Aug 29, 2011

Magazine Gap

Magazine Gap is an eclectic pop/rock band from London and probably one of the most exciting emerging British acts. It perhaps works so well because it shouldn't work at all: take the folk-rock musings and pop sensibilities of acclaimed singer-songwriter James Keen, the R&B/Hip-Hop leanings of drumming sensation and producer Brian McCook, add in the technical prowess of funk-rock bassist (and 7-string specialist) Tim Gyton with classically-trained concert pianist and jazz maestro Alex Ho for one of the most powerful and compelling combinations on the music scene today. The band's logo reflects that myriad collection of styles.

Magazine Gap officially formed in 2009 and decided to adopt an independent strategy of taking an old school approach with a modern twist. Wanting to make a classic and timeless album, they would ‘road-test' their songs directly to a broad audience by touring across the US and around the UK, and they would track in some of the leading recording studios in the world. At the same time, the band fully embraced social networks, developing a true global following from right around the world.

Magazine Gap has already undertaken two tours of the United States, including playing the four largest cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago & Houston – also the most populous in each of America's four geographic regions). They have just completed their first headline tour of the UK, which took in all parts of the country with dates in clubs and theaters in London, Norwich, Cardiff, Oxford, Exeter, Liverpool, Glasgow, Brighton, Newcastle, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Bristol, as well as making their debut in Ireland with a show in Dublin.

The sound of Magazine Gap developed organically over several years, through a shared vision of creating something fresh from a cocktail of different flavors. It began with the recording of James Keen's acclaimed debut album "No Coincidence", which featured Brian and Tim, and evolved through live performances which brought in Alex Ho. The powerful, collective sound of the four members led inescapably to the formation of the band.
The album represents a journey, literally as well as musically and lyrically. "Light & Shade" was recorded over an 18-month period in major recording studios in London, New York, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans and Los Angeles; these included Avatar in Manhattan, Capitol in Hollywood, Firehouse in Pasadena, CRC in Chicago, Piety Street in New Orleans, and Metropolis in London. The album includes James' brother Jason Keen on lead guitar and additional musicians from London's leading session community to record strings, brass, percussion and pedal steel guitar. The album is enriched by the various colors brought by different recording environments, engineers and guest musicians.

Musically, the band comfortably cross a broad range of musical genres whilst keeping within a consistent and clear overall sound, thereby challenging and delighting a diverse audience. They also carefully balance classic and contemporary sounds to create something modern yet timeless. Lyrically, the theme is one of life's ups and downs, good times and bad, wins and losses, the past and the future.

From rich studio recordings to sensational live workouts, this London-based band has truly international potential, reaching audiences as far and as wide as the musical influences which infuse their songs. The name "Magazine Gap" is actually taken from a road in Hong Kong, where members of the band grew up. It runs from the Mid-Levels to The Peak, as should the road that the band is on...

Magazine Gap - In Two Minds (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival)

First ever performance of the (previously unreleased) song.
Written & Performed by Magazine Gap
8 July 2011, Montreux Jazz Festival
(Montreux, Switzerland)

Directed & edited by Victor Planas-Bielsa

Start as you mean to go on, I'd always thought
And put in some distance from the fights you fought
I liked our rhythm till you spoiled the rhyme
With everything in its place, with everything in its time

I have no reason to doubt, to stop or go without
I know it takes all kinds, but it leaves me now
In two minds
In two minds

I can plough a lone furrow, but it's not the same
I'm a runaway scout by any other name
I may be waving from some podium, I may be crowned with a laurel wreath
But these leaves of gold will feel brittle beneath


I don't like to be kept waiting
And I hate to be left guessing
This may yet come to something
But count for nothing without you


Lyrics by James Keen
Music by James Keen / Brian McCook / Alex Ho / Tim Gyton