Album, 2020 (Reveal Records)



Composer Richard J. Birkin presents matterlightblooming, a bold and epic orchestral work recorded with the London Contemporary Orchestra (Radiohead, Actress, Micachu, Steve Reich), one of the world's most sought-after orchestras. This is his first album since 2016’s critically-acclaimed Vigils (“A small miracle” - Drowned in Sound).

The album was conceived as a soundtrack to a story written by Birkin about technology, empathy, and where we go next. Recorded in London, Derbyshire and Leeds, Birkin delicately weaves synths, pianos and drums around the orchestra, creating something that feels melancholic yet optimistic, intimate yet epic, mysterious yet familiar.

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. Birkin was reading the book when he happened upon his own “firesound”, that can be heard in the distance on tracks such as ‘Light’ and ‘Blooming’.

Birkin says:

“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.”

Between albums, Richard has been writing and recording at Abbey Road Studio 2 as part of the Abbey Road Masters team of media composers along with Michael Price (Erased Tapes) and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch (Fatcat/130701) as well as and producing the piano prodigy Shane Thomas and writing the soundtrack for Jon McGregor’s Man-Booker nominated novel Reservoir 13. Since it’s 2016 release, tracks from Vigils have been used in The Young Pope starring Jude Law, and the Silvio Berlusconi biopic Loro.


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