• NEON LP full album released digitally and on vinyl on Friday 23 June 2023
  • First single – Hannah Peel’s Neon – released today (Friday 21 April)
  • New works by Hannah Peel and Lyra Pramuk sit alongside Steve Reich’s Double Sextet and Julius Eastman’s Joy Boy
  • Manchester Collective take Neon to the BBC Proms, with first ever live performance of the work featuring Hannah Peel on electronics

Manchester Collective today announce their third studio album NEON, released on the Bedroom Community label. Journeying into the darker side of our urban dreams, the album takes audiences on a sonic adventure of discovery through sleepless nights and crowded streets, evoking glass, concrete and slow, incessant rain.  Released on Friday 23 June, daring collaborations with high-profile composers and electronic artists are at the heart of the album. Scored for strings with flute, clarinet and percussion, the album includes newly commissioned music from Emmy-nominated and RTS-winning composer Hannah Peel and Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Lyra Pramuk, alongside minimalist masterpieces by Steve Reich and Julius Eastman.

Released today, Hannah Peel’s titular Neon – commissioned by Manchester Collective and premiered at Kings Place in 2021 – is inspired by light and life, fusing layers of live electronics and field recordings from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station with the acoustic performances of the Collective. Hannah says ‘Born of breath, heat and a spark, neon has an enigmatic presence of meaning and significance, all things and nothing. A symbol of the city at night, iconic landmarks and urban design – ablaze light waves vibrating through the air … I hope the interplay in this piece between the ‘digital tape’ performer and the acoustic instruments, allows for a reflection on the presence and value of the hand, as we move ever quickly forward, into the future.’

Following their Neon tour of the same programme in May 2022, Manchester Collective will give audiences the opportunity to see music from the album performed live later this year – Hannah Peel’s Neon will receive its BBC Proms premiere as part of Manchester Collective’s Late Night performance on Saturday 19 August. Hannah will herself appear with the Collective for the first time to perform her work, in a concert that also includes Steve Reich’s Doublet Sextet and Ben Nobuto’s RPS Award-winning SERENITY 2.0. Works from the album will also be performed as part of an appearance at the Manchester Classical festival on Saturday 24 June.  The album also presents the premiere recording of Lyra Pramuk’s Quanta, the artist’s first major chamber commission and her first foray into the classical world. Known for fusing classical vocalism with pop sensibilities, contemporary club culture and futurist folk music, Lyra’s new piece for Manchester Collective is a meditation on the nature of time, memory and human experience. Taking inspiration from Carlo Rovelli’s critically acclaimed book The Order of TimeQuanta expands on philosophical notions of time and light with a sensual music score for violin, cello, flute, clarinet and vibraphone. Quanta opens with the sound of a huge grandfather clock, at first keeping regular time, and then slowly dancing to a more flexible meter, waxing and waning, stuttering, and finally, stopping. ‘There is no universal time,’ says Pramuk. ‘Quanta explores the notion that each of us has an individual sense of how time traces through our lives.’

Completing the album are two masterworks of minimalism – Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, monumental Double Sextet and Julius Eastman’s much-maligned 1974 work Joy Boy, which will be available as a bonus track for the digital release. Closing the album, Steve Reich’s Double Sextet sees six members of the Collective performing against recordings of themselves in a virtuosic race to the finish. Released as a bonus track on digital only, Joy Boy by Julius Eastman echoes Lyra Pramuk’s obsession with time, instructing the performers to ‘create ticker tape music’. In a time before the digital revolution this means spools of tape, indented and pierced, transmitted messages across distance. Known for their experimental programming and daring artistic collaborations, Manchester Collective were formed in 2016 by Adam Szabo (Artistic Director & CEO) and Rakhi Singh (Music Director). The ensemble crosses different genres and artforms, bringing together cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces and multimedia work to concert halls, gig venues and festivals in the UK and internationally. Manchester Collective’s previous record releases have featured music by composers including Edmund Finnis, Philip Glass, Arnold Schoenberg, and Antonio Vivaldi.

NEON LP Bedroom Community | HVALUR43Digital and vinyl release: Friday 23 June 2021

Available from manchestercollective.bandcamp.com