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  Website: www.bent-world.com  
   
 
'Ariels', the new album
- out 13.08.04

"Nottingham duo Bent ditch the quirky samples for proper songs and the results are fantastic" - FHM

"The best thing they've done. A blissful mix of wistful summer songs" - Jack

Ariels Video
We've put together a video sampler for you featuring visuals used during Bent's Big Chill performance this summer.

1.) I Can't Believe It's Over
2.) Exercise 4
3.) Sing Me
4.) Sunday 29th
5.) Comin' Back

Use these links to open in an external player:

Modem - Broadband

Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills, aka Bent, never did hold much truck with received wisdom. From their earliest beat-nicking ways to last year's turn as deranged doctors on their sumptuous 'The Everlasting Blink' album, their musical map has always directed them down the road less well travelled.

Hence the curious box of delights that is their third album, 'Ariels'. It's the sound of Bent turning their backs on thrift store beats and junk shop samples for real music played on real instruments by real people.

 
 
BENT
Ariels
Release Date - 13th August 2004
Label - Open
Cat. No. – OPEN06
Web - www.bent-world.com
Distribution - Universal
   

Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills, aka Bent, never did hold much truck with received wisdom. From their earliest beat-nicking ways, when they wouldn’t blink an eye at half-inching a Nana Mouskouri vocal sample, to last year’s turn as deranged doctors on their sumptuous ‘The Everlasting Blink’ album, their musical map has always directed them down the road less well travelled.

Hence the curious box of delights that is their third album, ‘Ariels’. Whereas in the past Nail and Simon were happy to act the sonic fools, indulging their strictly (non-ironic) love of thrift store beats and junk shop samples. ‘Ariels’ is the sound of Bent turning their backs on such skulduggery for real music played on real instruments by real people. A departure of sorts it might be, but boring? Never.

“We just wanted more of a challenge,” the affable and jocular Nail proclaims. “Apart from samples being very expensive, we arrived at a different game plan from in the past.”

“We wanted to move on musically,” adds Simon, he of the spiky, perma-coloured barnet. “Working with musicians became more of an inspiration. It’s not like we’ve disowned everything modern though. We still like Luke Vibert as much as Motown.”

Seeking a consistency and cohesiveness that they admit wasn’t always readily apparent on their first two albums (2000’s ‘Programmed To Love’ and ‘The Everlasting Blink’) they sought out the assistance of Nottingham’s - their hometown - like-minded musicians; songs were written instead of tracks and in places guitar chords became the starting points for their recordings.

Decamping to the sleepy environs of Lincolnshire (“It’s as flat as a fucking pancake,” reveals Nail helpfully), they took refuge in a recording studio in an old chapel. Providing impetus to the project it was there that Nail and Simon, with added band in tow, began their distinctly fresh approach.

The net result is nothing less than remarkable. Far exceeding their desire to make “an emotional album”, ‘Ariels’ has a passionate and intense fragility that is all too rare in modern electronic music. At once it is joyous, dark, beautiful and brooding - not least in part thanks to the sublime vocal talents of Steve Edwards, Sian from Kosheen, Rachel from Weekend Players and longstanding Bent cohort Katty - bringing a human heart to a genre that in its synthetic state can oft seem cold and unforgiving. Indeed first track and lead single ‘Comin’ Back’ has more ideas crammed into it than most bands achieve over the course of an album. A sprightly little gem, it hints at chilled house but can’t quite decide if it’s samba disco, all whilst being underpinned by a delectable vocal supplied by Rachel and a yearning orchestral outro.

