Composer, producer, classical violist, guitarist, and arranger to A-list pop stars, John Metcalfe has always been a name worth seeking out. The Appearance of Colour (Real World) presents Metcalfe as a solo recording artist – as front man, maestro and manipulator of sounds.
The album unites the disparate strands of Metcalfe’s musical life to date. There are repeated string motifs that evoke the work of Steve Reich, moments of affecting solo piano, elements of drum and bass, and of chamber music. Single-note guitar lines, influenced by Vini Reilly’s Durutti Column, are a prominent feature. Metcalfe’s tunes mutate effortlessly from introspective fragmentation to a calm landscape of sonorous noises; from rhythmic strings to expansive anthems. The Appearance of Colour may share some of the programmed perfection typical of contemporary electronica, yet there’s a ‘played’ feel that animates the tracks – the sense of musicians giving everything they have in the first take.
To create the album, Metcalfe enlisted the support of a small ‘repertory company’ of trusted collaborators, including drummer Andy Gangadeen (The Bays, Chase and Status), bassist Ali Friend (Red Snapper), pianist Tom Cawley (Curios, Peter Gabriel) and singer Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes). Metcalfe then meticulously assembled his arsenal of electronics, strings, guitars and layered vocals in his Oxford garage studio. The process took two years to complete.
“The music is inspired by many disparate things; among them a love of trees – their sounds and movements, dreams of flying and perceptions of colours for different musical keys. Additionally I searched for greater transparency between acoustic and electronic sounds and investigated the idea of ‘horizontal’ music – to create harmony and progression by using interwoven monophonic lines as opposed to ‘vertical’ chords. It’s music of big contrasts but through-composed and sonically unified with the intention to create a complete album with an intense emotional arc.” – John Metcalfe
The Appearance of Colour will be released on Real World Records on June 08, 2015.
The Artwork: Cover image by Kenzee Patterson (TX-21PS72AQ, 2008, Lightjet print mounted on aluminium). Taken from cathode ray tube televisions at the very moment they are switched off, the patterns and colours are decided by the scattering of electrons, and the random nature of the colour/composition is key.
Tracklisting CD: 1. Sun 2. The Silver Track 3. Just Let Go 4. Kite 5. Gold, Green 6. Parsal
7. Sycamore 8. Besancon 9. The Appearance of Colour