Mark Northfield | European Dream

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Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Pop: Chamber Pop Moods: Featuring Piano
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European Dream

by Mark Northfield

A darkly atmospheric and sumptuously arranged covers album exploring the melancholic underbelly of Europop, from UK indie/classical-crossover maverick Mark Northfield, assorted guest vocalists and the strings of Cherry Mint Koala.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ride on Time
6:26 $0.99
2. Saturday Night
5:14 $0.99
3. All That She Wants
5:03 $0.99
4. Voyage Voyage
4:27 $0.99
5. The Day Before You Came
5:46 $0.99
6. What Is Love
4:12 $0.99
7. Sexy Boy
3:39 $0.99
8. Blue
6:14 $0.99
9. Self Control
4:51 $0.99
10. Asereje
4:59 $0.99
11. Dancing on My Own
4:58 $0.99
12. Euphoria
4:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
'Never underestimate the potency of cheap music' - Noel Coward

As the UK struggles with the lure of isolationism promised by the EU referendum, and the refugee and Eurozone crises put nations at loggerheads once more, what of the continental pop music from that now lost era of optimism: the period from the thawing of the cold war through to the financial crash? What of that strange beast we called Europop?

Cheap music? Perhaps. Some of it very 'uncool' indeed. But some of it sniffily underrated simply because of our cultural superiority complex. Europop subtly defines the 80s-00s in its reflection of a world becoming more connected in the era of cheap air travel, with English increasingly prevalent as most people's second language. From the enduring legacy of chilly pop perfection that was ABBA to the unavoidable late summer smashes (Black Box, Whigfield, Eiffel 65), we loved it even as we airily dismissed it.

Pianist, singer and arranger Mark Northfield applies his deft classical sensibility to these songs, without being grandiose or heavyhanded in any way. His aim is to create a melancholic atmosphere mingled with sublime beauty, mostly through acoustic arrangements, but also with some subtle electronic diversions (Saturday Night, Blue).

Although most tracks here are faithful to the originals to a large degree, thematic ideas suggested by the source material do get developed in some cases: a canon theme based on the original's recurring piano riff dominates the latter half of Ride on Time; the hint of chanson from Voyage Voyage is made explicit by a conversion to waltz time with appropriate arrangement texture; Blue is pushed in a much more minimalistic direction with the endlessly looping main theme stretched out chord by chord.

Mark's colleagues from piano trio Cherry Mint Koala, Tony Woollard (cello) and Charlie Brown (violin) contribute to five of the tracks here. Two of these - The Day Before You Came and Dancing On My Own - first surfaced on previous EPs, but Ride On Time, All That She Wants and What Is Love are entirely new. The rich, warmth of their playing always brings something really special.

As on previous albums, guest vocalists feature. There is a welcome return for the distinctive talents of Alexandra Howlett (Ride On Time, Asereje) and Ellen Jakubiel (All That She Wants, Euphoria). Meanwhile, following their collaboration on festive charity single 'Christmas Eve, Gracechurch St', Gareth Forster (Mark's other half) sings lead vocal on Sexy Boy and contributes guitar to both that track and Saturday Night. Another guitarist/singer, Rosaleen Donnan, adds her sweet and smooth delivery to both Voyage Voyage and What Is Love.

Saturday Night has been released as the lead single, with a garishly colourful accompanying video available on YouTube. The shoot for this video provided the slightly mysterious photo used on the album cover. The rather cool animal masks we used in the video were made from templates designed by Steve Wintercroft and available to buy from his website (easy to find - just search his name online).



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