Ride guitarist and songwriter Andy Bell has released a second single from his new collaboration with Essex-based synth and harp duo Masal. An edited version of ‘Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming’ is out on all digital platforms today, and you can watch the video by Jean de Oliveira below.
This stunning piece of music was the first track they worked on together after a chance meeting at a show in Chelmsford at the start of 2022 and is rather perfectly described by Andy as “frozen glaciers of guitar and waterfalls of harp over fields of synth drones”.
Tidal Love Numbers is released on May 19 and will be available as a CD and digitally. There will also be a limited cassette version that will only be available at the Independent Label Market in London on May 20 and the show at The Social on May 21. It is made up of four mesmerising, meandering instrumental tracks that combine Andy’s incredible guitar playing with analogue synths and harp.
Andy’s history in Ride, Oasis and numerous other bands is well-known, and his solo career has also taken off; his most recent album, Flicker, was one of last year’s finest. Masal, meanwhile, came together in Leigh-on-Sea after a chance meeting in a charity shop.
Al Johnson has performed and released records as Alien for a number of years now, while Oz Simsek studied classical harp while growing up in Turkey before joining a jazz band. Since relocating to the UK she has worked with the likes of Viv Albertine and Gazelle Twin. The duo connected over a shared love of electronic and world music and released their debut album Charity Shop in 2020.
The collaboration came about after Masal supported Andy at an Andy Bell Space Station gig in Chelmsford during Independent Venue Week at the start of 2022. They got chatting on the night, and bonded over Promises, the collaboration between Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and The London Symphony Orchestra.
“After hearing it, I felt there was something in that area for me, if I found the right collaborators,” says Andy, explaining how the hugely acclaimed 2021 release was effectively the starting point for this new project. “So, I was kind of on the lookout from that point. I’ve always loved the sound of harp music – Alice Coltrane and Joanna Newsom are both firm favourites – and so, when I met Oz and Al, it seemed like it could be a good combination.”
“The moment Andy mentioned his love of the Floating Points/Pharoah Sanders album, I knew we were thinking along the same lines,” says Oz. “As a lifelong shoegazer, Al already shared a common musical background and direction, but we got chatting over texts and emails and very soon we were exchanging musical ideas.”
Check out ‘Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming’ – BELOW:
Andy was inspired by the likes of William Basinski, Harold Budd, Ariel Kalma’s Osmose and Babe, Terror’s Ancient M’ocean, while Masal shared their love for Prince Lasha, Turkish prog and folk, medieval harp music and Guitarrorists, a 1991 compilation of outsider guitar.
The end result – mastered by Andy’s Ride bandmate Mark Gardener – lands somewhere between Mary Lattimore, psych-folk guitarist Sandy Bull and Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon, with the four pieces subtly ebbing and flowing from pastoral picking to psychedelic bliss to noisy drones and back again, all punctuated by Oz’s heavenly harp.
Despite their length, the tracks never outstay their welcome, and their stream-of-consciousness titles add to the sense of intrigue. “I wanted super-long titles like Felt,” explains Andy. “And I wanted to cram into them as much imagery and emotion as possible.”
It worked – it’s an incredibly satisfying trip, as focused and vivid as it is fuzzy and vague. It’s time to float away with the Tidal Love Numbers.
1. Murmuration Of Warm Dappled Light On Her Back After Swimming
2. The Slight Unease Of Seeing A Crescent Moon In Blue Midday Sky
3. Tidal Love Conversation In That Familiar Golden Orchard
4. A Pyramid Hidden By Centuries Of Neon Green Undergrowth
Following the release of the album, on Saturday, May 20, Andy Bell & Masal will be DJing at the Independent Label Market at Coal Drops Yard in London and signing copies of the album on the Sonic Cathedral stall. On Sunday, May 21 they make their live debut at The Social in London with support from Richard Pike aka Deep Learning and special guest DJ Richard Norris. Tickets are on sale now.