British Sea Power are by no means strangers to uncovering our rural history and culture. Their music has long been inspired by their rural surroundings, especially Sussex where the majority of the band are based, with one now based on the Isle of Skye. This connection to the land is reflected not just in some of their pastimes, Martin Noble (bassist) being a keen bird watcher and rambler, but in the projects they have been drawn to. They have played in Cornish Caves and in the highest pub in England: Cumbria’s Tan Hill Inn. In 2009 they scored the 1934 silent film ‘Man of Aran’, a docu-fiction exploring the real and staged scenes of human subsistence in the unforgiving environment of the Aran islands: splitting rocks to find precious soil, harvesting seaweed to use as mulch in potato fields, repairing boat hulls with oilcloth.
Whilst scoring high on lateral inventiveness their latest venture came as a surprise to some as they struck out into brass band territory. The brass band tradition is a fascinating one which has long been associated with industrialisation, the most well known being the colliery bands. 2014 saw British Sea Power touring Britain with full, competition-standard brass orchestras, including a sell-out night in the main hall at London’s Barbican Centre. They received outstanding reviews with The Independent calling it “beautiful… exultant” and London’s Evening Standard saying the show “reached great heights… an ecstatic response”. Not all welcomed the collaboration with Ian Gittins of The Guardian longing to see the band again minus their temporary playmates.
To commemorate these performances they are to release The Sea Of Brass studio album which will be available on CD and as a heavyweight vinyl double album. The studio versions of the brass arrangements were recorded with the Foden’s Band, a renowned Cheshire-based brass ensemble that was formed in 1900. Foden’s Band have won numerous international prizes, and in 2012 won a rare brass-band double, being crowned both British Open champions and National Champions of Great Britain.
The album is released on British Sea Power’s Golden Chariot label. Golden Chariot was the imprint for the band’s first release, the Fear Of Drowning CD, released in DIY style in 2001.
The Sea Of Brass project stems from a commission from Arts Council England, PRS Foundation and Derby Council and led to selections from the British Sea Power catalogue being reworked for brass orchestra by arranger Peter Wraight.
1. Heavenly Waters
2. Once More Now
3. Albert’s Eyes
5. A Light Above Ascending
6. Machineries Of Joy
7. When A Warm Wind Blows Through The Gates
8. The Great Suka
9. Waving Flags
10. No Need To Cry
11. The Smallest Church In Sussex
12. Lights Out For Darker Skies
13. Wooden Horse
All tracks are taken from British Sea Power’s previous albums including ‘Machineries Of Joy’, ‘Valhalla Dancehall’ and ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’.
Sea of Brass is Released 30 Oct. 2015
Pre-Order it via Amazon