Known for icy shades of electronica and boundary-pushing experimentation with sound, Phoria’s debut Volition (see below) was a masterclass in the art of intimate song writing, executed with incredible precision. The five-piece group have now returned with a surprising change of pace; new album Caught a Black Rabbit is an abstract contemporary classical album. It’s a record that reflects anxiety, turmoil, and loss, but one suffused with hope. It’s also been 15 years in the making, but one listen is all that’s required to convince you that the wait was very much worth it.
Here is one of the first singles from the new album, "Nouveau-Ne" that was composed to celebrate the birth of a bandmate's baby. A cinematic ode to new life, at a time when things are so turbulent it's the perfect song to bring you back down to earth and what's important, simple and stunning all at once.
"I wanted to honor the first ever baby born to a band member with a fresh, innocent piece. To capture the excitement of that new little spark of life. It was actually finished and sent to the hospital on the day little Evanny was born. Mumma, Pappa, and her tiny new ears all heard it together out of a crunchy phone speaker within hours of her arriving in the world. So touched! Imagine what nonsense it must have sounded like to her trippy little baby mind!” - Trewin (Phoria)
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PHORIA ANNOUNCE RETURN WITH CLASSICAL ALBUM
CAUGHT A BLACK RABBIT
Out November 13th on Akira Records
The five-piece group have now announced their follow up on Akira Records, Caught a Black Rabbit – an abstract contemporary-classical record – is set for release on November 13.
“The album was kind of unplanned” says band member Trewin Howard. “None of us knew quite what it would be until it was born.” Hauntingly there is a birth and a death stamped into it. ‘Nouveau-ne’ marks the arrival of the first baby born to a band member. And ‘Robin's Cello’ was written on a cello passed to Trewin after the death of its owner. “A girl I never met but came to know from the love of her family and the huge hole that she left in their lives.”
The musician suffered terribly from nightmares about the sheer infinite scale of the universe as a young child, he would lie awake in terror considering the enormity of it all, concepts too overwhelming for such a young boy. These experiences have undoubtedly manifested themselves within Caught a Black Rabbit. “If you're trying to express your love for the sublime, your awe in the face of intimacy and a sense of dynamic scale, you need the freedom to move away from formulaic song writing and have an unlimited pallet to play with. We've realised during the process that we love to hit people with a sense of perspective, from the intimate and sometimes claustrophobic human experience to the looming intensity of an infinite universe.”
Howard took time away from the internet and social media during the album’s creation for personal reasons, allowing only a small window each day for communication with those outside of the band. Without the noise and distraction, the musician was able to understand the need for taking life at a slower pace and stopping to look for the beauty within it. That beauty allows Caught A Black Rabbit to stand alone as a stunning piece of art, and a testament to friendship and perseverance. It balances the joy of life with death and desperation, and the fact that our time is limited. Of course, we should make the most of it, but we can do so by pausing to take stock.
Formed 25 years ago at primary school in Salisbury, the bonds that tie Trewin Howard, Ed Sanderson, and Jeb Hardwick together run deep. By the age of eight, Howard and Sanderson were playing violin and cello together; by ten, they’d formed their first band. They were joined by Seryn Burden in 2011 and James Cheeseman in 2016. Yet while music has been a constant in their lives, they’ve been guided by the principle of only releasing when it felt right. When it felt special. “It’s very hard to put together music that you’re really, really, pleased with,” says Howard. “That’s how it should be.”
Such an approach has left the band with a huge repository of ideas and sonic sketches. And it’s from this that new record Caught A Black Rabbit has emerged, a contemplative, melancholic collection of neo-classical music. It’s a record that reflects anxiety, turmoil, and loss, but one suffused with hope. It’s also been 15 years in the making, but one listen is all that’s required to convince you that the wait was very much worth it.
From the very beginning of Caught A Black Rabbit, when the quiet piano and mournful brass of Intro gives way to a sky-high bloom of strings, it’s clear all the turmoil was worth it. The record is a majestic listen that is by turns sad, wistful, and introspective. A sense of the past weighs heavily throughout, of old emotions mined for significance, and presented in as raw a way as possible.
‘Current’ is like witnessing the birth of a new sun. Uplifting and euphoric, it expertly pairs a hopeful, ascending piano line with swelling strings and a sense of hope. It proves that Phoria are not simply dabbling in this world, but have mastered orchestration and composition, and can use it to devastating effect.
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with an array of talented musicians including a 12 piece ensemble, and the return of founding band member Jeb Hardwick (who briefly departed after their debut), the pieces really sung in those hallowed halls. The band, at last reunited, understood the true value of their musical connection, which spans 25 years. “I’ve learned that we just have this shared vision of what music is, and what it should do to people. Whatever animal Phoria is, it requires all of us to release it.”