Wednesday 12 June 2013

These New Puritans - Field of Reeds

These New Puritans - Field of Reeds
When I was sent this disc, I have to confess that my heart rather sank when I read of it being classically influenced. I have listened to too much music which exists in that awkward zone between classical, rock and pop but only succeeds in being bland. Thankfully, when I popped Field of Reeds into the player, I was immediately greeted with the distinctive tones of an indie rock band. Music which had a clear integrity and toughness about it, but also some interesting hints of other influences.

These New Puritans was formed by twins Jack and George Barnett and their friend Thomas Hein. Their debut disc Beat Pyramid came out in 2008, with their second Hidden following. During 2010 and 2011 they recreated Hidden in a series of shows which involved the Britten Sinfonia and a childrens choir, and represented their first collaboration with conductor Andre de Ridder. For Hidden Jack Barnett had taught himself to arrange and notate the brass, woodwind and percussion parts.

This interest has developed on this disc, and Barnett cites Stravinsky and Bartok as influences, but if you listen to the disc the sound is all These New Puritans own. The disc features a remarkable array of talent, in addition to the Barnett twins and Hein, they are joined by singers Elisa Rodriges and Adrian Peacock, the Synergy Vocal Ensemble, and an instrumental ensemble conducted by Andrew de Ridder. Other instruments include the magnetic resonator piano invented by Andrew McPherson

The initial recording sessions took place at Studio P4 Funkhaus Nalepastrasse in Berlin, with further sessions in London and the West Country. In another nod to classical music, the recorded sounds are generally in a raw, as Barnett admires the way recordings in classical music are not heavily edited.

All this makes for a fascinating mix. You can sit and pick out influences, but the overall feel as a distinctive and personal voice. The classical influence comes not from the sound world so much as through the depth of the orchestration and the very clear personal vision.

There are 9 tracks on the disc This Guy’s In Love With You, Fragment Two, The Light In Your Name, V (Island Song), Spiral, Organ Eternal, Nothing Else, Dream, and Field of Reeds. The disc was released as 12' vinyl, CD and digital download by Infectious Music on 10 June 2013. Further information from These New Puritans website.

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