Paul Smith and Peter Brewis - Barcelona (at Eye Level): premiere

Listen to a track from the collaborative album Frozen By Sight, created by Maximo Park and Field Music members

When the world weighs too heavy on my mind, the internet feels too fraught, the sky outside too dark and that Rita Ora and Iggy Azaela track too utterly uninspired for words; I like to crawl into the warm bosom of the Brewis brothers. Whether it be The Week That Was, School Of Language or their covers of the Pet Shop Boys on 2012 compilation album Play, Field Music’s David and Peter imbue warmth and comfort into every piece of music that they so cerebrally craft.

I was very happy then, to discover Peter Brewis’ latest venture this week, which comes in the form of a collaboration with Maximo Park’s Paul Smith. The premise of Frozen By Sight sounds somewhat convoluted - referencing latter-day David Sylvian, Scott Walker, and Russian composers like Prokofiev as inspiration - but it sounds like a cool continental breeze, a car journey through the scorched streets of somewhere far, far away from the sullen skies of Sunderland.

Enlisting a small band and string ensemble, Brewis arranged a series of compositions that would soundtrack words gathered from Smith’s travel writing. “When I’m writing, it makes sense to try and document the world around me as well as the world within me,” says Smith. “Usually, I like to depict everyday situations but the focus of Frozen By Sight is solely my external world, taken from descriptive passages in my notebooks, written as I travelled.”

You’ll have to wait until 17 November for the album’s release - out via Memphis Industries - but before then we have the premiere of Barcelona (at Eye Level). What begins with the bare bones of song evolves into bucolic beauty. Dappled with the jazz inflected delicacy of Mark Hollis’ solo work, Smith depicts “distant hills” which “illuminate dark, flat clouds” before a soaring Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy-styled string section sweeps in.

Take a listen to the track below and let us know what you think.


Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

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