Luke Howard announces Dark Angels EP

(Photo Credit: Wilk – click to download Hi Res Press Photo)

Hot on the heels of his stunning All That Is Not Solid album of improvised piano pieces, and acclaimed The Sand That Ate The Sea soundtrack, Mercury KX are excited to announce a new 3 Track EP from composer and instrumentalist Luke Howard which reflects a new musical direction. The ambient, melancholy Dark Angels EP is a collaboration with fellow Australian composer Tilman Robinson with whom Luke has worked previously, on the single ‘Requiem’ (Secretly Canadian, 2017) and his recent Culturecide album (Bedroom Community, 2020).

The beautiful video forIntermittent Reinforcement’ was created by architect, designer, coder and artist Jessica In. Watch it here

The Dark Angels EP continues the collaborative conversation between Howard and Robinson. In the weeks immediately prior to the impact of Covid-19, the two artists isolated themselves in Luke’s studio to reimagine some of his pre-existing recordings. The resulting work is an exercise in stasis and highlights the duo’s respective individual practices: a vacillation between light and darkness. Angelic voices are contorted beyond recognition while organs are manipulated into layers of texture. Dark Angels is both mournful and hopeful, preaching cautious optimism to a melancholic world.

Luke explains the creative approach: “The EP Dark Angels explores the shadow and darkness that exists in all of us, and our relationships. I took the choir tracks from The Sand That Ate The Sea (sung by Shards) and treated them with a variety of electronic processing, to form the starting point for the tracks ‘Dark Angels’ and ‘Dark Ascending’. (The other track, ‘Intermittent Reinforcement’ – named after a pattern in behavioural psychology – is derived from a chamber organ piece from the same record.) So, in some sense, this is a remix record of The Sand That Ate The Sea, with the exception that the pieces are not intended to be recognisable, and that the remixing was done by the artist.”

In the seven years since his compelling debut album Sun, Cloud was released, Luke Howard has established himself as one of the most important and exciting musicians in contemporary classical music. The composer has been at the forefront of opening up piano music to a new generation, while simultaneously challenging the notion of what can be achieved in the form. He has twice been nominated for the Australian Music Prize. His 2019 work Beating Heart Stories featured stunning reworkings of his acclaimed album Open Heart Story. The same year, Howard’s first film soundtrack The Sand That Ate The Sea for director Matthew Thorne’s documentary about the Australian outback was nominated for Best Soundtrack at the ARIA Awards. He has worked on ballets with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and Atlanta Ballet. As well as his solo music, he leads The Luke Howard Trio and has made albums with jazz bassist Janos Bruneel and Grammy-winning trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis.

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