nedjelja, 6. siječnja 2013.

Marvin Ayres - Harmogram Suite (2011)

Marvin Ayres / Harmogram Suite

Počeo je 80-ih kao suradnik bendova Culture Club, Simply Red, Frankie Goes to Hollywood i Prefab Sprout, a sad sklada ambijentalne simfonije s 140 nasnimljenih zvučnih slojeva - holograme harmonija. 
Muzika za krečenje neba.

Marvin Ayres' Harmogram Suite is a six movement composition for cello, string orchestra and choir.
An accessible and compelling hybrid of contemporary Classical and Ambient music, Ayres' work distinctively evokes the Holy Minimalist purity of Arvo Part and the timeless textural experimentation of Brian Eno.

"Harmogram Suite powerfully argues that Marvin Ayres' string playing is one of the loveliest things one might possibly hear, and it's especially ravishing when presented in multi-layered form. And multi-layered it definitely is, as this six-movement classical work involved the overdubbing of 140 layers, with every instrument and part played by Ayres except for a choir that appears during the fifth movement. The title isn't arbitrarily chosen, either: as one might expect, Harmogram Suite is a hybrid term that merges harmonics and harmony with hologram, and the orchestral work very much embodies the multi-dimensional character of the standard hologram, albeit in sonic form. Presented in a two-disc CD-and-DVD package, the work was recorded in a 5.1 surround-sound format that's consistent with the holographic concept. Rather than hearing the material as if it's coming towards the listener, he/she instead feels enveloped by it, especially when Ayres' playing is heard in its fullest orchestral form." -

Many recording artists peak early, losing relevance as they age.  Marvin Ayres is the exception to the rule.  Want proof?  Consider some of the bands to which the artist has contributed:  Culture Club, Simply Red, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Prefab Sprout.  Each had their time in the sun.  But as their careers began to wane, Ayres was just getting warmed up.  In the interim, he delved into film soundtracks, audio-visual installations and ambient jazz.  And now he’s produced his most ambitious work: a six-movement symphony.
The most amazing facet of the current release is how contemporary it sounds.  Instead of being enchanted by the past – the downfall of many a musician – Ayres is fascinated with the future.  The 5.1 surround sound format is one symptom; this release sounds immediate and immersive.  More importantly, Ayres blends his experience in the ambient field with his love for modern composition in order to create an effective hybrid.  The meticulous recording process boggles the mind: 140 layers, each played by Ayres with the exception of a choir.  Even with surround sound, it’s impossible to tug the layers apart.  The strands stick together like cotton candy.  This creates the experience to which the artist aspires:  ”hologram harmonics”.  Most are played on a detuned cello, leading to what the artist calls “old notes hiding in new places”.  This is a wonderful description for the symphony, as it invites the listener to lean in, listening for these hidden notes like a birdwatcher straining to hear evidence of a rare specimen.
As the interaction between performer, instrument and environment are so important to Ayres, the artist would probably be horrified to learn that I first played Harmogram Suite in my car, then at home with the air conditioning on, and finally without the distraction of external sound.  Perhaps in some Cage-like fashion, such playback options are fitting.  Yet one gets the impression that Ayres wishes resonance for his suite.  These variables are mentioned in order to underline an important point: that one does not need the 5.1 surround sound (lovely as it is) in order to enjoy the recording.  As pure listening has become a lost art, it’s crucial to record pieces that can be enjoyed on the spot, and Harmogram Suites fits the bill.
The emotion builds quietly in the first movement, taking hold of the consciousness in the second.  Despite the presence of so many layers, the recording comes across as coherent; clear melodic passages step from the shadows, twirl slowly through suspended dust, curtsey and exit.  Certain passages lead to caverns, others to bright exits.  But the BOOM moment is saved for the fourth: a sudden, multi-dimensional effect rising out of silence, 31 notes that advance and retreat, creating the album’s most immediate segment.  When the passage repeats (in a slightly altered manner), it seems like a chorus.  This gripping series of notes elevates the entire suite, serving as its dramatic center.
By the closing piece, “Lament”, the listener has been led by the hand through layers of emotion like the Israelites through the Red Sea.  As the suite descends into appreciative mourning, it creates a sort of constructive catharsis.  The spiritual undercurrent of Ayres’ work can also be found in his newest project, Sacred Spaces, which honors the sonic nature of cathedrals, observatories and other settings.  The recognition of the sacred as a distinct force, apart from religion, provides Ayres’ work with an undercurrent even more valuable than the sum of its many parts.  - Richard Allen

The Harmogram Suite is the sixth album from the British modern classical/ambient composer Marvin Ayres. This two-disc CD-and-DVD package, recorded in 5.1 surround-sound consistent with the holographic concept, is in the best tradition of his diverse back catalogue of minimalist albums incorporating special soundscapes and psycho-acoustics. Harmogram is Marvin Ayres' term to describe his hybridizing harmonics, harmony and hologram. His initial idea for the piece was that the 'delivery' of sound (i.e.: 5.1, 7.1 Surround, etc) now seems to be almost as important as the 'musical' content and instrumentation involved.
With Harmogram Suite, Marvin takes his listeners on a hugely emotional and dramatic journey in a musical piece written in six movements, over-dubbed with one hundred and forty layers, with every instrument and every part, played by Marvin, excepting the fifth movement which utilises a choir.
During the recording process, different playing techniques, recording set ups and textures were used to produce an authentic full live orchestral sound. The result is a unique, modern classical musical sound composition.
It was at a meeting towards the end of recording the album that Marvin met with Martyn Ware (Human League/Heaven 17). So enthusiastic was Martyn about the piece that he suggested to Marvin that Harmogram Suite should be mixed in 3D, with the intention of giving live performances, in combinations of players and 3D Sound System Orchestra.
The release of Harmogram Suite comes as Marvin continues work on his latest project, Sacred Spaces: an ongoing and evolving performance/recording project, which visits both secular and non-secular places in search of the 'sonic beauty' of each environment. Locations include Bretton Chapel in Yorkshire, H.M.S. Alliance, Tate, Orford Ness, Greenwich Royal Observatory and Winchester Cathedral. Assisted by sound engineer Alex Siddall, Marvin's instruments are randomly tuned to complement each environment and microphones used to pick up the full ambience of the space once excited by the cellos, violins and violas.
His initial idea progressed from an unusual way of playing cello in the 'live' recording room: aiming towards being spiritual (in a non-religious sense), to discover how the randomly tuned cello 'felt and breathed' with the player and the environment and responding to how the instrument played and resonated in the live room, with the criteria to create warm, beautiful and vibrational sound. Marvin states: 'I found that by detuning my cello and improvising, it made the experience similar to playing a totally new instrument, enabling me to play with completely fresh ideas'. More about Marvin

Marvin Ayres is a producer/composer/musician that started out his career in the 80s and has contributed with artists like Culture Club, Simply Red, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Prefab Sprout, so far. As a solo artist Marvin Ayres has recorded a diverse selection of ambient, modern classical and “string design” albums as well as having produced various film soundtracks, sensual jazz and modern classical music in general.
His latest work “Harmogram Suite” presents a more ambient, atmospheric and rather emotive but also intense side of Marvin. It is a creation of ambient & modern classical soundscapes with cellos, violins and violas; a music piece divided in six movements, over-dubbed with one hundred and forty layers, with every single part played by Martin except for the fifth movement, which uses a choir.
 The different recording & playing techniques along with the recording set ups and textures did help Marvin to deliver a realistic, atmospheric & ambient orchestral-like arrangement… in a minimalistic point of view. The actual album was recorded in 5.1 surround-sound, consistent with the holographic concept and of course, it will make an impact to those who have the appropriate system to play it. Marvin proves that the recording procedures and new technologies are as important as the music compositions themselves. The CD is accompanied with a bonus DVD, which contains four music & visual works - two of them live - as well.
This is not easy-listening and for every time of the day or for all kind of listeners. It will require a small “ritual” so as to feel its deep, esoteric and dramatic ambient-psycho-soundscapes. You’ve been advised… proceed carefully… only for the bold ones and those who are fond of such “weird” music landscapes… -

Five Pieces  streaming

This is a short compilation of tracks taken from the albums Cellosphere, Neptune and Eccentric Deliquescence, plus a special preview of a piece from the 'Harmogram Suite'.

Eccentric Deliquescence    streaming

Combining elements of contemporary Ambient and Electronica with the influence of Holy Minimalist composers such as Part and Gorecki, over the last decade experimental cellist/violinist Marvin Ayres has created a unique and consistently strong body of work.

Ethereal strings, electronic treatments and meditative piano figures drift across Eccentric Deliquescence's haunted Soundscapes, producing another striking addition to Ayres's impressive catalogue.

" some of (Brian) Eno's best work, the atmospheres Ayres creates can comfortably blend into the sonic backdrop, they are also compelling pieces of music that can dominate and transport." - All About Jazz


Neptune  streaming

Creatively straddling the disparate worlds of commercial and Classical music, Marvin Ayres has developed a distinctive and innovative style, pioneering an approach described as Classical Dub.

Fusing Ambient and Classical techniques by subjecting his own solo cello and violin performances to electronic treatments, Marvin Ayres produces a unique and emotive sound.

'Neptune' is the graceful and intriguing follow-up to the critically acclaimed 'Cellosphere' and is available exclusively via Burning Shed as an enhanced CD including two films (a promo feature for the track 'Under Blue' and some live footage of Marvin's performance at the Camden Remix accompanied by a film made especially for 'Neptune').

"An awesome piece of music and a great follow up to 'Cellosphere'." - DJ
"warrants an in depth investigation" - Future Music
Grave Concerns
Morpheus Music Reviews


Cycle - 12 Sculptures For Re Cycling Piano Harmonics

Marvin Ayres' experimental and evocative soundtrack for the acclaimed DVD film Cycle.

