Get this crazy baby off my head!




Bent - Ariels - 2004 - Open

Terrific album from Bent.Full of chill beats,lush breathy vocals,psychedelic melodies and electro touches.A class album.


1 Comin' Back (4:41)
2 Sunday 29th (4:09)
3 I Can't Believe It's Over (4:17)
4 As You Fall (3:35)
5 Silent Life (4:59)
6 Sing Me (5:15)
7 On The Lake (3:19)
8 Now I Must Remember (4:46)
9 You Are The Oscillator (3:48)
10 Sunday Boy (5:50)
11 Exercise 4 (5:44)
12 The Waters Deep (8:31)


Gavyn Wright Violin
Dick Beetham Mastering
Bruce White Viola
Julian Leaper Violin
Rhodri Davies Harp
John Thompson Guitar, Bass (Electric), Bass (Upright)
Bent Arranger, Producer, Programming, Engineer
Ric Peet Engineer
Sian Evans Vocals
Rachel Foster Vocals
Simon Mills Synthesizer, Piano, Glockenspiel, Emulator, ?, Korg Synthesizer, Prophet Synthesizer, Modular Moog, Arp Odyssey, Analogue Synthesizer, Mini Moog, Drum Machine, Omnichord, Elka, Vibraphone, Vocals (Background), Programming, Organ (Hammond)
Nail Tolliday Bass, Percussion, SH-101, Analogue Synthesizer, Mini Moog, 6-String Electric Bass, Elka, Emulator, Melodica, Piano, Guitar
Javier Weyler Assistant Engineer, Mixing Assistant
Ric Salmon A&R
Darrin Mooney Drums
Gareth Bailey Percussion, Brass, Brass Arrangement
Katty Heath Vocals
Paula Cole Percussion, Drums
Tom Bailey String Arrangements
Dave Bascombe Engineer, Mixing
John Brough Engineer
B.J. Cole Pedal Steel, E-Bow
Steve Edwards Vocals


Bent arrived on the back of the chill-out craze that pervaded the first half of 2000, and they proved to be assured and humourous players. Their albums Programmed To Love and The Everlasting Blink are both very listenable, if criticised for being a touch unkempt around the edges.
Ariels is an audible change of gear, with a tightened grip on structure and a change of focus to more song-based material. Guests brought in to achieve this include Sian Evans from Kosheen, Rachel Foster (Weekend Players), Steve Edwards and long standing vocal accomplice Katty.
The new approach pays handsome dividends, with the opening trio as strong a start as you could hope for. Comin' Back has a gorgeous old time vocal from Foster and a euphoric chorus, its sprightly beat an uplifting vibe. Sunday 29th evokes Dubstar at their best, a throwaway chorus and breezy lyrics. So far so good, and a hint of melancholia on I Can't Believe It's Over gives air to the rich voice of Sian, sounding much more at home in this musical company.
The focus drifts for a while in the dreamy As You Fall, while Silent Life attempts to recreate the upbeat mood from the opening, largely successfully. On The Lake is awash with harp glissandi, certainly not sparing on the production front, but creating a lush, humid atmosphere. The breathy vocals for Now I Must Remember and Sunday Boy make for a pair of winning downtempo tunes, but the instrumental Exercise 4 is perhaps the best here, its electro touch more than welcome. Closing track The Waters Deep takes the warm fuzzy feeling over the horizon.
Bent use for the most part a wide open sound, creating real outdoor music for the summer. At times this means the production can lack subtlety, disappearing into a warm mush, but more often than not there's a hook or vocal to enjoy. It's certainly a step forward from previous records and means they're punching at the same weight as their fellow downtempo duos Groove Armada and Lemon Jelly.
What really works here though is the fact that a summery record is being released at exactly the right time. So many labels get this wrong, dictated by the traditional "boom" periods of spring and autumn, while what the music lover wants is hot, sunny music for hot, sunny days - and that's what Bent are offering. With a bit of class thrown in. © Ben Hogwood © 1996-2007 OMH. all rights reserved www.musicomh.com/albums/bent.htm

“Such pretty music. It makes me feel as though I am in love,” said a female friend, and I agree. It’s Bent, how can you not say that? There is something incredibly remarkable with “Ariels” by Simon Mills and Nail Tolliday; it’s delicate, sweet, and magical. Gone for the time being are the heavily use of samples from the par’s back catalog and we now welcome the natural acoustics and strings of two musicians alongside with the lush and surreal vocal talents of Steve Edwards, Sian (of Kosheen), Rachel Foster (of the Weekend Players) and of course Katty.

