STEVE BOWE
Soundscapes
(Bowe Music)

 

On his first album from early 2011, Finest Hour, U.K. guitar wiz Steve Bowe presented an instrumental guitar based / synth fusion album depicting the Battle Of Britain. A brilliant moment on disc in and of itself, that album is followed up by an even cooler and more rocking set of instrumental electronica, Soundscapes released late in 2011. Bowe’s guitar work was exemplary on Finest Hour, while the 2011 CD release of Soundscapes sounds somewhat more synthesized and keyboard driven. There’s still plenty of Bowe’s driving and super kinetic keyboard / guitar interplay but, at least compared to Finest Hour it sounds much more digitized and computerized. Track 2 here, the completely brilliant “Queen Of The Nile” sounds like Kraftwerk produced by Brian Eno circa early Roxy Music. Clearly the vast array of Bowe’s keyboard electronics brings the entire instro synth pop sound well into the now, but his musical integrity sounds like it was shaped by Eno and Bowie during the Low period circa 1977. It's rewarding to see up and coming artists with talents as worthy as Steve Bowe, committing to releasing replicated silvers of such intensely dynamic music. www.BoweMusic.com


mwe3.com speaks to STEVE BOWE about SOUNDSCAPES


mwe3: You released two albums in 2011, first Finest Hour and then Soundscapes. Can you compare the two albums stylistically and sound wise? For instance I noted Soundscapes was somewhat more keyboard driven and less guitar-centric than Finest Hour. And can you say something about any differences in the recording process between the two CDs?

SB: Finest Hour was something of a concept project for me, based on my pet subject, the Battle of Britain, as it was. However the integrity of the music is really solid and I am immensely proud of it. Generally it is more traditional in structure and sound than Soundscapes which you could call more experimental, although maybe only a little! Many of the themes and ideas in Soundscapes were actually conceived during the construction of Finest Hour but left out because either they did not work in the context or there was no room. So anyone who listens to one after the other may well pick up on some common elements, and this is also why Soundscapes followed on relatively quickly.

In terms of the sound, you are right, there is overall a more electronic feel to Soundscapes. I can't give you a particular reason for this other than it felt right for the particular tracks. I did, though, preserve a more classical sounding production for a couple of pieces, notably "Ile de la Cite" and "Caledonia". Beyond the obligatory guitar solos, most of the tracks do actually feature some element of guitar work, but it is subtly used or else twisted beyond recognition! I will always be a guitarist first and foremost, it's just that my chosen style of music sometimes makes it hard to bring it to the fore.

There was little difference in the recording processes involved, although since Finest Hour I had invested in a couple of new synths and this may have contributed to some of the more interesting sounds on the album! However what is important to me is to maintain accessibility in the music and so even though I keep using the word "experimental" this is all relative!

mwe3: Can you say something about the great Soundscapes cover art. It reminds me of a sci-fi flick and about how you create your incredible videos on your Facebook page? I noted the Soundscapes montage on YouTube and it’s really great.

SB: I'm really pleased with the album artwork, it was done by Chris Bray of Azhrei Art (azhrei.com) and he's really done a great job. Chris is an old friend of mine from my I.T. business days and has always been a keen producer of Sci Fi and Fantasy artwork. However I had to work hard to keep him from covering it with scantily clad women which are his forte as you can tell if you take a look at his website! He also produced the sunrise sequence you see at the beginning of the "Soundscapes" montage.

I take a small issue with you describing the videos as "incredible", they are pretty basic really! I make them with some simple video editing software I have invested in and I try to give the viewer something more interesting than a blank screen to look at whilst they listen to the music. But they do give me a straightforward means to establish a YouTube presence which is important these days for any artist. I am currently in the market for a video producer to hook up with in order to produce some slicker promos for my work.

mwe3: Are you planning to feature the Soundscapes outside of England, for instance, the U.S, Asia, other places? Will the CD be available on Amazon in the USA and I hope you're planning to keep making CDs as opposed to download only. You did a great job on the Soundscapes silver disc.

SB: Soundscapes and Finest Hour are already available worldwide on download through iTunes. Likewise the CD is also available worldwide through the BoweMusic website and Amazon, although it currently markets through Amazon UK. USA Amazon users can (and frequently do!) order it from there although it does mean international shipping costs. Soundscapes will, however, be available imminently through CDBaby in the USA on CD or download, in fact it may hopefully be there by the time you are reading this. I am also currently working on getting the CD available on shelf and/or order through record stores worldwide and also a number of other online retailers. Watch this space!

For the foreseeable future, I do intend keeping my albums available on CD as well as download, a big section of my fan base still prefers a physical product. Indeed I tend to buy CDs myself and then rip them to my iPod. It feels like you actually own something tangible then! You also get the liner and decent artwork which I think is an important part of the overall product that you just don't get with downloads. It may seem a slightly old fashioned attitude but so what, there are a still lot of old fashioned people out there so I don't feel alone. It obviously adds a lot of cost to the production but to not have a CD option cuts out a very big section of one's potential customers!

mwe3: What musical plans have you got coming up in 2012?

SB: As I have indicated before, I really want to get a live act together and start performing. It's the one big thing missing in my offering thus far and I get a lot of requests for it. That's probably the biggest single project for me but I also intend releasing a decent amount of new material over the next few months and hopefully a third album, probably in the spring. I'm also working on securing some licensing arrangements for my material to be used in advertising and media. It's a very exciting time overall with a lot to be working on!

thanks to Steve Bowe @ www.BoweMusic.com

 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com.
Send to
: MWE3.com CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 1999-2011
MWE3.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved