks that combine Andy’s incredible guitar playing with analogue synths and harp.

    Andy’s history in Ride, Oasis and numerous other bands is well-known, and his solo career has also taken off; his most recent album, Flicker, was one of last year’s finest. Masal, meanwhile, came together in Leigh-on-Sea after a chance meeting in a charity shop.Al Johnson has performed and released records as Alien for a number of years now, while Oz Simsek studied classical harp while growing up in Turkey, before joining a jazz band. Since relocating to the UK she has worked with the likes of Viv Albertine and Gazelle Twin. The duo connected over a shared love of electronic and world music and released their debut album Charity Shop in 2020.The collaboration with Andy came about after they supported him at an Andy Bell Space Station gig in Chelmsford during Independent Venue Week at the start of 2022. They got chatting on the night, and bonded over Promises, the collaboration between Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra.“After hearing it, I felt there was something in that area for me, if I found the right collaborators,” says Andy, explaining how the hugely acclaimed 2021 release was effectively the starting point for this new project. “So, I was kind of on the lookout from that point. I’ve always loved the sound of harp music – Alice Coltrane and Joanna Newsom are both firm favourites – and so, when I met Oz and Al, it seemed like it could be a good combination.” “The moment Andy mentioned his love of the Floating Points/Pharoah Sanders album, I knew we were thinking along the same lines,” says Oz. “As a lifelong shoegazer, Al already shared a common musical background and direction, but we got chatting over texts and emails and very soon we were exchanging musical ideas.” Andy was inspired by the likes of William Basinski, Harold Budd, Ariel Kalma’s Osmose and Babe, Terror’s Ancient M’ocean, while Masal shared their love for Prince Lasha, Turkish prog and folk, medieval harp music and Guitarrorists, a 1991 compilation of outsider guitar sounds. The end result – sympathetically mastered by Andy’s Ride bandmate Mark Gardener – lands somewhere between Mary Lattimore, psych-folk guitarist Sandy Bull and Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon, with the four pieces subtly ebbing and flowing from pastoral picking to psychedelic bliss to noisy drones and back again, all punctuated by Oz’s heavenly harp.

    Despite their length, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and their stream-of-consciousness titles add to the sense of intrigue.

    “I wanted super-long titles like Felt,” explains Andy. “And I wanted to cram into them as much imagery and emotion as possible.”

    It worked – this is an incredibly satisfying trip; as focused and vivid as it is fuzzy and vague. It’s time to float away with the Tidal Love Numbers.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming
    2. The Slight Unease Of Seeing A Crescent Moon In Blue Midday Sky
    3. Tidal Love Conversations In That Familiar Golden Orchard
    4. A Pyramid Hidden By Centuries Of Neon Green Undergrowth

    Andy Bell

    Strange Loops & Outer Psyche

      Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell releases a new compilation album called Strange Loops & Outer Psych on February 10, 2023.

      The release marks the end of the campaign for Andy’s second solo album Flicker, which came out to great acclaim in February 2022, and rounds up 16 tracks from his recent run of three EPs (I Am A Strange Loop, The Grounding Process and Untitled Film Stills) that were made up of remixes, acoustic versions and covers of songs that inspired the album.

      The new CD release includes four tracks that weren’t included on the original limited-edition vinyl releases. It also includes his fuzzed-up cover of Yoko Ono’s song ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’ – which was recently given the official seal of approval when Yoko herself tweeted the video to her 4.5 million followers – and the majestic Maps remix of ‘It Gets Easier’, as heard on Lauren Laverne’s show on BBC Radio 6 Music. There are further remixes by David Holmes, Richard Norris, bdrmm, A Place To Bury Strangers and Claude Cooper, as well as covers of songs by The Kinks, Arthur Russell and Pentangle and five fragile acoustic takes on album tracks.

      “Almost a year to the day since I released my second album Flicker, here is a technicolour companion piece that pulls together the tracks from the EPs to colour in the edges of the record,” says Andy. “Influences, stripped down acoustic reworks and remixes by my friends, comrades and heroes all hopefully help the listener see where my head was when I made Flicker, but also it stands up as a decent listen in its own right.”

