I Am The Manic Whale
Ben Hartley: drum kit, percussion, vocals
Michael Whiteman: bass guitar, bass pedals, 12 strings guitars, vocals
John Murphy: keyboards, murphatron, vocals
David Addis: acoustic, classical and electric guitars, vocals
Michael and David met at secondary school and have been making music together in various guises for over 20 years. They met Ben a few years later and John relatively recently. The first album, Everything Beautiful In Time was released in December 2015. Since then the band have undertaken a string of live performances, which have been very well received. Their second album, Gathering The Waters was released in October 2017.
I Am The Manic Whale are unashamedly a progressive rock band. Whilst making similar timbral choices to many of the great progressive artists, particularly Genesis, Big Big Train, Spock’s Beard and Neal Morse, I Am The Manic Whale is hopefully also able to bring something new to the table. Their intelligent thoughtful lyrics touch on a range of unusual and interesting subjects from a fresh modern perspective; from science fiction to the history of printing, from the decay of a derelict swimming pool to the mobile artistic and engineering creations of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, known as Strandbeests.
The Blackheart Orchestra
Described by Rock Society magazine as “One of the most extraordinary female voices singing anywhere” and by Genesis Legend Steve Hackett as “Beautiful, powerful and inspiring” award-winning British songwriters, composers and multi-instrumentalists Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington are The Blackheart Orchestra.
After 10 years of concert touring across the world, four acclaimed albums, appearances on Good Morning TV, Radio 2 and awards ranging from winning Best British Duo in the Exposure Music Awards to #4 Best New Band of 2018 in PROG magazine’s readers’ poll and then being nominated for The Limelight Award in the 2018 Progressive Music Awards, the unique Blackheart Orchestra have become one of the must-see bands of 2019.
The pioneering duo blend musical styles seamlessly sidestepping boundaries to create music huge enough to fill a cathedral. Well known for producing music beyond all easily marketed genres, their multi-instrumental sonic landscapes have always been too unpredictable for pop, too adventurous for the mainstream and too plain weird for folk. Fusing acoustic fragility and electronica, The Blackheart Orchestra bring together stringed instruments with 80’s synthesisers and classical influences. Often mistaken for an 8-piece band on first listen, their stage has been described as a ‘musical spaceship’ or ‘laboratory’ where they are to be found continuously changing from electric and acoustic guitars, bowed guitar, piano, organ, bass and electronic percussion to vintage synthesisers, omnichord and melodica in a complex choreographed weave of musical moods and textures. One moment their sound is minimal and molecular, the next a mountain-like wall of sound with vast symphonic climaxes.
Their four critically acclaimed albums and mesmerising live shows have won them obsessive worldwide fans, plaudits from musical giants and placements on TV commercials and films. Chrissy Mostyn’s haunting vocals, the Mike Oldfield-like multi-instrumental playing of Rick Pilkington plus their fearless combination of conventional and unconventional all reflect their self-created universe where art meets sound and words paint pictures that take you with them on their deep musical journey into the human psyche.
Nominated for The Limelight Award
2018 Progressive Music Awards
Voted ‘Best British Duo’ Exposure Music Awards
Voted #4 Best New Band of 2018
PROG Magazine Readers’ Poll
“One of the most extraordinary female voices singing anywhere” Rock Society Magazine
“The band’s fresh new sound is delicate and fragrant” PROG Magazine
“Listening to Mostyn’s voice for the first time is a breathtaking experience” After Dark
“Their songs are all stand-alone masterpieces” Fatea Magazine
“Everything else almost seems boring in comparison” Rear View Mirror (Australia)
“These are the musicians that the creative musicians listen to” Scene & Heard
“A mesmerizing powerhouse – Mostyn’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with” Xune Magazine
“Expect the unexpected, a refreshing lack of boundaries” Louder Than War
“Liberating and unconventional – an avant-garde musical utopia with an impeccable vocal capability sending you weak at the knees” No Depression
“Beautiful, powerful and inspiring” Steve Hackett, Genesis
“A special and singular voice” Highclouds
“Smouldering and brooding, a mesmerizing performance” Louder Than War
“Cinematic yet intimate, from intense and soaring to dreamy and tranquil…exquisite”
“They remind us why music lifts us up” Dalton Delan, American Public Broadcasting (USA)
“From heartbreaking to uplifting in a single song” Western Star (Australia)
“Absolute brilliance” A Journal of Musical Things (Canada)
“An ethereal musical landscape, an enchanting masterpiece” Purple Revolver (UK)
“A great band” BBC Radio 2