Recorded at Phoenix Sound inside the world-famous Pinewood Studios – home of the British film industry and a location chosen by Michael Price as ‘a haven for me in a noisy world’ – December 17th 2012 marked his debut release on Erased Tapes in the form of A Stillness; a four-track limited edition vinyl including music sheets and downloads.
“When I heard what we had, there was only one collection of musicians and artists that felt a natural fit, and that was Erased Tapes. I’d always admired Robert’s artistic vision, and the way that he created a nurturing, collaborative environment around the artists he worked with. It’s a privilege to be even a small part of that.”
“I’m trying to create a small Stillness in a noisy, hyper-connected world. I wanted to make something personal and real, with musicians that I’ve known for a long time. Usually we’ve all got headphones on, chasing click tracks and fitting our performances to picture. It was time to get the headphones off, stop all the clocks and ticking, really connect musically and try to capture a moment. To be able to make something intimate and authentic in an often noisy world is a real pleasure.”
Erased Tapes has signed yet another talented modern composer. The label has done an exemplary job over the past few years, gathering them all in the same place. While Michael Price is the latest of these, the artist is no newcomer; without ever learning his name, most of the world already knows him.
Price is best known for his television and film score work, from music editing on The Lord of the Rings to full composition on Sherlock. But the production of scores is a commissioned job, subject to directorial whims: “we need more romance, more oomph, more subtlety here and here and here.” What a relief, then, to have the time to produce a short EP of original material under no constraints at all. A Stillness is a humble 4-track 10″ containing music sheets, a nod to the underlying artistry. Price’s intention is “to create a small Stillness in a noisy, hyper-connected world”. In 12 minutes, he weaves a sonic nest in which the busy notes can lay their weary heads.
The strings sweep across the sonic field in an uplifting fashion; it’s likely that Price had scenes in mind while composing, even if none were provided. Cellos and violins dance softly across a velvet floor, following the gentle guidance of Price’s baton. The listener feels comforted by their presence. Although the suites are short, they dredge hidden emotional reserves; the bittersweet “A Bridge” uses melody against extended notes to create a source of tension, while “A Reaching” shifts moods by varying the inflection of a four-note motif. In closing piece “A Tenderness”, a similar four-note motif softly yields to three, creating a lovely coda and betraying the composer’s cinematic roots.
We’re used to saying that a recording artist should consider writing soundtracks; here the hope is inverted. We’d love to hear a full-length album from Price, and trust that Erased Tapes is already expressing the same sentiment.
Phoenix Studios, Pinewood
Ralph de Souza