|Mark Gardener & Robin Guthrie|
Mark Gardener & Robin Guthrie — Universal Road• This is a most harmonious collaboration, at times affirming — 'Yesterdays News', exuberant — 'Dice', reflective — 'Sometime', striking — 'Old Friend' and quietly epic — 'Blind'. Gardener’s vocals have rarely sounded better than they do on Universal Road, his layered harmonies are a particular highlight. Guthrie’s lush sound and alluring guitar arrangements and melodies are seamlessly interwoven throughout, deftly accentuating the emotional content of the songs. Effortlessly assured, poised, and graceful, this an album whose many charms unfold and reward over repeated listens.
• It’s an album that defies expectations throughout, foregrounding songwriting over volume and pushing gardener’s voice to the fore on a poignant collection that more than holds its own against the storied catalogues of its creators’ pasts.
Location: Grangemouth, Scotland ~~ Paris, France
Album release: March 23rd 2015
Record Label: Soleil Après Minuit
01. Universal Road 3:39
02. Dice 4:27
03. Amnesia 3:38
04. Old Friend 3:41
05. Yesterday’s News 3:14
06. Cry for Survival 3:57
07. Sometime 3:35
08. Triumphant 3:05
09. Reason 3:20
10. Blind 3:54
℗ 2015 Soleil Après Minuit
• Written by Mark Gardener / Robin Guthrie
• Robin Guthrie and Mark Gardener are releasing a joint album together, titled Universal Road, on March 23rd 2015 via Soleil Après Minuit.
• Their duo’s former band’s work ought to give hints as to where a collaboration between the pair might lead, but this remarkable new album has it’s own chemistry and is an unexpected treasure from the two well established artists. The pairing of Guthrie and Gardener might, at first glance, be expected to deliver a very particular brand of guitar–driven euphoria, however, Universal Road, defies expectations across ten tracks whose diversity is one of the album’s great strengths. This is a most harmonious collaboration. Gardener’s vocals have rarely sounded better than they do on Universal Road, his layered harmonies are a particular highlight. Guthrie’s lush sound and alluring guitar arrangements and melodies are seamlessly interwoven throughout, deftly accentuating the emotional content of the songs. Effortlessly assured, poised, and graceful, this an album whose many charms unfold and reward over repeated listens.
• At a time when fascination with the shoegaze movement of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s is enjoying a revival, whether it be through band reformations — including the forthcoming reunion of Gardener’s former band Ride — or adulatory documentaries — 2014’s Beautiful Noise — it can be easy to acquire a form of nostalgic tunnel vision. Guthrie and Gardener’s Universal Road leads us in a fresh direction.
• A mans work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. — (Albert Camus)
• All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience. — (Henry Miller)
• I was born in the early hours of 6th December 1969 in Oxford. On that night across the Atlantic in the USA the Rolling Stones were playing Altamont to a crowd of 400.000 people. Events at this concert turned ugly when a 19 year old Meredith Hunter attending the concert waved a gun and pointed it in the direction of the band boasting that he was going to kill Mick Jagger. Meredith Hunter was beaten, stabbed and killed by Hells Angels who were the security for the concert and this night marked a change from the peace,hope and love of those heady, high, hippie times to a night when all started to turn ugly and a night when many claimed that the hippie movement and the music died.
• I refer to this event on my birth night as I don't think too much was happening in Oxford at that time other than according to my mother a snow blizzard blowing and falling outside the hospital. The period of music prior to this event and the exodus of many timeless musicians to California has always and is still a constant source of inspiration to me along with many other artists and musical movements. I remember from the age of seven first being turned on to music by a couple of uncles who were also budding musicians, the first of which played me the album Surfs Up by the Beach Boys along with Eddie Cochran's "Come On Everybody", along with some hits at that time, such as The Stray Cats, "Runaway Boys" and Blondies "Denis Denis". My other uncle sat me down and played me "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart and this, along with hearing lots of random music being played at home usually accompanied by the industrial sound of my mothers hoover, definitely sewed the early seeds of my love and obsession with music, harmony and noise.
• After an uneventful and forgotten time at Primary School I attended Bayswater middle school in Oxford on a pretty horrible estate called Barton, which was an estate thrown up originally to house London evacuees, during the bombing of London in the second world war and is still standing today. At middle school I became a Ska "rudeboy" after discovering and loving the new Ska bands of that time such as, The Beat, The Specials, Dexys Midnight Runners and Madness. After middle school I attended Cheney comprehensive school in Oxford from the age of twelve until I left school and took an art foundation course for a year in Banbury in Oxfordshire in 1988. • During my Cheney school days I bought tickets and went to my first concerts in the New Theatre in Oxford and watched bands such as The Cult, The Damned and Big Country. At this time, from around the age of fourteen, I made my childhood dream and ambition which was to play and headline in my own group one day at the New Theatre where I was so blown away by my first live concert experiences. I never, realistically, thought that I would ever achieve this dream and certainly would never have imagined that within five years from then my dream would be achieved, singing and playing guitar to a sold out New Theatre with Ride.
