‘one thousand birds symphony is a majestic collection of symphonic compositions and arrangements mixed with field recordings of dawn choruses and solo birdsong presented in 5.1 surround sound, accompanied by original footage and digital art created by musician and producer GRICE.
‘one thousand birds symphony’ was created between March and December of 2020 deep in The Shire at a time of disintegration and emotional derailment where human activity was for the most part suspended leaving a deafening silence, a sacred space filled with intricate birdsong and the exquisite voices of a thousand feathered choristers.
“The philosophy of birds – their iridescence, endurance, vulnerability and strength and their musical integrity is something to behold. This music is dedicated to the birds, the true masters in the art of life (and flying). These are my letters from isolation and this my tribute to the birds. Their majesty saved me from myself and I owe them much. May there always be birdsong above the battlefields.” G
The compositions are enhanced by an iridescent cast of musicians who join the sonic murmuration including Richard Barbieri (sonic innovator from art-rock pioneers ‘Japan’ and keyboardist in Grammy award nominated band ‘Porcupine Tree’) who populates the virtual forest with his unique analogue bird sounds (created on the System 700) and Italian avant-garde, freeform jazz trumpeter Luca Calabrese. Sax legend Raphael Ravenscroft (Pink Floyd/Gerry Rafferty) and Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy (Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin) also make guest contributions, both of whom are sadly no longer with us.
‘one thousand birds symphony’ album reviews
‘This masterpiece entailed quite a sum of patience and intellectual creation in the formation of a majestic program of partial symphonic compositions mixed with actual field recordings of various birds and other nature sounds and brilliant electronically created sounds, then arranged around melodies and songs. Highly Recommended Big Beautiful Noise
‘This is stunningly clever, and to my mind a genius work.’ The Progressive Aspect
‘There are bewitching passages of avant-classical beauty, a true original’. PROG magazine
Bandcamp album link: https://grice.bandcamp.com/album/one-thousand-birds-symphony
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and producer GRICE has the highest of praise from the likes of Tom Robinson (BBC Radio 6 Music) and has gained recognition within progressive artrock circles resulting in successful collaborations with instrumental luminaries such as Raphael Ravenscroft (Pink Floyd, Vangelis/Blade Runner), Richard Barbieri (Japan, Porcupine-Tree) and more. He also has an impressive catalogue of his music used in documentaries and films including (BBC2 & BBC Worldwide: William and Kate – A Royal Engagement), Black Diamond films, MTV and MICA by Ismael Ferroukhi.
About Sound Gallery Studios
Sound Gallery Studios is a recording studio run by social enterprise Sound Gallery CIC nestled in the cultural heart of the city at Exeter Phoenix. Sound Gallery Studios provide audio recording and music production services for musicians, producers, record labels, music publishers, film-makers,TV & film production companies, book publishers, radio stations and advertising agencies from the UK and around the world, as well as music technology courses for the general public and youth enrichment programmes for young people at risk of exclusion. Previous events hosted by Sound Gallery at Exeter Phoenix include the State of the Arts, New Works for Lost Voices, Phoenixsounds, GRICE – Alexandrine album launch and the Analogue to Digital Music Expo.
In May 2020 Sound Gallery was awarded Arts Council Emergency Response Funding. This grant offered a lifeline during the pandemic and allowed the organisation to continue to support Exeter’s local music scene. Part of this grant was utilised by Sound Gallery’s team to create a new project ‘one thousand birds symphony’ which was conceived and directed by Sound Gallery’s founder and musician Grice Peters (GRICE). This new music and film commission was produced through remote collaboration between Sound Gallery and musicians during lockdown.
About The Bloom Festival
In May, Bloom 2022 will return to Exeter Phoenix as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The Bloom festival celebrates mental wellbeing, encourages openness around mental health, and showcases the arts as a powerful tool for wellness.
GRICE: Original concept, composition, arrangement and production
GRICE – acoustic & electric guitars, keys, piano, percussion, vocals, programming, sound design, bird mangling
Duncan Chave – sound design, bird warping and additional bird recordings
Eliza Carew – cello
Al Swainger – bass guitars, pedals, french horn
Fred Ehresmann – piano
Luca Calabrese – trumpet
Additional sonic contributors:
Richard Barbieri, Raphael Ravenscroft, Steve Jansen, Hossam Ramzy Marco Maggiore, Ondrej Pochyly, Jack Lawrence
Field recordings and filming by GRICE – (various locations in the Shire, UK)
Mixed by GRICE – Mastered by Duncan Chave at Sound Gallery Studios, Exeter
Original album artwork, design & video trailer: GRICE
Additional imagery: Dan Wiseman. – Judi Hawkins: murmuration footage – Maria Peters: bird research, bibliography and artist support.
Part of this project was supported by the Emergency Response Fund (Arts Council England). The proceeds from this release will support musicians whose mental health has been impacted by the pandemic and also a proportion will be donated to the RSPB.