Duotone (the alias of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and live looper Barney Morse-Brown) releases his spellbinding new album A Life Reappearing on 4th May (via Garrett Brown Music). Today we have the pleasure of sharing the video for his first single ‘Martha‘ which is released today.
Like an alchemist, Duotone weaves a plethora of instruments of an epic orchestral power – including his pioneering and unconventional cello playing – with a masterful use of a looper for his gentle vocals, which wraps each song in a blanket of intimacy.
Duotone’s music is inspired by life, death and art. Whilst his first three albums, Work Harder & One Day You’ll Find Her (2009, GBM – reviewed here), the critically-acclaimed Ropes (2011, ECC records) and Let’s Get Low (2015, GMB), saw Duotone navigating his way through personal loss, forthcoming fourth album A Life Reappearing is inspired by a book of paintings by Victoria Crowe. The book charts the remarkable life of Scottish shepherd Jenny Armstrong and Duotone’s visceral response to Crowe’s art gave him the spark to create; the unexpected parallels between his and Jenny’s lives, and his reflections upon them, a wealth of material. The outcome is eight exquisitely-crafted new songs which muse upon the cycle of life and our journey from the dark to the light.
Barney learnt the cello at age six, he went on to study at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and to win a scholarship in baroque cello at the Royal College of Music. He has been mesmerising audiences around the UK and further afield since releasing his first album in 2009 including standout performances at Union Chapel, Birmingham Town Hall and End of the Road Festival.
In addition to his solo work as Duotone, Barney has performed and recorded with high-profile musicians including Syrian Qanun player Maya Youssef, folk illuminati Jackie Oates, The Imagined Village, Eliza Carthy, Chris Wood and multi-platinum award-winning artist Birdy, with whom he toured all over the world. He also features on The Self Preservation Society, currently a Featured Album of the Month on FRUK (reviewed here).
A Life Reappearing was written and recorded by Duotone at home, Borth-Y-Gest, North Wales and at Starling Audio, Oxford. Additional recording and mixing by Richard Neuberg at Strawhouse. Duotone performs vocals, cello, guitar (acoustic, classical and electric), percussion and bass; alongside Jane Griffiths on viola, violin and piano (on A Life Disappearing, Hear You Whisper, The Faintest and The Room respectively) and Adam Falkner on drums (The Faintest). Pete Thomas also guests on bass on Martha and award-winner folk artist Kris Drever sang guest vocals on The Faintest.
You can hear Martha and other new releases in our Spotify Playlist here.
Duotone Live Dates
14: South Street Arts, Reading
16: Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham
21: Eype Church, Bridport
22: The Lighthouse, Folkestone
27: Folk at the Foundling, London
28: Modern Art, Oxford
6: Musicport Mini Music festival
12: The Drawing Room, Chesham
Photo Credit: Ian Wallman