Globe Music Media Arts Release
UK Ambient Duo MASK’s Debut Album
Heavy Petal – The Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia
Collaborative Soundscapes by Sonja Kristina and Marvin Ayres
January 24, 2006
(Los Angeles, CA - November 21, 2005) - The old and the new merge as ambient melodies blend with electronic rhythms creating one of Britain's most exciting new performance groups, MASK. Their debut US album release, Heavy Petal – The Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia, finds cult icon/singer Sonja Kristina (Curved Air) joining forces with internationally-renowned ambient cellist/violinist, Marvin Ayres (Mille Plateaux) to produce a unique and experimental sound that cuts across generations and cultures capturing the powerful ambience of their live shows. MASK takes the listener on a journey of mystical magic, blending strains of ancient harmony with rays of futuristic themes and beats. Los Angeles-based Globe Music Media Arts, a cross-genre artists' label formed by acclaimed musician Eddie Jobson, will release MASK’s new album on January 24, 2006. For more information on the label please visit www.globemusic.com and for MASK please visit www.mask.uk.net.
MASK mix improvisation with seductive songs and beats, fusing elements of modern electronic music with classical, to breathtaking effect. Their performances interweave beautiful filmic imagery with visual atmospheres. In 2004 they searched for filmmakers to provide a visual compliment to for their music on recordings and at live concerts. They found a kindred spirit in Outerbongolia (Bongo), a radical environmentalist and visionary filmmaker, known as the filmic contributor to Coldcut and Pirate TV. Bongo’s visual interpretations of MASK’s songs resonate perfectly with their musical imagery. They are also collaborating with Davide de Angelis, who beautifully designed MASK’s CD packaging. He is the visionary artist, designer, author and musician, whose work includes designs for David Bowie’s albums Earthling and Outside, and the successful Bowie Web. MASK first introduced their immersive and spellbinding audio-visuals to leftfield clubs and festivals with VJ Dave Simonetti in 2004, culminating in an acclaimed performance at Glastonbury Festival in 2005.
The two musicians collaborating on Heavy Petal have each presented significant contributions to the world of music and creative production.
Sonja Kristina is widely acclaimed as one of the most dynamic performers, singers and songwriters ever to come out of Britain. As the lead singer of Curved Air in the 70’s, she was the undisputed pop cult icon of an entire generation of rock and roll. Kristina was regularly voted Top British Female Vocalist in music polls, and the memory of her lingered and led some of those fans in unpredictable directions. Phil Oakey recently recalled: "when I formed The Human League it was because I was such a huge Sonja Kristina fan, and I still am." Sting, in his autobiography said that Kristina was, "The beautiful ingénue who fronted the seminal art rock band (Curved Air) of the early seventies."
Before Curved Air, Sonja Kristina was a folk singer, first attracting attention in the "summer of love" 60’s. She toured the clubs and festivals, alongside Al Stewart, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Sandy Denny. She took time off to star in the original West End cast of the "tribal love rock musical" Hair.
Curved Air became famous for their thrilling live performances and pioneering musical styles. They were the first British group to be signed by Warner Brothers for an advance of over $5,000,000 in today’s equivalent. They toured the US with Jethro Tull, Edgar and Johnny Winter and BB King, and conquered the UK on their first major tour supporting Ozzie Osbourne’s Black Sabbath.
By 1977, after seven albums, they broke up. Kristina paired up with Chrissie Hynde (soon of The Pretenders) to record joint vocals for Mick Farren’s album Vampires Stole My Lunch Money. In the ’80s Kristina returned to acting, starring in several West End shows and on TV. She recorded with the legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker (Queen), formed a new band called Escape, and released her first solo album, produced by Nigel Grey (producer of The Police’s first three albums), and recorded a single with William Orbit.
Inspired by the acoustic revolution in the early ’90s, she released the albums Songs From The Acid Folk' and Harmonics Of Love with a band of new friends. The Acid Folk established themselves live and became Glastonbury regulars.
Seeking yet more fresh possibilities, Kristina then took time out to study for a Performing Arts MA. She studied Sound Healing and Overtone Chanting with Chris James and Jill Purce, before returning to record explorative jazz and musical theatre classics in a sparse, emotional and ambient setting on her 2003 album Cri de Coeur, co-produced by Marvin Ayres. After completing this album the two continued to record together and explore new musical ideas. MASK was born directly from this liaison.
Marvin Ayres has a rapidly growing reputation as a prominent and innovative collaborator in the world of ambient music. A talented composer, cellist, pianist and violinist, Ayres has recorded a stylistically diverse selection of ambient and ‘string design’ albums, as well as produced a number of sensual jazz and film soundtracks that combine his classical technique with free-form extemporization, exploring new sounds and concepts.
A founding member of cult band, The Government, Ayres has toured extensively throughout Europe and made solo contributions to other bands and artists throughout the late 80’s and 90’s, notably, Culture Club, Simply Red, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Neil Conti of Prefab Sprout. In 1999 he was signed to the avant-garde label Mille Plateaux as composer/producer, and released two ambient albums, Neptune and Cellosphere, to critical acclaim. Excerpts of these works have been performed live in an array of forums such as: Camden’s ‘Festival of Electonica,’ 2001 (with Groove Armada`s Patrick Dawes) and the inter-media cutting edge event ‘Sprawl.’
Marvin Ayres’ reputation as producer and performer came to the attention of fellow Mille Plateaux stable-mate Jaki Liebezeit (ex CAN), who invited him to re-mix tracks and tour with Liebezeit’s band Club off Chaos in early 2001. Ayres is currently commissioned by Einsturzende Neubauten’s electronica music publishers Freibank, and his compositions have been featured on four of Freibank’s ‘For Films’ albums.
In addition to his work with musicians, Ayres also collaborates with visual artists on audio/visual installations, which have been exhibited in major galleries and art houses in Europe and the U.S. In 2000, the prestigious ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) in London commissioned him to compose and produce their first ever DVD exhibition. The two works resulting from this were ‘Sensory’ and ‘Cycle,’ incorporating spatial soundscapes and psychoacoustics and were composed specifically for 5.1 Surround Sound. Marvin Ayres` collaborative film ‘Scape’ is to this day a permanent fixture on exhibition at The Tate Modern.
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For more information, photos or interviews, please contact Lynn Hasty at Green Galactic at 323-466-5141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.