Yet whereas Bent’s first two albums made a virtue of being all over the shop, ‘Ariels’ is steadfastly cut from a different cloth. ‘Sunday 29th’’s gentle acoustica and haunting piano is Portishead if Bristol was bathed in sunshine and ‘As You Fall’ is the closest the noughties gets to replicating the Cocteau Twins’ crepuscular ambient pop. Elsewhere the emotive and life-affirming splendour of ‘Silent Life’ brings to mind a slimmed down Polyphonic Spree, the instrumental ‘On The Lake’’s effortless cinematic grandeur fulfils every melancholy quotient and ‘Now I Must Remember’ with its hazy and horizontal half-forgotten truths gives a lie to the maxim that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. And though plink plonk electronica, ‘80s pop and ‘70s AOR all collide on ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Over’ it still feels remarkably right. A fact that’s confirmed on the innately stunning ‘Exercise 4 and the valedictory ‘The Waters Deep’.

Essentially with its abundance of moods, textures and sunshine styles, it’s head music par excellence with no obvious contemporary parallels: a rare feat in these homogenous times, but then when the band admit to soaking up influences as diverse as Aphex Twin, Bread, David Bowie, Kate Bush and Maurice Fulton, what do you expect, Zero 7?

And with the duo having written and recorded the album as a band, transferring it to the live arena shouldn’t be a problem. In the past playing live was something of a necessity rather than a stated aim. No more though, a rapturous reception at this year’s Big Chill event in Prague confirmed that. And whilst it seems a shame that it’s only when acts play live they are afforded a higher degree of recognition, Bent have suffered in the past for their anonymity. Their music has soundtracked numerous adverts (Carlsberg, Vodaphone, Nissan, Inland Revenue, Absolut Vodka and Volkswagen Beetle) and appeared across TV on shows as disparate as ‘Six Feet Under’ and BBC gardening programmes, but such has been their fate, this hasn’t translated into the success they so obviously deserve. Strapping on the six-string and indulging those cock rocker fantasies should soon remedy that.

And yet talking of fantasies made flesh, their music has reached corners of the globe most could only dream about: naturally their downtempo moves and grooves has cropped up in every hotel lobby and bar across the world (Nail’s mates observation) but when your music touches the glamour-sodden Hollywood A-list cognoscenti you know you’re doing something right.

“Yeah,” laughs Nail incredulously, “apparently Nicole Kidman is a big fan. Last year she was going to make an album and the word was that she wanted us to produce it. Unfortunately with her commitments it hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t think either of us would say no to being stuck in a room with her for two months.”

Unlike the taxmen who in their own inimitable fashion turned up at Simon’s door one morning demanding £30,000 in tax.

“It was surreal,” he recalls, “because rather than being worried I just told them that in a funny way they owed me some money because we still hadn’t been paid for ‘Thick Ear’ being used in one of their adverts. They didn’t really know what to do.”

It’s reassuring to know then, that as much as Bent’s world is changing all around them, they’ll always remain a little, you know, bent.

Bent 'Ariels' is released in Ireland on Open on the 13th August 2004


Bent are back.

Tracklisting:
1. Comin’ Back
2. Sunday 29th
3. I Can’t Believe It’s Over
4. As You Fall
5. Silent Life
6. Sing Me
7. On The Lake
8. Now I Must Remember
9. You Are The Oscillator
10. Sunday Boy
11. Exercise 4
12. The Waters Deep


For more information contact:
Stevo Berube at Berube Communications on (01) 476 3603 or 087 244 2695 stevo@berubecommunications.com

 
 
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30th July - The Big Chill - Eastnor Castle
Following on from the huge success of the Bent Tent at last year's Big Chill event the boys have gone one better. They have been asked to headline the main stage on the opening night! Performing with an 8-piece band they will be promoing tracks from their brand new album 'Ariels' including forthcoming single 'Comin' Back' as well as new 'live' versions of classic Bent tracks such as 'Swollen' 'Always' and 'Magic Love'.
19th August 'Album Launch' Cargo - London
To celebrate the release of 3rd album 'Ariels' on 16.08.04 Bent will be performing at an extra special XFM Remix night. With support from man of the moment Mylo and including a DJ set from Nail and Simon this will be one night not to miss!!
 
