‘I Rise With The Birds’ (Sonar Kollektiv Records) LP
Release Date: 1st November 2020
Having previously collaborated with the likes of Manu Delago & Roni Size , Pete Josef has always been a soul boy at heart, but his multi-instrumental skills have led him into some interesting situations.
Five years have passed since Pete Josef’s debut album “Colour” caused a sensation worldwide amongst music lovers and critics alike. Since then, it’s hardly surprising that his steadily increasing fanbase have been awaiting its follow up impatiently. “I Rise With The Birds” will be released in October on Sonar Kollektiv and one can say without doubt that the wait was worth it. The album’s ten tracks offer gold until the last note of music, and an hour of food for thought about life’s ups and downs.
The blue-eyed soul singer from Bristol has established himself as a well-respected multi-instrumentalist and producer over the years merging jazz, soul, pop, and electronic music.
Taking all of the production reins himself, he brings in long-time Bristol collaborators John Pratt and Ben Plocki (saxes), Nick Malcolm and Gary Alesbrook (trumpets), Rory Francis and Justin Fellows (drums, percussion), Roshan ‘Tosh’ Wijetunge (double bass), Luke ‘Typesun’ Harney (drums) and of course the voice of honey that so compliments Josef’s vocal on ‘Colour’ and beyond, Marie Lister. Most featured perhaps are Barney Sage (drum kit); the rhythmic backbone behind six of the ten tracks, and the virtuosic Austrian string players that provide so many highlights throughout; Bernie Mallinger (Violin, Viola) and Clemens Sainitzer (Cello). Notable contributions also come from new-found musical inspirations, Blythe Peppino (vocals), Bill Banwell (bass) and Miguel Andrews (drums). The result is a work of utterly beautiful, layered compositions with lush orchestral arrangements, subtle electronic textures and heartfelt performances. There is a broad and grand sense of scale to these songs, but they never lose the intimacy or devotion we’ve come to expect from Pete Josef.
On the album’s creation, Pete explains: “This is an album about reconciliation, connection, and space and balance in life. I’ve had a long and deep attachment to music, you might even say music has defined me. So a few years ago when I started to lose my way with it, I found it disorientating. I felt like I lost some of my soul. I stopped even listening to music, and so I put my energy into other things – I built stuff, I started a family and made a home, and I learned a lot about other things. And it was nice, healthy even, so intense is the art of music making. Happily, I rekindled my love, in a big part through making this album…and it has been a complete joy. I have travelled to record some very special musicians in the natural beauty of Carinthia, southern Austria, and I returned home to make music with some of my closest friends. I have loved once again being the artist, and playing engineer, performer, producer and arranger. This album has been my gift to myself at the dawn of a new chapter. I hope you will receive it as a gift too. So here’s to reinvention, and finding love again.“
Throughout “I Rise With The Birds” placid and the jaunty moments balance each other perfectly. Launching with “Night Eyes”, the opener provides a wake-up call following a long night. With his most accomplished piece of work to date, Pete’s pedigree as a singer-songwriter comes into full bloom, with songs like “Friend On The Line”, “Lavender” or the bittersweet “Snatching Time”. On tracks such as the beautifully melodic “This Sun” Pete’s soft vocals flowing effortlessly over a soulful river of sound, a perfect track for hazy summer evenings. Constantly shifting the dynamics, dancefloor ready tracks like “Mainframe” (co-written by Alex Barck from Jazzanova and Sebastian Damerius) or “Giants” show the versatility on display with this incredible album.