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MICHAEL PRICE

Michael Price

The Hope Of Better Weather

    Michael Price has announced a new album, The Hope of Better Weather - part reissue, part reworks - due out on The Control Room on 29 October 2021.

    The new album takes his 2012 EP, The Hope of Better Weather, originally recorded by Price alone in a room with a piano improvising, and brings it fully to life with the addition of a series of reworkings by Yann Tiersen, Bill Ryder-Jones, Malibu, Peter Gregson and Eluvium.

    He explains, “I wasn't trying to control what anybody else was doing. Everybody that joined in with the project gives their own little piece of freedom. I was really interested in what freedom we all give ourselves, as well as being fascinated to see what a little germ of an idea can mean to somebody else.”

    The five pieces, alongside these new reworkings capture a stark beauty, tenderness and delicacy in their tone. But they are also wind-like in their shifting, expansive and elemental essence - capturing an exploration of the natural world. “Nearly 10 years ago when I recorded these improvisations, I felt like I was missing the natural world – things like the weather, the beach at Scarborough and all those kinds of visceral things.”

    When Price revisited the work in recent months - at a time when many of us found ourselves more aware of the natural world - he reconnected with it in a way that looks to connect with his next artistic steps. “You start off with listening to 10 year old piano recordings and then you go through the reinterpretations of people looking at that material now through their own lens. The fixation with weather, coastlines and with people connected with nature, is really strong all the way through this project. Coming out the other side of it, it's kind of like a Northern weather feeling - coming out with your collar turned up with a hat on, a bit drizzly and shit outside, but with a kind of determination that is the route forward.”

    Most musicians, if they are lucky, will master one craft or field within their career. For Michael Price, he’s managed three, with his music spanning across piano, orchestral and soundtrack work. The soundtrack work - for TV shows such as Sherlock, Dracula, and Unforgotten, and films such as Eternal Beauty, Cheerful Weather and Just Jim – has seen Price win an Emmy, as well as receive countless nominations (including a BAFTA nomination). His work as a solo artist takes the form of beautiful improvised piano works, such as Diary (2017), or via lush, grand, hyper-detailed orchestral work, as heard on critically acclaimed releases via Erased Tapes such as Entanglement (2015) and Tender Symmetry (2018). His latest release, The Hope of Better Weather, is rooted in the piano world but also exists as a bridge crossing into new terrain..

    The process of putting together the release has been an emboldening and liberating one for Price, and he finds himself feeling buoyant about the possibilities of what lies ahead – which includes a new solo orchestral album. “It is super freeing and liberating,” he says. “There's these little green shoots of a freedom emerging.”

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A

    1. The Anatomy Of Clouds
    2. Breaking The Horizon
    3. Reflected In The Waves
    4. In Spite Of The Weather (Bill Ryder-Jones Re-imagining)
    5. Breaking The Horizon (Eluvium Broken Mix)

    Side B

    1. The Warmth Of The Sun (Peter Gregson Duet)
    2. The Anatomy Of Clouds (Yann Tiersen Remix)
    3. The Anatomy Of Clouds (Malibu Sweet Hereafter Remix)

    Michael Price

    Eternal Beauty - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

      Michael Price, one of the UK’s most sought after composers (Unforgotten, Sherlock, Dracula), releases the original soundtrack from director Craig Roberts’ (Submarine, Just Jim) latest feature Eternal Beauty, starring Sally Hawkins.

      The Eternal Beauty soundtrack will be released on vinyl as the 73rd Dinked Edition, exclusive to the Dinked network of the UK’s best independent record shops.

      The 16 track Première edition LP - exclusive to the Dinked network - is a limited edition on blue vinyl with multi-colour splatter and includes a signed and numbered print.

      It becomes available to pre-order from October 2nd, coinciding with the cinema release and on demand première of the film. It will also be available exclusively on Bandcamp from the same date, before arriving on all other digital platforms in November.

      Recorded and mixed by Andrew Dudman at Abbey Road Studios and The Control Room.
      Mastered by Oli Morgan at Abbey Road Mastering.

      Price’s score, as his so often do, serves as a narrator, a character helping to guide us through the true highs and lows of Jane’s (Sally Hawkins) rarely uneventful life. Price’s signature sweeping strings, underpinned by piano and a beautifully restrained use of sound design ensures that whilst the score drives the story forwards it never distracts from that which is unfolding before our eyes.