• Going back to Cheney school days, it was there that I started to get to know Andy Bell and also there that I met Steven Queralt who was two years my senior and a class friend of my sister. The first time that I sang before an audience was in a school production of the musical, Grease. The guitarist in the show was Andy Bell and around that time we became good friends with a common interest in all things musical particuarly at that time, The Smiths, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie and Africa Bambatta and it was also around this time that I started learning to play guitar. By the time both Andy and I left Cheney school and landed in the same art foundation course together in Banbury we had made the first attempts at creating some music together which I played to Loz Colbert who was also on the course and had mentioned that he could play the drums "a little". Thus the seeds of Ride were sewn. Within a year we had played a few gigs and were then signed to Creation records by Alan McGee.
• This Ride period has been and is well and, at times, not so well documented. Studiowise, during this whole period and the various musical projects that I have been involved with to this day I sat, sang, played, smoked and worked alongside many sound engineers, mixers and producers, all of whom taught me so much.
• With the knowledge I have gathered over the years, along with an understanding of being on both sides of the recording process, I am now mixing and producing bands and musicians alongside ongoing solo and band shows, songwriting and guest vocals with "rinôçérôse" and many other musical collaborations that can be found and linked to on this site.
Birth name: Robin Andrew Guthrie
Born: 4 January 1962, Grangemouth, Scotland
• Guthrie currently tours live under the name "The Robin Guthrie Trio" consisting of himself, Steve Wheeler (on bass) & Antti Mäkinen (on drums). He currently works and lives in France with his wife Florence, their daughter Violette, and Lucy Belle, his daughter with Elizabeth Fraser. While most artists seem to have an eloquently written biography, filled with an abundance of superlatives, I thought for this website I’d try something a little different. As I write this it’s the start of 2009. I’m sitting in the offices of my studio in a small village in the north west of France having one of those 'how the fuck did I get here?' moments, as any middle aged man would probably have when asked to tell a few details of their life by an over–zealous web designer who is eager to get the website finally on line. Perhaps I should hasten to add that the website has been held up, these past few months, due to my apparent inability to write something about myself, after, of course, agreeing to do so in the first place……
There are a multitude of biographies available on–line, most of which make me seem a little more windswept and interesting than I probably am. Some of them have a few details of my life as even I would recognize them, but for the most part there are usually inaccuracies involving dates, places, credits, wives, releases, times, lovers, concerts, facts and children. Apart from those things, they mostly get it right.
• I grew up in Central Scotland and in 1981, at the age of 19, made my first album with my band at that time Cocteau Twins. This was undeniably pivotal in my progression as a musician and artist, although I had no idea of that at the time. Who would know that at 19? It certainly seemed a surprise to make a second record, but like any addictive drug, it’s not the first try that hooks you but the second. My path slowly unfolded in front of me allowing me to spent the rest of my life up to now producing a kind of music, which although highly personal, judging by the feedback I am given, seems to have touched people — a fact that can be both humbling and overwhelming.
• Along the way I have had the privilege to work with some wonderful people. I have been involved with making music, producing other artists, playing concerts, making music for film, making films, making mistakes, playing as a guest musician, having a record label, making more mistakes, building recording studios, hell, I’ve even had my life upturned by drug addiction and been taken advantage of by an uncaring and rapacious music industry. All of those things have brought me here, to this place. Goodness, there’s a book in there..isn't there just?
• Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s I experienced a whole lot of living, some of which I’d really rather not ever experience again, but most of which was rewarding and educational. I guess I was allowed the freedom to develop my own way to express myself with a guitar and a bunch of electronics which echoed the organic feelings that (my) life has been made from. The ability to express emotion with some wood, wire and electricity is something which has been somewhat of a gift as I don’t think I’m really that clever. If I was, I certainly wouldn’t choose the life of an artist unless I had the PT Barnum like skills of a Damien Hirst, or at least a feeling of belonging within the creative community. I have neither, but as I’m a grown up now I don’t seek the approval of others quite in the same way as I did when I was younger. Quite simply, I’m here, I do what I do, sometimes not really knowing why and that’s OK.
• With the exception of working with Siobhan De Maré as Violet Indiana, for the last few years I’ve been concentrating on instrumental music, some collaborative recordings, contributing scores to a couple of movies, playing concerts that present an instrumental soundtrack to animated film — something else I’ve become interested in making, continuing to produce artists that I believe in, traveling to many places never visited before and happy as ever to discover new ways to do what I do.
So that doesn’t tell you much really, does it? Well, hopefully my work speaks for itself. • It would be a little weird if at this point in my life it didn’t. So I don’t really feel the need too start listing all the things I’ve done, as traditionally a biography should do. But there is a lot of information in this website for those who seek it, especially in the discography section, which goes a little further into the details of past work than anything I’ve seen on the internet. My web log (I do so dislike the word blog) is something I started to do in 2005, essentially to overcome my fear of writing but at the same time illustrate the chasm which exists between the public perception of an artist’s life and the, sometimes absurd, reality. The news section hopefully will be informative, and the online store hopefully somewhere that is a preferable choice to purchase CD’s, given that they can often be hard to find in traditional retailers.
• So, um, yeah, that’s about it until someone writes something with more superlatives….
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|Mark Gardener & Robin Guthrie|