   
 

Bent Biography 2004

For some inexplicable reason the concept of ‘growing up’ is always loaded with negative connotations. For growing up, or worse still, maturing, you may as well read going stale and getting boring. Musically, such aspersions resonate tenfold. In many people’s eyes - critics and fans alike - developing as a musician is viewed with the utmost suspicion lest it be regarded as an act of selling out and losing one’s edge. It’s utter tosh of course: why should an artist seeking to develop his or her craft immediately lose their spark and relevance? Nevertheless it’s a myth - something to do with punk defiance no doubt - that perpetuates to this day.

Thankfully, Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills, aka Bent, never did hold much truck with received wisdom. From their earliest beat-nicking ways, when they wouldn’t blink an eye at half-inching a Nana Mouskouri vocal sample, to last year’s turn as deranged doctors on their sumptuous ‘The Everlasting Blink’ album, their musical map has always directed them down the road less well travelled.

Hence the curious box of delights that is their third album, ‘Ariels’. Whereas in the past Nail and Simon were happy to act the sonic fools, indulging their strictly (non-ironic) love of thrift store beats and junk shop samples - witness the aforementioned Greek goddess turned right wing tragedy - ‘Ariels’ is the sound of Bent turning their backs on such skulduggery for real music played on real instruments by real people. A departure of sorts it might be, but boring? Never.

“We just wanted more of a challenge,” the affable and jocular Nail proclaims. “Apart from samples being very expensive, we arrived at a different game plan from in the past.”

“We wanted to move on musically,” adds Simon, he of the spiky, perma-coloured barnet. “Working with musicians became more of an inspiration. It’s not like we’ve disowned everything modern though. We still like Luke Vibert as much as Motown.”

Seeking a consistency and cohesiveness that they admit wasn’t always readily apparent on their first two albums (2000’s ‘Programmed To Love’ and ‘The Everlasting Blink’) they sought out the assistance of Nottingham’s - their hometown - like-minded musicians; songs were written instead of tracks and in places guitar chords became the starting points for their recordings.

“We wanted to create our own samples essentially,” says Nail. “Putting the album together was a similar process to the past but whereas we used to use samples from records this time we used real recorded sounds. There were bits of musicianship on the first two albums, but on the whole they were mostly the product of programming and sampling.”

And in their eyes, programming and sampling was becoming all too pervasive. The character and astounding quality which defined early do-it-yourself bedroom recordings was being replaced by cheap and featureless duplicates.
“Music is so easy to make these days,” Simon concedes. “It’s so easy to get a loop going on the computer. If you spend enough time doing it and what with the advent of simpler programmes you can do it with your eyes shut. I think with this album we needed to push the envelope in our head that bit more. The music was asking more of us. We could of course carried on fannying around with sine waves and prancing around as doctors but we just wanted to refine what we were doing and achieve something.”

However, central to the album’s genesis and gestation were the life-altering experiences that Nail endured over the last year. Not only was he really ill, forcing him not to set foot in a studio for three months, his daughter was born and to cap it all he got married. Well they do say things come in three’s.

“It definitely had some kind of affect,” a now thankfully recovered Nail admits. “I think it’s affected the music on an emotional level and it’s made me grow up: I’ve stopped arseing about. Most importantly my illness and everything else that was happening around me restored my faith in people. I saw the best in people and that can’t but change the way you are. In the past we had taken certain things for granted, but you can only take two things for granted in this life: death and taxes. It gave us a drive we probably didn’t have.”

Decamping to the sleepy environs of Lincolnshire (“It’s as flat as a fucking pancake,” reveals Nail helpfully), they took refuge in a recording studio in an old chapel. Providing impetus to the project it was there that Nail and Simon, with added band in tow, began their distinctly fresh approach.

