NEIL MARCH

‘What marks Neil March’s music out from that of other contemporary composers is the combination of his avant-garde tendencies and pop sensibilities

Max Reinhardt, Late Junction, BBC Radio 3

Neil ESF Happy HeartNeil March is a British Composer & Recording-Performing Artist. He is one half of the Alternative Pop & Post-Soul duo Environmental Sound FoundationHe is also a moderator and reviews author for music and broadcasting legend Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net Listening Post. See Neil’s page on the Fresh on the Net site here.

Neil performed on the BBC Introducing stage at Latitude in 2017. He was made a keynote speaker at the World Music Conference in 2018 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts (RSA). He was also a speaker and panellist at Festival Live @ The Great Escape in 2019. In early 2019 his book The Independent Music Sector (2019) was published by Demerara Records.

Neil’s contemporary classical music is marked out by his use of environmental sounds not only for ambient effects but as actual pitched instruments of melody, harmony and texture playing alongside or juxtaposed against scored instrumental parts. 

View the video for Music To Plan Towns By (1st Movement) here.

View the video for Water (1st Movement) here.

Both of his solo albums and the intervening singles and EPs are available to download here.

You can also read about Neil March and find links to tracks videos news and information on his Facebook page here. And you can follow Neil on Twitter here.

NEIL MARCH & THE MUSIC OF SOUND

Neil formed The Music of Sound to play the BBC Introducing Stage at Latitude 2017 with long-time friends John Molloy (Mainframe), who sadly died in September 2018, and Mark Saxon. They were joined for the performance and subsequent recording of Water (1st Movement) by Mark’s sons Matthew and James.

BIOGRAPHY

Neil March was born in Hemel Hempstead of Welsh and English parentage. He had been due to study for a degree in music composition at Dartington College of Music & Drama at age 18 but a series of events saw him turn his back on the classical world; instead throwing himself into popular music genres. His pop music career included recording deals with Unicorn RecordsBluebeat Records (then owned by Bad Manners vocalist Buster Bloodvessel) and others. 

Among his collaborators have been members of bands like The SpecialsDexys Midnight Runners, Wham, Maxi PriestSleeper, Levitation, Julian Cope, Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors, Ace, Ultimate Kaos, Jools Holland’s Millionaires, Helen & The Horns, Mainframe, The Kimbara Brothers and Moving Pictures.

In 1997 Neil’s Acid Jazz outfit Junction 8 released the West Skyline EP via MSQ Music.  During this period he also played Keyboards and was songwriter and musical director for the British model-turned-singer Silhouette. He and drummer Darren Monson (Loose Cannons) spent the last three years of the nineties promoting a series of club nights around London playing UK Garage, House, R’n’B and Hip Hop.

Neil set up his own label Ravensbourne Records in 2002, launching the career of British-Montserratian Soul artist Kevin East and releasing a number of singles and albums over a five year period. 

Neil would eventually return to classical study in the mid 2000s at Birkbeck, University of London where he studied initially with David Sutton-Anderson and Paul Sarcich. Encouraged by David and his wife Avril Anderson Neil moved on to Goldsmiths, University of London where he obtained a Masters (MMus) and PhD (Doctorate) in composition, studying with Roger Redgate.

Between 2009 and 2012 he gave a series of joint presentations with pianist and dancer Marilyn Wyers focusing on the correlation between their research interests and her use of his music in her own work. The venues included Cambridge UniversityUniversity of MiddlesexGuildhall College of Music & Dramathe Barbican CentreSenate HouseSt Catherines School (Athens, Greece) and GoldsmithsUniversity of London. The pair also curated an international conference about the relationship between sound and movement funded in part by the Institute of Music Research (IMR).

In 2013 Marilyn dedicated an entire chapter of her book Sound Music & the moving thinking body (Oxford University Press) to analysing Neil’s piano music in relation to his use of contrasting strands of movement and stasis to evoke images and behaviours reflective of his living and working environment. She has also performed his solo piano work Diversions at venues across Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

In 2014 Neil launched the digital music label Demerara Records initially to release his solo set Urban Art Music before going on to curate and release the ground-breaking 3 hour long compilation This is Tomorrow Calling (showcasing works by 26 composers and a number of artists drawn from over 20 nationalities and 4 continents) in 2015 and then albums by a number of composers and artists including Guy Avern; Nicolas Horvath; Joshan Mahmud/Moda Trio and Jostein Fretland/Fivrel.

Neil’s music is published by Sentric Music. All his projects and bands record for Demerara Records.

Although primarily known for his recent work combining environmental sounds with notated music Neil has written a large volume of solo and chamber instrumental works including Perspectives which has been performed in a number of venues by his friend and pianist/composer Helena Gascoyne and Cello/Anti-Cello written for and performed by Alexandra Eichenberger. Live recordings of both pieces can be heard at https://www.soundcloud.com/neilmarch.

He is also happily married with a teenage son and remains a passionate supporter of Watford FC!

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