Details Restless Spheres
Blue States releases his long awaited fifth album ‘Restless Spheres’ on 9 September via Memphis Industries.
It’s been nine years since we last heard from Blue States, the moniker for the musical outlet of Andrew Dragazis. Recorded, produced and, for the most part, played by Dragazis at his Lightwell studios in Stoke Newington, London, Restless Spheres doffs its cap to the soundtracks of Budd and Morricone, to 60s Greek bands such as The Forminx, to German electronic pioneers Dieter Moebius and Michael Rother and to American minimalist composers Steve Reich and Phillip Glass.
Blue States began nearly twenty years ago with the young, movie soundtrack obsessed Dragazis writing and recording largely instrumental, electronic pieces alone at his parent’s house in Sussex. Music had always been around in his family, his father having been involved in the Greek pop scene of the 1960’s, jamming in Athenian clubs alongside pre-Aphrodite’s Child legends Demis Roussos and Vangelis.
The recordings found their way to nascent electronic label Memphis Industries, who went on to release a succession of 12”s including the smooth electro sweep of ‘The Trainer Shuffle’ and the filmic ‘Yé-Yé’ stylings of ‘Your Girl’. An album “Nothing Changes Under the Sun” followed in 2000 and having been critically lauded, became a surprise hit seeing Dragazis form a band, tour the world, remix Future Sound of London, work with Roy Wood and sign to XL Recordings. Subsequent albums Man Mountain and The Soundings saw Dragazis work with more traditional song structures (including Season Song, the title track of cult Zombie flick 28 Days Later) and collaborate with vocalists Ty Bulmer, latterly of New Young Pony Club, and old school friend Chris Carr.
2007’s ‘First Steps Into..’ saw Dragazis revert to working solo and heralded a return to his electronic origins with more extended, free form soundscapes. On ‘Restless Spheres’ Dragazis draws on all four of his previous albums to create something entirely different, an album imbued with a subtle majesty and hope filled melancholy.
Restless Spheres’ themes, for the most part, focus on the everyday, the finding of beauty in the mundane. Album opener Alright Here was written on a night bus ride through blinding city lights and features Eos on vocals and violin. Eos again contributes to D-Day, a song about the seemingly important days in our lives that are momentous to us and us alone. First single Statues introduces the beautifully crystalline vocals of Stockholm’s Mayasa, a song about removing self-imposed barriers and ‘closing the gaps between your head and your heart’. Beyond The White Light, featuring the vocals of psychedelic adventurer Toby Jenkins a.k.a. The Squire of Somerton, is a Sci-Fi concept song telling the tale of a worker in a future world who manages to escape “beyond the white light” from the machines that enslave him. Title track, the King Lear referencing Restless Spheres, again features Mayasa and reflects on Dragazis becoming a father against the backdrop of disturbing local and world events. Dragazis also refers to his nine-year hiatus, on ‘Hiatus’ naturally, and the penultimate track ‘Cable Ties’, a song about self-doubt in the studio.
Blue States then, return, with an album that finds silver screen scale and grandeur in the hopes, fears and doubts of everyday life.