Album · CD & DL · 2020

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Recorded in London with the London Contemporary Orchestra, matterlightblooming delicately weaves synths, pianos and drums around the orchestra, creating something that feels melancholic yet optimistic, intimate yet epic, mysterious yet familiar.

“I was writing the music and thinking about transformation, other states of being, drastic change. A blooming of kaleidoscopic possibilities for humankind, in the face of what feels like a decline. There is also a thread of loss throughout the album, for what is left behind or what could have been.”

"Weaving synths, pianos and scuttling percussion into the intricate fabric of an epic orchestral score. Exploring light and shade, the new record is beautiful and confrontational at once."

Electronic Sound

"...beautifully realized and stunningly arranged, punctuated by moments of tender and wistful reflection, the music is epic in its sweep and unwavering in its optimism."

Stationary Travels

"The piece expands, becomes the moment inbetween some old way, some old world, some known and the growing exhilaration of transformation, before we can understand whether this step will lead us to something better or to the end."


The album’s title is taken (with kind permission) from George Saunders’ Man Booker winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo. The ‘matterlightblooming phenomenon’ is a phrase used to refer to the rush of energy and light that occurs when a soul departs the liminal space between life and death. Whenever someone moves on from their transitional state, the matterlightblooming phenomenon claims their body, creating a “bone-chilling firesound” as it whisks them away. I was reading the book when I happened upon a “firesound” in the studio, which can be heard in the distance on tracks like Light and Blooming.


Written, produced and orchestrated by Richard Birkin
Performed by Richard Birkin and the London Contemporary Orchestra
Conducted by Hugh Brunt
Also featuring Maria Machin (Vocals on Boats) and Liam Stewart (Drums)
Recorded at Angel Studios and Air Edel (London)
Additional recording: The Nave (Leeds) and twentyRow (Ambergate)
Mixed by Andy Hawkins at The Nave (Leeds)
Mastered by Dave Draper
Artwork by Jim Cork

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