A voice appears out of a sound: a golden shape, a texture, a mixture of sunlight and sculpture. Music as spectral as this makes you lose yourself in the right way; deep in sound and light. Imagine the music of Sigur Ros, or James Blake, or Aphex Twin, but travelling somewhere else instead. As you do, pay attention as your eyes and ears adjust: open up, come alive.
Over the past few years, Phoria have become known for their colourful, visually evocative soundscapes with the release of two EP’s: 2013’s ‘Bloodworks’ and 2014’s ‘Display’. Top 5’s on Hype Machine, support from BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music followed – along with millions of Spotify streams. Now, they’re proud to announce their highly anticipated debut album ‘Volition’, out 3rd June on X Novo Records.
Phoria are headed up by the master of electronics and composition Trewin Howard, a deeply sensitive character in tune with his surroundings, empowered with synaesthesia and once afflicted with a mysterious - still undiagnosed - illness that left his senses frayed and mind on edge. Ironically, when this illness ebbed, it left behind an even more heightened auditory perception. He is joined by piano/synth player Ed Sanderson who he has known all his life and three others (guitarist/synth player James Cheeseman, drummer Seryn Burden, guitar/bass/synth player Tim Douglas), who he feels he has known forever. Phoria start to make sense with this strong backbone and incredible bond in place. At one point, they stopped trying to be a conventional band and started to be something else; they decided to be applied technicians in a self-created sonic laboratory named Phoria.
The new album ‘Volition’ is bursting with vibrant sounds throughout, from opener ‘Melatonin’s electronic washes to ‘Emanate’s organic clicks and claps, to the epic string section finale on ‘Yourself Still’, which brings a colourful parade to end the record.
Phoria's songs aren't what you'd call conventional. Trewin never wanted to be a storyteller - he says he subscribes to the model of saying very little to say a lot. ‘Red’ is inspired by a conversation Trewin had with someone about lying to people, while ‘Evolve’ is a mash-up of ideas about evolution and the future of society. The other songs on ‘Volition’ take in various themes in the form of: love, art, science, the way people touch and change and move each other, sex, mortality, scale, insignificance, morality, pain, joy, fear, obscurity, the surreal, the absurd, and beauty. The lyrics usually come out in one recording, altogether, and they feel whole, multi-dimensional, and real.
How strange it is that this group were called Phoria before Trewin's world was recast and reshaped - focusing on the importance of the senses, and how they can travel in different directions, in the first place. Phoria have always had a heart and pulse and soul behind them, and long may it shine: an epic core of friendship played out, played loud, deep in sound and light.
Debut album ‘Volition’
X Novo Records
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