      The CD was mastered in New York by Heba Kadry and is sequenced like a mixtape, which makes for a proper listening experience. “Hatful Of Hollow is my favourite Smiths album, just saying,” explains Andy. “Thanks to everyone who supported my music in 2022, I appreciate you all, see you in 2023.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Liam says: Collating his three 10 inch releases from last year into a tasty little CD package, with a couple of extra remixes thrown in, 'Strange Loops & Outer Psyche' is the essential companion piece to Bell's fantastic 'Flicker'. With covers, acoustic versions and remixes, this one shouldn't be missed!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Sky Without You (David Holmes Radical Mycology Remix)
      2. It Gets Easier (Maps Remix)
      3. Our Last Night Together (Arthur Russell Cover)
      4. The Way Love Used To Be (The Kinks Cover)
      5. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix)
      6. Listen, The Snow Is Falling (Yoko Ono Cover)
      7. She Calls The Tune (Acoustic Version)
      8. Love Is The Frequency (Acoustic Version)**
      9. Light Flight (Pentangle Cover)
      10. Lifeline (Acoustic Version)
      11. World Of Echo (A Place To Bury Strangers Remix)**
      12. Sidewinder (Claude Cooper Remix)**
      13. Way Of The World (bdrmm Remix)
      14. World Of Echo (Acoustic Version)
      15. Something Like Love (Acoustic Version)
      16. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix – Instrumental)**

      Andy Bell

      The Grounding Process

        Stripped down versions of tracks from Flicker. “On my debut solo album The View From Halfway Down I did all of my promotion via Zoom and pre-recorded interviews and acoustic sessions,” explains Andy of the EP. “I enjoyed making the acoustic versions and decided to do some more for this album.” “‘Something Like Love’ is the most popular song from Flicker and one of the oldest, starting life in the ’90s. It’s probably the only one that dates back to the Ride era.“The riffs for ‘World Of Echo’ were written while I was on tour with Oasis, at the height of my La’s obsession. It went through a few iterations from then onwards, but never had a final melody until last year.“’She Calls The Tune’ was the first song I wrote after I joined Oasis, ending a period of writers’ block which I had started going through some time in 1999. The very first performance of it was to an audience of Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Richard Ashcroft in a Milan hotel room. No pressure! I don’t think I ever saw this as an Oasis song, but I have them to thank for the fact that I was able to write songs again at all.” ‘Lifeline’ was another riff I came up with while on tour with Oasis. I remember being on a UK tour with Shack, and sitting around backstage on acoustics with Mick and John Head jamming around the Simon & Garfunkel version of ‘Scarborough Fair’. The riff for ‘Lifeline’ followed soon after. It was always called ‘Lifeline’ but I never found the right lyric for it until recently.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: The Grounding Process has some of the lesser well known (but equally superb) pieces in the Andy Bell canon, being written while on the road and in various cities around the world. Another lovely addition to the discography.

        TRACK LISTING

        A1. Something Like Love
        A2. World Of Echo
        B1. She Calls The Tune
        B2. Lifeline

        Andy Bell

        Untitled Film Stills

          Songs that inspired Flicker by Yoko Ono, Pentangle, The Kinks and Arthur Russell. “The idea was that I would be covering songs which helped in some way to colour in the edges of the picture of the influences that make up Flicker,” explains Andy.“The song ‘Jenny Holzer B. Goode’ on the album refers to a few of the female artists from the music and art worlds who I find inspiring, including Yoko Ono, so it felt right to include a cover of ‘Listen, The Snow Is Falling’, my favourite Yoko Ono song. “Pentangle’s ‘Light Flight’ came out in 1970, the year I was born, and I’ve loved it ever since I heard it on the 1997 folk compilation Transatlantic Ticket. “Nat Cramp, the head honcho of Sonic Cathedral, requested that I cover ‘The Way Love Used To Be’. I’d never heard this song despite being a big fan of The Kinks, but it’s lovely and it felt very natural to do a version of. All hail Ray Davies! “Arthur Russell has been a big reference point for all my music away from ‘band world’. There is something impressionistic and open-ended about his records. I guess you could describe the production style I’m trying for on ‘Our Last Night Together’ as ‘World Of Echo meets This Mortal Coil doing Skip Spence’.”

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: A lovely bunch of covers here seeing the light of day from the ever-talented Andy Bell. Yoko Ono gets the cover treatment as well as Pentangle's brilliant 'Light Flight'

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Listen, The Snow Is Falling
          A2. Light Flight
          B1. The Way Love Used To Be
          B2. Our Last Night Together

