London is Daisy Bell's debut album. It contains ten songs they wrote to poems by the early Romantic visionary William Blake (1757-1827). They have matched Blake’s stark and evocative lines with imaginative, alluring music, ranging from atmospheric soundscapes to experimental, minimal electro pop.

 

Daisy Bell have named themselves after the first song to be performed by a computer, the 19th century novelty ditty Bicycle Built for Two, also known as Daisy Bell. The album London reflects both the playfulness of that song and the notion to have it sung by a machine devised to execute complex computations.

Electronics and toy instruments are a prominent feature of their sound, underpinning delicate vocal lines. They switch between soft and intimate music (Eternity) and a raw and vibrant wall of sound (The Fly). On stage, their imaginative use of acoustic and electronic instruments, live sampling, live sound manipulation and harmony vocals is completed by large video projections of the lyrics.

 

London was recorded by Sandor Caron at the Hilvaria Studios, the former recording room of the legendary Relight Studio in Hilvarenbeek (NL). Producer Darren Allison (Efterklang, Spiritualized, Amatorski, Belle & Sebastian) mixed and co-produced the album in his Triangle Studio in London.

 

 

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When appeals to reason fail, a plea from the depths of a desperate mind follows to get his opponent to stop what he is doing. All these approaches are fruitless, and the only thing left is a song. With childlike sincerity and a slurring voice that falters and slows down at every turn, the artificial mind sings “Daisy,” the last remembered shard from the first song he learned. Then his memory is fully erased. And with that, the core of his being, his identity, is gone as well. This scene from Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, A Space Odyssee takes its cue from the first song ever to be sung by a computer, the late 19th century novelty tune A Bicycle Built for Two, also known as Daisy Bell.

 

This is the name that the Dutch trio Evelien van den Broek, Dyane Donck and Richard van Kruysdijk have adopted. They combine a shared interest in musical applications of advanced technology with a playful use of toys, brightly coloured plastic megaphones to record and play back their voices, musical boxes, bubble wrap, creased and shredded through judicious filtering.

 

Daisy Bell wrote the ten songs on this album to texts by the visionary English poet and printmaker William Blake (1757-1827). In some of the poems they selected he takes a gloomy view of life, especially where he describes the grim poverty of people in contemporary London, and the murkier recesses of the human mind. Other poems are full of wonder as he makes observations about himself in comparison with everyday phenomena (such as a fly or a flower), revealing his unorthodox perspectives and thoughts. Even when allusions in his poetry elude straightforward interpretation, what stands out is his imaginative and evocative use of language. Daisy Bell have sought to match Blake’s imagination and expressiveness carefully in song and sonic tapestry.

 

Producer Darren Allison then took their sound manipulation to another level in the studio through a unique method he developed: using radio frequency oscillation to manually tweak the recordings on the fly. Like playing a theremin, or dialing in on the sweet (or naughty) spot.

 

Daisy Bell appeal to musical minds to enter their world with childlike wonder, and invite them to discover the abundant detail lovingly worked into the fabric.

 

René van Peer

Release date: 23 November 2015

Format: CD / LP / Download

Opa Loka Records (GER)

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