The net result is nothing less than remarkable. Far exceeding their desire to make “an emotional album”, ‘Ariels’ - chosen because Simon liked the word, “it’s not pretentious” he claims - has a passionate and intense fragility that is all too rare in modern electronic music. At once it is joyous, dark, beautiful and brooding - not least in part thanks to the sublime vocal talents of Steve Edwards, Sian from Kosheen, Rachel from Weekend Players and longstanding Bent cohort Katty - bringing a human heart to a genre that in its synthetic state can oft seem cold and unforgiving. Indeed first track and lead single ‘Comin’ Back’ has more ideas crammed into it than most bands achieve over the course of an album. A sprightly little gem, it hints at chilled house but can’t quite decide if it’s samba disco, all whilst being underpinned by a delectable vocal supplied by Rachel and a yearning orchestral outro.

Yet whereas Bent’s first two albums made a virtue of being all over the shop, ‘Ariels’ is steadfastly cut from a different cloth. ‘Sunday 29th’’s gentle acoustica and haunting piano is Portishead if Bristol was bathed in sunshine and ‘As You Fall’ is the closest the noughties gets to replicating the Cocteau Twins’ crepuscular ambient pop. Elsewhere the emotive and life-affirming splendour of ‘Silent Life’ brings to mind a slimmed down Polyphonic Spree, the instrumental ‘On The Lake’’s effortless cinematic grandeur fulfils every melancholy quotient and ‘Now I Must Remember’ with its hazy and horizontal half-forgotten truths gives a lie to the maxim that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. And though plink plonk electronica, ‘80s pop and ‘70s AOR all collide on ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Over’ it still feels remarkably right. A fact that’s confirmed on the innately stunning ‘Exercise 4 and the valedictory ‘The Waters Deep’.

Essentially with its abundance of moods, textures and sunshine styles, it’s head music par excellence with no obvious contemporary parallels: a rare feat in these homogenous times, but then when the band admit to soaking up influences as diverse as Aphex Twin, Bread, David Bowie, Kate Bush and Maurice Fulton, what do you expect, Zero 7?
And with the duo having written and recorded the album as a band, transferring it to the live arena shouldn’t be a problem. In the past playing live was something of a necessity rather than a stated aim. No more though, a rapturous reception at this year’s Big Chill event in Prague confirmed that. And whilst it seems a shame that it’s only when acts play live they are afforded a higher degree of recognition, Bent have suffered in the past for their anonymity. Their music has soundtracked numerous adverts (Carlsberg, Vodaphone, Nissan, Inland Revenue - of which more later - Absolut Vodka and Volkswagen Beetle) and appeared across TV on shows as disparate as ‘Six Feet Under’ and BBC gardening programmes, but such has been their fate, this hasn’t translated into the success they so obviously deserve. Strapping on the six-string and indulging those cock rocker fantasies should soon remedy that.

And yet talking of fantasies made flesh, their music has reached corners of the globe most could only dream about: naturally their downtempo moves and grooves has cropped up in every hotel lobby and bar across the world (Nail’s mates observation) but when your music touches the glamour-sodden Hollywood A-list cognoscenti you know you’re doing something right.

“Yeah,” laughs Nail incredulously, “apparently Nicole Kidman is a big fan. Last year she was going to make an album and the word was that she wanted us to produce it. Unfortunately with her commitments it hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t think either of us would say no to being stuck in a room with her for two months.”

Unlike the taxmen who in their own inimitable fashion turned up at Simon’s door one morning demanding £30,000 in tax.
“It was surreal,” he recalls, “because rather than being worried I just told them that in a funny way they owed me some money because we still hadn’t been paid for ‘Thick Ear’ being used in one of their adverts. They didn’t really know what to do.”

It’s reassuring to know then, that as much as Bent’s world is changing all around them, they’ll always remain a little, you know, bent.


Bent 'Ariels' is released on Open on the 6th August 2004



For more information contact:
Stevo Berube at Berube Communications on (01) 476 3603 or 087 244 2695 stevo@berubecommunications.com

 
 
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