      “A soundtrack that provides the rocket fuel for a story that unzips our understanding of ’normal’ " Adrian Bates, Eternal Beauty Producer

      When Jane (Sally Hawkins) is dumped at the altar she has a breakdown and spirals into a chaotic world, where love (both real and imagined) and family relationships collide with touching and humorous consequences.

      The reality we see through Jane’s eyes is vividly different, heightened in the film by the stylized palette, camera work and intoxicating score - a reality that the film celebrates and treats with dignity, humour and affection.

      On writing the music, Michael Price explains:

      "Finding a musical voice for Jane was a little daunting at first. Craig Roberts' kaleidoscopic writing, and Sally Hawkins' blazing performance seemed to fill so much of the air around me, that the first few notes to emerge were tiny and bird-like. In fact, there is literally bird-song, an Irish nightingale, that stayed in the score, early in the film when Jane sits and feeds the pigeons in the park. That became a key to unlocking Jane's interior world, as did using snippets of her vocalisations, which became percussion instruments and stretched into more ambient pads. Once I had opened the door to her world, though, the music came tumbling out - rich, romantic, delicate and tender, and sometimes terrifying. All of it brought into life by the writing and performance, and the opportunity to celebrate Jane's "superpower", as Craig described it.”

      Shot in and around writer/director Craig Robert’s native South Wales, the inspiration for the character of Jane at the heart of Eternal Beauty came from people Craig was close to when growing up. He explains “The character came fully formed. I just kind of knew those people, to be honest.

      On the recording, Michael Price recalls:

      When we finally recorded the orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, I was touched to see that Craig had brought some of his family down to listen too. I think this is an incredibly personal film for him, and there was something about hearing the orchestra sounding majestic and noble, which seemed as if we had done musical justice to both the characters, and the people who had inspired their creation."


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: There's something inherently soundtracky about Michael Price's work for the decidedly soundtracky Erased Tapes records, so it's no giant surprise that this soundtrack of his for Craig Roberts' 'Eternal Beauty'. It's the perfect score, and displays wonderfully how talented a composer Price is.

      TRACK LISTING

      Side A
      1. A Walk And A Wedding
      2. Eternal Beauty
      3. Different Dose
      4. Where Have You Been
      5. Cannibals
      6. Beauty Pageant
      7. Marry Me

      Side B
      8. Pot Plant
      9. Unpacking
      10. Making You Better
      11. The Other Side
      12. Towards The Light
      13. Time To Go
      14. More Friends Than You
      15. Nice Or Really Nice?
      16. The End

      Michael Price

      Tender Symmetry

        Emmy award-winning composer Michael Price releases Tender Symmetry, his second album with Erased Tapes. The ambitious musical project takes in a series of iconic National Trust locations across England as its inspiration, turning them into unlikely recording spaces. Michael and a host of musicians and collaborators — including soprano Grace Davidson (featured on Max Richter’s Sleep) and Shards (the choir on Nils Frahm’s All Melody) — travelled across the country in pursuit of places far removed from the traditional recording studio to create seven unique and moving pieces, straddling the past and the future.

        The diversity of Michael Price’s choices ranges from the ruins of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire to the Fan Bay WWII shelter, cut deep into the chalk cliffs of Dover. All owned by the National Trust save one, each venue became both the inspiration and the recording studio for Michael Price and his accompaniment of renowned musical ensembles, choirs and soloists.

        "For Tender Symmetry, I stopped admiring and started participating in these buildings. This began as an exploration of writing and recording out in the world beyond the studio. I am interested in where we build our homes in an increasingly virtual world and the spirit of place we feel as we walk our local streets, our schools, temples and public spaces. Taking inspiration from a place, and the stories it told, then going back to that place to record, sometimes in less than ideal conditions, made the two-year adventure much more like shooting a film than making a record.” — Michael Price

        Acoustics varied wildly as the artists moved from places designed with sound in mind to locations which demanded the use of miners’ helmets for light and battery-powered sound gear. The final recordings carry the genuinely unique sonic blueprints and spirit of each place – from the birdsong in the courtyard at Speke Hall to the steam-driven cotton mill accompaniment at Quarry Bank. “When we recorded the piece at Fan Bay in the World War II shelter deep inside the chalk cliffs of Dover, Peter Gregson’s cello wasn’t at all happy with the clammy, dank conditions; but to be in the tunnels where young soldiers spent months on end, constantly on alert for incoming bombers, gave the recording an extraordinarily intimate, moving quality. At each site, the human mixed with the historical, and the natural environment of each space comes through with each piece. I tried to leave an imprint of each location on the record.”