The album works in twofold as Bent does what they do well – make dreamy bedtime songs for the contemporary electronic listener while still adapting its ears for the general public at large (for the first time…maybe it’s selling out, but I don’t think so). They know what works and they know how to create music that will move the soul while still being playful; it’s a balance that will push Mills and Tolliday into the mainstream once and for all.

The dreamy soundscapes are pure and innocent with twelve tracks that work together as one, yet each can stand on its own; an emotional album that comes in and stays for sixty minutes only to leave you wanting more. It’s a bit sad to hear that the quirkiness and humor that graced Bent’s prior two albums are gone, but they’ve matured and so have you. Time moves on and you can’t stay in the same place forever.

With the first single “Comin’ Back” as the opener, you get treated to the bouncy rhythms and hip-shaking percussions that begins the album with an upbeat mood. A fantastic start! The track reminds me of 70’s R&B and it’s understandable clear why this is chosen as the first single because of its upbeat attitude. Nourishing onward you get a taste a moods and tempos that ranges from disco-pop-to-wallpaper music that never lets go, but always staying constant in the back of your head. Other notable standouts are “As You Fall” with its deep ambience of tension and soft vocals that pushes the album to its peak early. “Silent Life” has it’s rich vocals by Simon Mills and earthly textures, while “Exercise 4” opens up the electroish influences that have been raging on the past year.

It’s all so warm and fuzzy as “Ariels” is a rush of psychedelic melodies and beautifully sung lyrics that make this album what it is as the Nottingham producers now have graduated into the consciousness of pop culture. Very lush indeed.
Words © Pisces Published / Sunday, November 07, 2004 Copyright © 2007 Resident Advisor Ltd. All rights reserved www.residentadvisor.net/review-view.aspx?id=2488
Whilst 'Programmed To Love', Bent's quirky debut album, was a promising, intriguing affair, last year's follow up ('The Everlasting Blink') disappointingly didn't take them in any new directions, at best treading water. This third album, though, is very much a brave step forward, and easily their best and most cohesive offering yet. Less overtly electronic, it sees songs and acoustic instruments superseding the synths and samples of yore. And it works rather well, in no small part due to the marvellous vocal contributions of Katty Heath, Rachel Foster and Sian Evans, plus some eruditely chosen musical embellishments, notably BJ Cole's typically fluid steel guitar. Opener 'Comin' Back' is a glorious start - fabulously delirious pop, with more than a hint of the 80s about it, courtesy of some nifty, glistening glockenspiel. Elsewhere, 'I Can't Believe It's Over' is akin to The Bee Gees gone dreamy synth-pop in heaven, 'Sing Me' sounds exactly like Enya but still manages to be charming, whilst the lovely, poignant 'Now I Must Remember' is just like Air circa 'Moon Safari' (i.e. when they were still great). Sophisticated and seductive, 'Ariels' is an affecting album, far more emotionally involving and subsequently rewarding than standard bland chill-out fare a la Zero 7. The more you listen to it, the more you become convinced that Bent have made the album of their lifetimes, and a real gem at that too. © MS www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk/daily/040823.html

Aah, the difficult, yet all important third album: the first could go either way, but having proven themselves the second was a test to show if the first wasn't a fluke; but the third, well that's a whole different story...Thankfully for Bent, in Ariels they've nothing to worry about. Joining Programmed To Love and The Everlasting Blink on the coffee table is another worthy companion full of surprises and enriched by beautifully lush 'n' dreamy numbers, like the Carpenters-esque "Sunday 29th" sung by longstanding cohort Kathy Heath. Less overtly electronic than what's gone before, here songs and acoustic instruments replace synths and samples, along with some quite captivating vocals.This time out the Nottingham duo - Simon Mills and Nail Tolliday - have enlisted the services of a handful of accomplished singers to add a variety of contrasting layers to their productions. Notably Rachel Foster from the Weekend Players who adds her lush larynx to the distinctly Air-sounding first single, "Comin' Back"; she also sounds uncannily like Enya on the ethereal "Sing Me".Kosheen's Sian Evans sounds equally at home on the seductively rich "I Can't Believe It's Over"; and X-press 2 and Cassius sessioner Steve Edwards offers a strong male lead on the slow burning toe-tapping optimistically upbeat "Silent Life".Bent closed their Big Chill headline set this year with a sublime cover version/remix of Hall and Oates' "I Can't Go For That". Regrettably, Ariels doesn'tprovide a home for this welcome return to 1981. However you will be able to findit as the closing track ona new compilation called FlowersIn The Attic which is out on Mint Source Recordings.As a whole the chill beats and multi-layered musicianship work well together and certainly wouldn't sound out of place on the Six Feet Under soundtrack; all of which conspire to make Bent one of the most happening bands in the living room. Review © Andrew McGregor www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/cd54/


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