Benjamin Oliver: TOO MANY SWEETS

Benjamin Oliver: TOO MANY SWEETS

Birmingham Record Company
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Release date: 26 April 2024

Birmingham Record Company is excited to announce the release of TOO MANY SWEETS, a portrait album showcasing the work of composer Benjamin Oliver. The album is filled to the brim with filthy crooked grooves and shameless flirtations with the nearest triad, with Oliver enlisting the help of chipmusic composer Blake Troise (aka PROTODOME) to develop a troupe of bespoke low-memory synthesisers. Oliver uses these little beeping synths to explore his love for all things human alongside his intrigue for the non-sentient.

There is a strong jazz influence on the record, not only in the sound but also infused in Oliver’s ideology. His desire to explore the feel and sound of individual players and voices as keenly as the instrumentation itself is at the heart of his practice. This music is precise, deeply technical, with a strong invitation for performer interpretation.

Oliver’s relationship with 1-bit synthesisers, contemporary AI lyric generation and everything in between continues to evolve; having begun the journey with players and synths more in opposition, he is now looking to the machine as a direct collaborator. Both approaches lead to highly inventive and unique works.

Keyboard instruments feature heavily. Pianist Yshani Perinpanayagam performs Drip Feeder (recently selected for the British section of the ISCM); Clíodna Shanahan plays on the London Sinfonietta-commissioned A-Listers; and New York-based (toy) pianist Dorothy Chan features on the title track Too Many Sweets (when Dorothy met Blake). Oliver’s strong links with the Montreal contemporary music scene are represented by Ensemble Saxologie in their recording of new saxophone quartet Avalanche. The heart of the album is British soul sensation Hannah Williams performing Oliver’s AI-informed song cycle Love Letters, alongside a quartet of UK new music royalty from Riot Ensemble.

Benjamin Oliver is a composer, conductor and jazz pianist. His music has been performed by leading musicians including lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, Ensemble Paramirabo and London Sinfonietta, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as well as recorded and released by labels including Linn and Prima Facie. Oliver is Associate Professor in Composition at the University of Southampton. 



All recordings undertaken at Turner Sims, Southampton, except Too Many Sweets at MISE-EN_PLACE, New York, and Avalanche at Saint-Laurent CEGEP, Adrienne-Milotte
Hall, Montréal, Québec.

This album was made possible with the financial support of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Southampton Institute for Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton Web Science Institute and the Vaughan Williams Foundation.

Yshani Perinpanayagam - piano
Ensemble Saxologie
Riot Ensemble
Hannah Williams - vocals
Dorothy Chan - toy pianos
Clíodna Shanahan - piano

Drew Crawford - mixing
Newton Armstrong - mastering
Blake Troise - Synth design & build 

Catalogue number: BRC24
Release date: 26 April 2024