        While each piece of music is named after the location in which it was created, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience courses through them as well. Soprano Grace Davidson sings Blake’s poignant words about nature, religion and the industrial revolution on several of the pieces including the astoundingly beautiful album closer Shade Of Dreams, written after the birth of Michael’s daughter. “The final piece, Shade of Dreams, is part of a group of pieces I wrote for the birth of our daughter, Emilie. It, like all the works on the album, takes its text from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, in this case, A Cradle Song. As much as Tender Symmetry is about the past, it is firmly about the future, and all our of shared futures.”

        Grace Davies, National Trust contemporary arts programme manager said:
        “We were delighted when Michael approached us with this project as it directly draws on the extraordinary stories and history of these special places. The sheer variety of sites that Michael has chosen has resulted in a collection of new music that is sometimes surprising, sometimes poignant, and – above all – inspirational. I am sure that audiences will be enchanted both by Michael’s music and our places that have inspired him.”


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Holding all the beauty of his inspirations' natural environments and brittle balance of ecological equilibrium within his pieces, Price fills the sonic room with delicate but grand strings, crystalline vocals and a breathtaking sense of organic space. Majestic and breathtaking, but imbued with a nerve-racking transience and innate delicacy.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Sandham
        2. Speke
        3. Willow Road
        4. Quarry Bank
        5. Fan Bay
        6. Fountains
        7. Shade Of Dreams

        Michael Price

        Entanglement

          “No click tracks, no headphones, and no film. Just the spontaneity of performance and the sound of musicians hearing, connecting and responding.”

          ‘Entanglement’, the debut album by Michael Price fulfills his long-term desire to explore new musical territories, featuring Michael on the piano, with the addition of cello, soprano voice, string orchestra, modular synth, tape effects and electronics.

          Throughout the record you will hear street sounds from ‘Budapest’ captured and processed on Michael’s mobile phone, as well as chamber music recorded direct to tape with vintage microphones in single takes. ‘The Attachment’ was partly recorded onto a 1940s magnetic disc recorder, which immediately connected the piece back to a pre-digital musical age. Many of the titles and underlying concepts behind the tracks come from Michael’s love of science and physics, and fascination with how science often can give us intriguing metaphors for human relationships.

          “Entanglement is a very personal expression of my obsessions: music, love, physics and the inter-connectedness of things. There is structure and freedom, chaos and control, and the beauty of ancient instruments set against impassive machines.”

          Collaboration and connection with musicians has always been a crucial element to Michael’s music making, and in ‘Entanglement’ the cello and soprano vocal parts were written specifically and directly for cellist Peter Gregson and vocalist Ashley Knight, whose expressive voice features on tracks ‘Maitri‘ and ‘The Uncertainly Principle’. The lyrics for both songs are Japanese poetry sung in English, dealing with age, loss and the inevitable fading of beauty. Michael wanted to further extend the sound world of Ashley’s voice with tape effects and natural reverbs, so that although the music could have been performed in any era, the interpretation was contemporary.

          ‘Entanglement’ was written over a period of two years on paper and by hand with Michael exploring oldest and the newest technology at Abbey Road Studios and Snap Studios in London, before most of the recording and mixing took place at Vox-Ton in Berlin. Joe Rubel’s involvement from the beginning of the project, along with Nick Hill, was crucial in bringing the ideas, intact and prepared, to the Berlin sessions with Francesco Donadello at Vox-Ton – a haven for creating music that can stand on its own, outside any era or genre.

          “I wanted to make an album that sounded like a dark, Berlin record store discovery from the 30s. Something that had timeless emotive power, and pre-digital rawness. Something that I hope would make a deeper connection in superficially networked times. I think there is a duty for artists to be honest, and vulnerable. Because then there is a possibility of real connection. Entanglement is both honest and vulnerable and to go through the two year process of writing, refining and recording an album has been more intense and more beautiful than I could have possibly imagined.” – Michael Price.


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