          Andy Bell

          I Am A Strange Loop

            “It was so great to see what came back when I gave these tracks from Flicker to various comrades, friends and heroes to play with,” says Andy. “They’ve given them a new technicolour life.” “David Holmes requested the opening track as he had formed a bit of a connection with it, and what he came up with turns the song into an hallucinogenic beast, taking pride of place here as the opening track but in a whole different way to how Flicker opens. “James Chapman AKA Maps has taken ‘It Gets Easier’ to a bigger, brighter and shinier place, he’s given quite a downbeat track a euphoric and epic sheen. James is an absolute master of electronic production and he’s taken the same care and attention over this remix as he does with his own wonderful music. “I couldn’t put Richard Norris’ lovely widescreen take on ‘Something Like Love’ better than the man himself – in his own words he found the ‘hitherto undiscovered sweet spot between ‘Roscoe’ and ‘Outdoor Miner’’ and he tapped into the melancholy euphoria at the core of the song. “bdrmm’s remix of ‘Way Of The World’ is one for headphones. There are so many great moments to love, all held together by a bassline worthy of Jah Wobble (by way of Andrew Weatherall). Astonishing!”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: 'I am a Strange Loop' is the first in the trio of Andy Bell recordings this week, seeing the hugely talented Ride legend Andy Bell reworked by a number of today's most renowned musicians. This time we get ambient legend Richard Norris as well as the brilliant bdrmm, Maps and David Holmes. Ace

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. The Sky Without You (David Holmes Radical Mycology Remix)
            A2. It Gets Easier (Maps Remix)
            B1. Something Like Love (Richard Norris Remix)
            B2. Way Of The World (bdrmm Remix)

            Andy Bell

            Flicker

              'Flicker’ is the second album from Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell. Written almost as a conversation with his teenage self, it follows the triumphant solo debut that was 2020’s ‘The View From Halfway Down’.

              This 18-track double album finds Andy moving towards classic songwriting, notably on the reflective lead single ‘Something Like Love’, the strident harmonies of ‘World of Echo’, the joyous refracted loops of ‘Jenny Holzer B. Goode’ and the fuzz-laden late-’60s balladeering of ‘Love Is The Frequency’. Stylistically, the four sides of ‘Flicker’ take in everything from modern psychedelia to fingerpicked folk, whimsical baroque pop, and Byrdsian 12-string beauty. It’s a breathtaking array and makes it even more abundantly clear that Andy has entered a purple patch in his songwriting, hitting a new velocity in contrast to his initial inhibitions about becoming a solo artist. He gradually overcame these after the passing of David Bowie in 2016, with the Thin White Duke’s bountiful 50 years of music providing inspiration from beyond the grave.

              ‘Flicker’ is also an apt description for the genesis of the album. At the start of 2021, Andy returned to the stems of the recording sessions he made at Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem Archer’s North London studio and added fuel to the fire, writing melodies and lyrics and turning them into fully formed songs. The same sessions were also the starting point for ‘The View From Halfway Down’ and this album picks up where that one left off, quite literally, with the very first words being “I was halfway down…”. This is the first of several playful, possibly intentional, references to albums and song titles that litter the record like a musical breadcrumb trail.

              As much as this is a modern sounding and forward-looking record, it’s also very much about looking back, something that is clear from the first glimpse of the front cover – a previously unseen outtake from Joe Dilworth’s photo sessions for the inner sleeve of Ride’s debut album, ‘Nowhere’.

              “When I think about ‘Flicker’, I see it as closure,” explains Andy. “Most literally, on a half-finished project from over six years ago, but also on a much bigger timescale. Some of these songs date back to the ’90s and the cognitive dissonance of writing brand new lyrics over songs that are 20-plus years old makes it feel like it is, almost literally, me exchanging ideas with my younger self.”

              This conversation takes place across ‘Flicker’’s 18 tracks. Essentially it advises us to stop worrying about the future and enjoy each day as it comes, embracing the crushing, unpredictable lows of life as much as the almighty highs of being in love. Some of it remains unspoken, taking place sonically rather than verbally: the album has a reflective, meditative feeling throughout, exploring many aspects of mental health, and the beautiful stillness of first single ‘Something Like Love’ could almost be a musical salve to the heartache 19-year-old Andy poured into ‘Vapour Trail’ in 1990.

              “The ‘Flicker’ I’m talking about in the lyrics is that flame that makes a person who they are,” explains Andy. “I wanted to find that in myself, so I went back to the teenage me – a technique I learned in therapy and have been doing ever since – and got some advice on how to live and be happy in the 2020s.

              “‘The View From Halfway Down’ was about turning 50 in a very weird time of introspection. ‘Flicker’ is about gathering the tools to equip myself mentally for life in 2022 and beyond – post-pandemic, post-Brexit, post-truth.”

              TRACK LISTING

              1. The Sky Without You
              2. It Gets Easier
              3. World Of Echo
              4. Something Like Love
              5. Jenny Holzer B. Goode
              6. Way Of The World
              7. Riverside
              8. We All Fall Down
              9. No Getting Out Alive
              10. The Looking Glass
              11. Love Is The Frequency
              12. Gyre And Gimble
              13. Lifeline
              14. She Calls The Tune
              15. Sidewinder
              16. When The Lights Go Down
              17. This Is Our Year
              18. Holiday In The Sun

              Andy Bell

              Another View

                Compilation album featuring Pye Corner Audio remixed tracks from 2020’s “the view from halfway down” Andy Bell’s critically acclaimed album + some unreleased acoustic versions. 

