Piano Magic, formed as far back as 1996. Since then, they've released 12 long players and multiple singles and EPs on a plethora of independent labels. For the past 6 years, the band has been made up of both English and French members, though their music has the unmistakable air of classic late 70's/early 80's coldwave. In 2001, they coaxed Vashti Bunyan out of a 30 year retirement for their album, 'Writers Without Homes' before further notable collaborations with the likes of Low and Cornershop and 'Son de Mar, 'a beautiful soundtrack for Spanish film director, Bigas Luna. Regular tours and festival headlines throughout Italy, France, Germany and Spain have paid off with a devout Continental following and magazine cover stories. For the likes of 4AD, Morr Music, Important Records and Darla, Piano Magic have made some of the most compelling, poetic, dynamic and romantic records of our time.
Piano Magic's 10th official album is indisputably the one to catapult them out of the "cult" status they've endured (and enjoyed) these past 12 years. 'Ovations' is clearly the Anglo-French group's most coherent, confident and dynamic record to date.
Typically for a Piano Magic record, it's a restless beast; a record that swings wildly between Marrakesh, Eastern Europe, Sevilla and early 80's Manchester without breaking sweat. Piano Magic have always worn their influences on their sleeves and this is no exception. The Chameleons, Joy Division and The Cure intersect with Turkish darabuka, hammered dulcimer, viola, cello, flamenco claps. Elsewhere, there are cold analogue synths, chiming guitars, mournful piano and industrial percussion.
Piano Magic's fascination with Eurasian percussion is, in part, much down to one of their biggest influences - the Melbourne-born, though World-wise, 4AD Records-signed group, Dead Can Dance. And it's no small coup that 'Ovations' features not only DCD's supreme percussionist/dulcimer, Peter Ulrich but also the voice of principal songwriter, Brendan Perry on two tracks ("You Never Loved This City" and "The Nightmare Goes On"). The reclusive Perry, himself, a very recent convert to Piano Magic's music was only too happy to sing with a group that by his own admission, were making "the most beautiful music" he's heard for a long time. 'Ovations' showcases Piano Magic at the dizzy heights of their songsmithery - romantic, emotive, dynamic, anthemic.
'Ovations' is released on Make Mine Music is a truly radical independent label, run and owned by the artists themselves. The artists pay for the manufacture and promotion of their own records and correspondingly receive 100% of any income generated. Other artists on the label include July Skies, Epic45 and Portal.