Cycle has been screened at several renowned international film festivals and galleries, including Whitechapel Art Gallery, Leeds International Film Festival and London's prestigious ICA. Details of the film can be found at

Marvin Ayres on Cycle:
"I wanted to compose something that mimicked nature, as Cycle was originally conceived as a score for a DVD surround sound film installation, combining natural plant images with artificial life sequences.
I decided on the principle therefore, that the compositions would be based around the simple notion of tension and release, or, suspension and resolution of harmony. I also wanted to heavily incorporate extemporisation on piano harmonics.
For this purpose, two grand pianos were selected in different locations. One was recorded in pristine conditions on an immaculately tuned grand piano in a very large orchestral studio, the other on a slightly out of tune baby grand piano in an empty room.
After experimenting with various keys, I settled on clusters primarily rooted in pentatonic harmony. These were played in spans of continuous four octave sustained arpeggios, at varying levels of velocity and speed. Only the harmonics produced from the chords were recorded.
These recorded harmonics from both pianos were merged and re assembled in their pure form.

The integrated harmonics were incredibly resonant, and laden with overtones and subtle quartertones. The longer they were sustained the more the harmonics diffused into natural or 'emergent' transient and random melodies ­ almost akin to 'self assembly' motifs.

The disparate elements of the well tempered tuning combined with the relaxed tuning produced involuntary psycho acoustics which I processed and manipulated without ever varying it's diatonic origin. Although I had initiated the process, the beauty of the harmonic manifestations completely took me by surprise. "
Modern Dance
The Milk Factory
Noise Web
The Milk Factory


Recorded at the illustrious Air Edel Sudios, the project started out as a series of string-driven pieces, provisionally entitled 'Clusters'. In collaboration with its director, Marvin adapted several of these non-rhythmic soundscapes for use in the film 'Scape' (part of 'Sensory').
Subsequently deciding to input a percussive element (pursuing an 'anti-pulse' approach), a series of radical remixes based on the material emerged.
Fusing orthodox and off-kilter beats with city-scape cacophony, yet remaining defiantly ambient in its approach, Scape is a hybrid of music specifically developed for the DVD film 'Scape' and Marvin Ayres unique take on the art of the remix.

'Marvin Ayres offers a new experience, not only to the ear, but also to the eye.' - Eclipsed 

'A landscape recognizable yet alien - a visual rhythmic structure matched by the pulsing processed violin and picked arpeggios of Ayres' excellent and varied accompanying soundscape.' -  Grave Concerns

Modern Dance
Noise Web
Sea of Tranquility
The Milk Factory
Morpheus Music Reviews
Ebbra Della Strega
Chain DLK

Cellosphere   streaming

Originally released on Mille Plateaux's 'classical' imprint Ritornell to great critical acclaim in 1999, Marvin Ayres' 'Cellosphere' is a beautiful and hypnotic fusion of Minimalist sensibilities and unique Ambient sound processes.
Operating somewhere between the spiritual serenity of Gorecki and Part and the electronic adventures of Brian Eno and Aphex Twin, 'Cellosphere' features layers of organic strings filtered through atmospheric distortions and effects, sounding at once both familiar and utterly new.

Now exclusively available via Burning Shed, featuring bonus track 'Sensory', this compelling album remains as essential as ever.

More information available at

'stimulating' The Wire
'heady serenity' DJ
'thoroughly engaging' Foundsound
Morpheus Music Reviews
Grave Concerns
All About Jazz

Sacred Spaces

Marvin Ayres’s latest project is ‘Sacred Spaces’. The idea behind ‘Sacred Spaces’ is to use incongruous places for composition and performance and reawaken the inherent and/or dormant spirit residing in these unlikely locations. “Pilgrims in search of sonic beauty”. These include anything from derelict industrial sites to historical places of interest, (incorporating National Trust and English Heritage) and re-appropriating them for musical purposes.
‘Sacred Spaces’ is an ongoing and evolving project with recordings in different environments. The instruments will be randomly tuned to compliment the environments, and microphones will be used to pick up the full ambience of the spaces once excited by the cellos, violins and violas.
One element which will link all the locations will be the same series of notes which will be assembled to create one collective piece composed from the overtones, sustains and reverberations recorded in each environment.
The next location for ambient modern composer and musician: Marvin Ayres’ “Sacred Spaces” project is HMS Alliance, the historic WW2 era submarine, based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire, where Marvin and his sound engineer Alex Siddall will be composing and recording on Tuesday 6th December:
The intention is to return to the museum and submarine at a later stage and exhibit “TRUE 3D” surround sound installations of the compositions that were inspired by, and recorded there with possible live performance as appropriate. To accompany these journeys, the project will be documented with a film diary.

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1 komentar:

  1. Thanks u guys If someone here interested in making similar music I can share this sample resource