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: In a brilliant twist, Pye Corner Audio reworked a bunch of Andy Bell's tunes for a series of 12's recently, and the results were stellar, this Cd compilation sees all of those singles and b-sides come together for a superb meeting of minds and a wonderfully rewarding listen.

                TRACK LISTING

                1.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                2.Skywalker (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                3.Cherry Cola (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                4.Love Comes In Waves (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                5.I Was Alone (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                6.Indica (Pye Corner Audio Remix – GLOK Re-edit)
                7.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                8.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                9.The Commune
                10.Plastic Bag
                11.Love Comes In Waves (Acoustic Version)
                12.Cherry Cola (Acoustic Version)
                13.Skywalker (Acoustic Version)
                14.Perfume (Acoustic Version)
                15.The Commune (Acoustic Version)

                Andy Bell

                See My Friends EP

                  The two tracks from Andy Bell’s debut solo single reworked by Pye Corner Audio, with the original tracks remastered by Heba Kadry.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1.The Commune (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                  2.Plastic Bag (Pye Corner Audio Remix)
                  3.The Commune
                  4.Plastic Bag

                  Andy Bell

                  The View From Halfway Down

                    Ride guitarist/singer Andy Bell releases his debut solo album The View From Halfway Down on October 9. The product of a gradual, four-year process and finished during lockdown, the album was entirely written and recorded by Andy, engineered by Gem Archer and mastered by Heba Kadry.

                    Back in 2016, Andy was inspired by David Bowie’s death to be more proactive about finishing his songs, more confident about sharing them and to channel all of this into finally making a solo album. He laid down some tracks in former Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem’s studio, but got diverted when Ride’s live reunion blossomed into a full return. A run of two albums, an EP and two world tours later, it would take a pandemic to give Andy the space to complete The View From Halfway Down.

                    “I’ve always wanted to make a solo album, I’ve always said I would do it, although I never imagined it happening like, or sounding like, this one does,” explains Andy. “I’d been sitting on this pile of almost finished tracks, along with all the other hundreds of ideas that had fallen by the wayside since I’ve been making music. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to find a way to present it to the world.

                    “The album is not about songwriting. There aren’t many verses or choruses, because this album is about sounds, a listening experience.”

                    From the ecstatic psych pop of ‘Love Comes In Waves’, to the heady loops of ‘Indica’ and deeply groove-led ‘Skywalker’, the eight tracks mix summery melodies with soundscapes and studio experimentation. The end result sits neatly between Ride’s widescreen shoegaze and GLOK’s textured electronics, variously inspired by The Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beta Band, Stereolab, Neu!, Can, John Fahey, The Kinks, The La’s, The Who and the United States Of America.

                    As for the album title, it comes from a particularly dark episode of BoJack Horseman and a poem that scriptwriter Alison Tafel wrote for the penultimate show. The spoiler-free version of the story goes like this: “The poem describes someone committing suicide by jumping to their death and the regret the protagonist experiences when he sees ‘the view from halfway down’. Although, of course, it’s too late to change what’s going to happen. I read this poem as having a message of suicide prevention: if you could see the view from halfway down, you would never go through with anything that would end your life. I’ve never been suicidal, but I felt really moved by this brilliant poem when I watched the show during Ride’s US tour in Autumn 2019. It’s an incredible message.

                    “There was a small kind of a parallel with me, sitting at home in London in March 2020. In the early stages of lockdown, you could feel the tension in the air, causing what felt like a global panic attack. But, in common with what I’ve heard from others who can experience anxiety for no reason in their everyday lives, I felt strangely calm in the midst of all of this, seeing things in my life very clearly. Such clarity allowed me to finally compile this record. In a way, to see my life flash before me and be able to curate moments of it into a 40-minute listening experience, then find a title that would fit.

                    “My upcoming 50th brought everything more sharply into focus. If you imagine that my entire life was a freefall jump to my death, and you were feeling optimistic about me reaching 100 like my Gran did and getting a telegram from the Queen, this album would be ‘the view from halfway down’.”

                    So there you have it. The near death of a cartoon anti-hero and the actual death of a music legend, feeling the calm within a global pandemic and a musical turning point halfway through life all add up to one glorious, technicolour whole.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Love Comes In Waves
                    2. Indica
                    3. Ghost Tones
                    4. Skywalker
                    5. Aubrey Drylands Gladwell
                    6. Cherry Cola
                    7. I Was Alone
                    8. Heat Haze On Weyland Road


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